Research & Development

To begin researching further into what I should be putting into my travel guide i looked at many different websites that either specialised in traveling to Tokyo, or they had sections with information about the best places to visit in the metropolis etc.

I found out a lot about Tokyo’s history whilst looking on these sites, some as follows:

Tokyo ranked third in the Global Economic Power Index and fourth in the Global Cities Index.

The metropolis is considered an alpha+ world city, in 2014 Tokyo was ranked first in the “Best overall experience” category of Trip-advisor’s World City Survey. Tokyo also ranked first in the following categories:
“Helpfulness of locals”
“Local public transportation”
“Cleanliness of streets”

In 2015, Tokyo was ranked as the world’s 11th most expensive city, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s cost of living survey.
In 2015 Tokyo was named the Most Liveable City in the world by the magazine Monocle. The Michelin Guide has awarded Tokyo by far the most Michelin stars of any city in the world.
Tokyo ranked first in the world in the Safe Cities Index.
Tokyo hosted the 1964 Summer Olympics, the 1979 G-7 summit, the 1986 G-7 summit, and the 1993 G-7 summit, the city will also host the 2020 Summer Olympics and the 2020 Summer Paralympics.

These are all points I can build the brand upon, things unique to Tokyo as a city that people would want to visit, just to see some of these specific qualities for themselves.

Looking at all of these logos, they are all very graphic and colourful – possibly to symbolise the diversity of the place or event these are representing – I want to stray away from that and create something a little more subtle and typography related. The reason being is that people have seen these sorts of things before, if I am branding a city to represent it’s people, I want them to feel like they have something fresh, new and innovative to be proud of – a fresh marketing technique.


Below are some travel guides currently in use, in my opinion these don’t have a very good brand image of the country – they are simply a picture and some surprisingly boring text above.
My mission is to get rid of the usual coloured stripe over a picture appearance and create something a little different that people will be proud to get out on the streets.


After evaluating these covers and logos (plus many more on the internet & from the travel agencies I visited) I decided that there was too much monotone going on, the same colours, old text goes with old text & new text goes with new text sort of invisible rule that was going on.
It was then that something sparked my interest – what if old and new were mixed? That would surely be a clash, though after looking at the below images of traditional Japanese art and modern day Tokyo, I realised that this may be one of the few contrasts in which this could work




I have decided to start creating my logo – to brand Tokyo.
I began with sketches so that I could get my ideas and general layouts on paper first.


Immediately I turned to the more traditional Japanese illustrations and typography as to keep the traditional feel, then I went for a bold, sans-serif font to contradict the old feel. This contradicting nature is a tactic of attracting consumers attention, because when they see something that isn’t meant to be together, it will seem unique – fresh and new.

After deciding on the contrast between new and old, I moved over to the mac and started playing around on indesign, keeping this old-new style mixture fresh in my mind.

After brainstorming all different ideas for my travel guide/Japan logo (see previous post) I took to the computer to recreate several of my favourite designs, below I have compiled the development stages of my logo.
I decided to go for the fully typographic & graphic appearance in the end, also to stick with the red colour, the same pantone as the Japanese Flag.

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I liked having the pantone of the Japanese flag in my work – though the designs above became a little crowded for my liking. Though the red looks good in limited quantities

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Below are the logos I liked the best, though the one I have chosen to go with is shown below the following image.Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 07.21.05

Final Logo draft:

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A final look into branding a city before I start creating my guide:

Brand Values and Brand Association

Style, design, quality, brand association, exclusivity and superiority reinforce brand ethos.

The report should also include reasons justifying your design decisions in response to your marketing analysis. Include how you have considered graphic elements of colour, shape, form, typeface(s) visual impact, style, fitness for purpose and mood.

How do cities successfully build a name and make a lasting impact.

Successful branding can turn a city into a place where people want to eat, live, work and visit.

A strong identity is vital if you are vying with other places for attention in tourism and business or

re-launching an area after a regeneration initiative.


To give myself a start, I researched some landmarks of Japan and some traditional Japanese patterns:

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One of these patterns I like in particular is the simple, circular pattern below:

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The reds and beautiful structures of Traditional Japanese architecture inspired me to create a very rough layout of my Travel Brochure. This isn’t what my final outcome will look like, just a kind of rough layout reference for my use. I do this with all my design work as I like to create something from things that already exist.. if that makes sense. I feel more comfortable if I have a “sketch”, much like when I draw. First thing’s first: font.
What I did was similar to my logo creation – I lined them up and decided which one looked the best next to my logo – I also took into consideration if the fonts had features like bold, thin, italic etc.

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I then kerned the type a tiny bit for personal reference, as per usual.

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Below is my first rough page design, as you can see I chose a simple 6 column page a little smaller than A4, more pocket size to make it suitable for travelling. For the header I chose a strip that spans the double page spread yet falls just short of the page edges. In my opinion this looks more unique than the standard line… whilst still fitting into the “line” category. The Kanji at the top says “Tokyo”.
From this one page I created a few more as my rough guides that I mentioned I like to work to.

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I decided to go with the “CIRCLES” theme as I find the simple pattern beautiful and versatile, as you can see I created clouds out of the pattern (I will show how I made it below) with the page info coming down like rain to mimic the Japanese wet season.
From the get go I knew I wanted to make something a little bit quirky, hopefully you can see my ideas forming… The next thing to add was the information for the travel guide and I must say…. writing all of this took me HOURS. The beginnings are below, I would explain everything that I wrote but the guide itself is pretty self explanatory.

Something I noticed with many travel guides is that they spread huge chunks of information over many pages with hugely unnecessary layouts and messy typography with far too many images. My goal is to try and avoid all of this and make a compact booklet that will hastily inform tourists over 1-4 pages at most. There shall be a mixture of illustration, typography and photography distributed as I see fit.

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Below is how I created the circular, traditional pattern in Illustrator – this was a bit of a learning experience for me as Illustrator is by no means my strong point.

The above basically shows the process of me making a pattern and arranging them to tile perfectly hence creating the pattern. I also showed how I made the clouds I mentioned by clipping into the picture with the pen tool and ‘stitching; them together.
Another thing I tried was the waves but I felt it was a little too typical and contradicted the block-colour red circular theme I have going on so I scrapped it – I just wanted to show this as part of my development.

Eventually I finished the text…. after a long long time haha. You can see below that I started to arrange the text into columns according to the grid system that I set up.Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 22.18.03.png

I used the grid system accordingly – setting the text into the lines. I chose to use two paragraphs of varying thicknesses for each page. Not only does this balance the page better but it avoids that horrible formal look I mentioned is present in a lot of modern travel guides.

More on the subject of typography, I wanted to stray away from the one-size-fits-all look. This is why I chose 3 different type sizes and fonts to accommodate these sizes and the message they give. Above you can see the regular type alongside a bold Japanese font, then two smaller Kana fonts. These are designed to balance out the page and add visually appealing typography to break up the information so it isn’t so overwhelming seems though I chose to use large paragraphs. Also the colours I chose are very important for grabbing attention.
The reason I used Japanese style typography is because I want to create an accurate representation of Tokyo – I want to make something the locals can be proud to say represents their home as well as being appealing to the reader.

Moving on to the images I chose to use.
Much like the typography, I have done many different things with the images you see in the travel guide. I have the standardised list of images for information purposes, as well as photographs featuring red overlays to keep in line with the red theme and cut through the whiteness of the page.
The purpose of full page images is to have an impact on the reader alongside showing them Japan in a way that will make them wow.
Black and white images are very moody and sombre – as you can see below I have chosen this image specifically to turn black and white because of it;s beautiful depth and almost eerie appearance.

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I thought it would be fun and informative to include the Japanese Hiragana & Katakana alphabets for the readers who are willing to go the extra learning step on their travels.

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Finally was to create the billboards for the travel guide/for Tokyo itself. Below is some screenshots of the Photoshop process I used to make these billboards. Basically I used various warping/perspective tools to morph the size of the image before adding the logo on top.
I definitely opted for a really simple look – I think overcrowding the poster really detracts from the beauty of the images and the typography layout in the logo.

My final outcomes:

Billboard 1Billboard2
This has been a very fun project for me. I love Japan and I really enjoyed researching Tokyo as it may come in handy to myself if I ever travel there (which I probably will haha). I think I am becoming more accustomed to InDesign which was one of my goals when I first started my degree – it really shows practice makes perfect. Well, almost perfect.
Thank you for following my development journey and I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

See the finished outcome below:

Pocket Tour Guide



After I chose Tokyo I began looking at new avenues of approach when it came to designing my brand to fit Tokyo as a whole, as you can see below, I listed a lot of things the city is famous/known for. Not only that, but I did some research into Tokyo’s history. The links for my research sources can be found below the images:

My favourite part about Tokyo is the seasons and how they are precious to Tokyo’s people, how almost everything is respected including the people. Red is a very prominent colour in Japan – Tokyo being the forefront of amazing decorations and historical buildings, most of which showing red. I have come to the conclusion that I would like red to be a promenant colour within my design – the reason being that Japan values the colour greatly, also it is part of the Japanese flag  (see below)

As for the aesthetics of red, it is eye-catching, making sure my brand stands out above others.


Red is generally called aka(赤) in Japanese. There are many traditional shades of red. The Japanese gave each shade of red its own elegant name in the old days. Shuiro (vermilion), akaneiro (madder red), enji (dark red), karakurenai (crimson) and hiiro (scarlet) are among of them.

I plan to use the incentive to “revaluate yourself” and “experience something different” as a selling point – this will encourage people to see what other cultures are like and to look at their views from a slightly different perspective.

Product Launch Ideas
When it comes to creating a brand, launching it is extremely important. If the launch is nothing special and goes un noticed, there is a higher chance that nobody will pay attention to the addition you have created.
The aim is to create ties to the brand – to make people feel almost attached instantly to the brand.
One way I have thought to do this is via billboards and TV advertisements, though that is a little common.
Something a little more personal could be a giveaway in partnership with an airline and different hotels/tours around the Tokyo area (using the new brand of Tokyo of course), promoting not only Tokyo’s local businesses and airlines, but also the new brand too.
To reach overseas, holiday TV adverts could work, also for already visiting tourists, billboards/posters could be placed as an official welome to Tokyo.

I have been to several different travel agencies in search of their travel guides to different parts of the world. What I think they were lacking is colour, vibrancy and images.
The few that did contain an abundance of large scale images were so much more intriguing and fell together better than those without. Even if the images were small, I didn’t feel the same vibe as the ones with large images of certain areas which were hard to come by.

Brand Development & Research

Communicating a Brand
To successfully communicate a brand to the audience, certain things need to be kept the same – as well as corporate. This is where advertisement comes in, all of the bill boards, tv adverts and any other media need to have a consistent style to them, this is so that the consumers can easily recognise the brand they love. Keeping things consistent and memorable/recognisable is also a good way to ensure brand loyalty.
When it comes to language, words, phrases and anything used when marketing your brand needs to be similar. Also they need to be motivational, empowering… depending on what your brands purpose is.

Designers have the hard job of coming up with a suitable appearance/logo for a brand – however they also have to think about other graphic elements and how they are to be applied throughout different media to keep the brand consistent. Their constraints however are that, when it comes to marketing, they don’t always get to decide how something should be marketed to best display the brand – this is when strategies such as repetition (over a wide spread of different advertising media of course) to reenforce a slogan or unique selling point of this brand.

Every brand has a unique selling point (USP), something that differentiates the brand from it’s competitors. When it comes to cities, the USP I am looking to achieve is something that stands out both visually and conceptually, something that shouts the unique colours of Tokyo through simple type and colour.
All of the factors I have explained above affect the marketing of my brand, how I decide to market it will depend on the audience when it applied to the travel guide.
The demographic I am looking at is mainly native working adults of ages 16 and upwards, also tourists aged somewhere between 18 and 65 – according to statistics these are the most likely ages to be effected by the branding of a city.
Tokyo needs to be marketed to tourists as a wonderful and unique place to visit amongst the sea of cities they could choose – yet on the flip side, the locals need to buy into the brand as something that can represent them – something they can be proud of.
The culture of Japan is also important. Nothing about the logo can make any sort of religious/racial reference so it can easily promote diversity in all areas of society.
Groupings such as students, children, elderly etc cannot be ruled out either, the meaning of “universal” should really be applied with care, so the marketing doesn’t come across as offensive or simply unappealing to any audience.

My travel guide bearing the Tokyo brand I am to create is aimed at tourists aged 18 to 65, I intend to cover expensive, inexpensive and all other options to do with entertainment, leisure, nightlife and much more for both the older and younger categories of consumer.

Branding Report – Cities

I have chosen to brand Tokyo as my City.
The reason behind this is because I feel Tokyo has the most interesting and complex culture out of the cities I looked into – something I value when choosing a topic for design, the deeper a topic is, the more I can pick and choose the areas that suit me the best.

My brand is Tokyo.
Before I focus on creating this brand, I have decided to research into existing city design alongside the theoretical side of designing a brand for a city as large as Tokyo.
Something I have to remember is that this brand is something I am selling to an audience of all ages. It needs to speak many words without having too much of a complicated appearance, yet intricate enough to stand out amongst the crowd. Customers stay loyal to a brand because they get attached to the way it looks, or more specifically, the way it looks on them. If I can captivate the love of my audience through making the brand something to be proud of, it will be a lot easier to reach new audiences as they will be more likely to share this with other humans. This brand loyalty is something that is harder to do with a city, though if I can embrace all of Tokyo’s culture in a visually appealing way I might be able to achieve this love.
A great example of this is the ‘I Love NY’ or ‘Iamsterdam’ – both of these are my favourite examples of city branding that has a fiercely loyal brand audience.

Both of these are typographic. I agree with their styles and colour schemes as they attract attention easily while still looking stylish.
Potential buyers or clients make the decision on whether to try a brand based (at first glance) on it’s appearance, colour scheme and it’s visuals, much like we subconsciously look at a person’s face and make a judgement before we get to know them. It’s similar to branding, that’s why  my Tokyo brand has to strike people as something they can relate to.

To build a brand from the ground up I have to focus on what the audience are looking for and in this case, it is a mixture of culture, traditional Tokyo, modern Tokyo, culture, area’s values, simplicity (easy to read/recognise) and eye-catching colour scheme. In a way all of these brand values are reflecting the people of Tokyo themselves, not just the city.
To include all of the following, I think typography will fit the best. The travel guide I am creating would benefit from said typographic style because it is eye-catching, simple and stylish so it can easily be ‘shared’ on merchandise and the like that won’t look tacky.


Branding a City


The project we have been given is to essentially create a travel guide or city guide to a place of our choosing. I have been looking through many different cities that I think could make a good guide and the following 7 are my favourite so I have decided to collect pictures from each of these beautiful places to get some inspiration as to which one is suited best to both my interest and my style of design.
There is also the topic of places, events, landmarks and entertainment in each city so I will be taking this into consideration whilst choosing my city.

Milan, Italy
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Milan has always been a hotspot for historic buildings and has recently become a popular place for fashion events and high-end shopping. Amongst the designer clothes and expensive shops are attractions such as La Scala Opera, the National Museum of Science and Technology, Santa Maria della Grazie (the church that preserves da Vinci’s “Last Supper”) and the Milan Cathedral.

Seoul, South Korea
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Seoul City in South Korea has one of the most fascinating mixtures of the old and the new in the world, mixing old buddhist shrines and temples with towering skyscrapers and neon lights. Seoul, also dubbed “the City that never sleeps” Is a fabulous place for midnight shopping and nightlife, mountain climbing and exploring on the easy to use subway systems.

Juneau, Alaska
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One of Juneau’s main features is Eaglecrest Ski Area, Alaskan Panhandle’s only resort. It is located on Douglas Island. Eaglecrest features 31 Alpine runs and three Nordic trail loops set on 640 groomed acres. Juneau is for the more adventurous of souls, boasting many ice covered lakes and glacial mountains in the winter. In the summer, it is an entirely different; peaceful atmosphere for a relaxed getaway.

Tokyo, Japan
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Tokyo, Japan is one of the worlds most densely populated metropolis’s and holds many, many ways to entertain yourself that is alien to the western world. From cat cafe’s to cosplay on Harajuku Street, there is always something new to look at. Speaking of the new, Tokyo also holds many traditional shrines and temples that are a must for tourists. Rife with festivals, shopping districts, host clubs, nightlife and traditional architecture, there is something for every kind of tourist.

Bangkok, Thailand
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Bangkok is full of exquisitely decorated Buddhist temples—as you go from one to the next you’ll be continually blown away by the craftsmanship involved in making these amazing places. Amongst the beautiful architecture is amazing Thai cuisine and street markets. —the restaurants and nightclub are meant to be some of the best on the planet.

Reykjavik Iceland
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Reykjavik is the planet’s most northern capital. It is a popular spot for a relaxing getaway as it includes an endless array of spas and naturally heated geothermal springs. There is plenty of opportunity for adventurous outdoor pursuits including walking, treks and alpine hill climbing.

Kyoto, Japan
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Kyoto is one of Japan’s most historical large cities, it is mainly known and visited for it’s natural beauty surrounding the cityscape, but most of all for the vast array of temples. There are many markets and hand crafted traditional Japanese trinkets to buy, museums to visit and stunning sights for the more relaxed visit.