In November 2015, I was contracted as a freelance brand developer for a new Japanese start-up called 'Farmer Japan.' Here, I was tasked with creating an identity, a logo and putting together their website before their quick launch.
Plot twist: I had to do it in Japanese!
On a scale of 1 to 10, my Japanese language abilities sit at about a 0.1 so this proved to be a new kind of challenge.
The company was addressing the need of young Japanese farmers for expensive heavy machinery. These tools are often very expensive to buy and so Farmer Japan set out to buy old farming machinery from retired farmers and lend them at a lower cost to those who want to grow their farms.
Other than a brief diagram explaining how the company works, I was only given the philosophy of Farmer Japan. This meant complete creative freedom with the risk of it completely missing the point.
The company's philosophy:
After distilling the inspiration of the company to four concepts (farming equipment, food, youth & hearty crops = 農機具, 食べ物, 若者, 心のこもった作物) I began to explore Japanese farming.
The name of the company is half Japanese and half English. This provided an opportunity to use two different and complimentary typefaces that can immediately express the values of the company. I capitalized on the fact that 'Farmer' is spelled with 5 characters in Katagana and nicely mirrored 'Japan'.
For the first half of the name, I used Hiragino Kaku Gothic Pro, a bold typeface that is clean, tidy and confident. On the other hand, the second half was written with Operina Pro typeface that is much more asymmetrical, textured and rough. This contrast provided an earthy quality and organic nature to the brand name.
Inspiration - colour palette (論法•色)
When I think about farming, I picture vast sprawling fields of yellow wheat or corn. That's not the case with Japan. After surveying locals and doing research, I found that ideas of farming here were unique and implied visuals of rice fields and small-scale farms.
So I wanted to highlight what is unique about Japanese agriculture and that is what inspired the colour palette:
Japanese soil is distinctively volcanic and dark.
The most farmed crop in Japan, and the most used in Japanese cuisine is rice.
The daikon radish is a characteristically Japanese vegetable.
The typography, colour palette and philosophy behind Farmer Japan came together in the final logo. This design is abstract, straightforward and can be dissected into the four main components identified at the start.
The logo evokes heavy machinery, youth, crops and food. It is composed of:
The brand design was extended throughout the entire website for consistency and clean UI. Below are some of the applications of the logo: