Sido is a Japanese underwear brand based in Tokyo. What makes it different is the special material it uses in its manufacturing—a patented textile fiber called Hohtai, made from top quality cotton and similar to the fabric used for medical bandages. The material, produced exclusively at a family-owned factory in Toyama, as well as the entire garment chain (fabric selection, cutting, sewing, dying), adheres to a moral philosophy based on a respect for sustainability across the board. The result: excellent quality underwear, comfort, lightness, softness, breathability, flexibility and fit.
The objective given to Erretres was to create a brand that went beyond the mere functional attributes of the product, that could: increase the brand’s visibility, help the company grow on an international scale and expand into a younger demographic segment, and facilitate the development of other lines of business.
Our first step was to carry out a strategic analysis that would in turn allow us to lay the foundation for what the brand should represent. During this process, we defined the vision (the future had to build upon Japanese tradition and innovation), the brand mission (turn maximum comfort into something “cool”), and positioning. We also extracted the brand’s differentiating values, designated its most positive attributes (corporate, brand and product), and developed its product architecture.
The resulting brand essence was expressed as “The fun in function” (referring to “fun” in the broader sense of “cool”, “sexy”, “creative”, “original”…)
The new visual identity of the brand had to reflect “fun in function”, that is, the union between a product’s functionality and its “cool”, contemporary and attractive image. Thus, we drew the logotype in a thick, elegant and contained, typography with an extended typeface that makes reference to the elasticity of the fabric. We accompanied it with a tagline to help highlight Sido’s main asset, Hohtai. We wrote Hohtai in Japanese characters, to tie the intrinsic quality of “made in Japan” to the logo. As a symbol for the mark, we gave special treatment to the letter “S”, from the company name. It adopts the curvilinear form of a textile fiber and creates a black and white pattern of lines, a metaphor for the breathability of the fabric.
In the strategy phase, we concluded the entire range of Sido products needed an architecture to distinguish each product category. We created a graphic system to visually organize the product portfolio. Each line needed to be perfectly differentiated from the others, while simultaneously respecting and coexisting with the identity of the parent brand.
To do so, we selected a letter to identify each product line and designed it in a way that makes reference to the fabric weave (also reminiscent of Japanese Zen gardens): “S”, from Sido, for the premium line; “H”, from Hohtai, for the basic line; “X”, from extreme, for the sports line; and “&” for special collaborations. We also adapted the design depending on whether the product was for a man or a woman.
Additionally, we defined other graphic elements for the visual identity, such as the color palette, patterns, photographic style, illustration style, etc.
Packaging is a brand’s fundamental point of contact with the public. How to make an impact at the point of sale was one of our most difficult challenges. The design and strategy teams worked together to find a balance between achieving brand recognition (against the competition) and differentiating between the lines of the product range.
In the end, we included a complete package design for every product line, right down to the product labels, in order to create the desired buyer experience for the brand.
As part of the packaging project, we also designed an entire labeling and product identification system.
One of the most outstanding attributes of the product is its Japanese origin (synonymous with quality, tradition and innovation). To emphasize that fact, we designed a sticker to act like a quality seal. It shows an outline of Mount Fuji, as a series of curved lines that reference back to Hohtai threads. The sticker is placed on the front of the box. Products bearing this symbol are fully manufactured in Japan and made with 100% Hohtai.
For the back of the box, we created two icons: the “Original Hohtai”, to indicate that the garment is made with 100% Hohtai; and “Hohtai Technology,” to indicate a product is not 100% Hohtai, but, yes, it has been made using the same technology.
For the top of the box, we designed a functional label with information on style, size and other technical specifications.
In addition to packaging, we developed other touchpoints such as street advertising, stationery, publications, bags, labels, web designs, social media avatars, etc. The correct and balanced use of the different visual elements (logo, color, typography, illustration and photography) is fundamental to conveying the essence of the brand: “Nothing is cooler than the coolest Japanese brand”.