Storytelling Through Packaging | DOOR to ASIA 2016
A design proposal for Saikichi Shoten to not only promote their products to overseas markets, but also to promote the Tohoku region. DOOR to ASIA is a Designers Residency program by Japan Foundation where 8 selected designers from each Asian country gather to improve local businesses affected by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami through Design.
As the Singapore representative, we were assigned to work closely with Saikichi Shoten, a seafood processing company that has a rich history of 95 years, located in Kesennuma city of Miyagi Prefecture. Saikichi Shoten has been passing down the local Tohoku culinary culture using the abundant marine resources available in the seas of Kesennuma.

We immerse ourselves into their world in a 3 day home stay, understanding their products and company's philosophy. We took a 3-prong approach to develop a design solution that could aid them — Local Recipe Book, Packaging Design, and Packaging Design System. The following design proposition was done in 3 days.
Local Recipe Book

The beauty of Saikichi Shoten products is their ability to customise and adapt to different tastes and likings, catering to a wide variety of audiences and unique possibilities. To introduce Saikichi Shoten products for Singapore and overseas markets, the fastest approach to gain acceptance is through adapting their products to local taste.

The recipe book is created by locals, for the locals. This booklet aims to inspire other locals to buy Saikichi Shoten products and give it their own unique local twist with local ingredients.


Colour Blocking System

To differentiate the origin country of the recipe books, a colour blocking system was invented, inspired and colour picked from the sea and land of the different origin countries.​​​​​​​

レシピ本の背表紙に使用している2色はそれぞれの国の海と土地(土)の色から抽出している。このカラー ブロッキング システムによってレシピ本の該当国を区別することができます。
Colours of the World

When the books are placed together, the colours combine to form an undulating wave of sea and land, coming together as one united world.​​​​​​​

Storytelling Through Packaging

Besides just selling their products, the owners at Saikichi Shoten aims to become a lifestyle and culture business, promoting Tohoku. Having been around in Tohoku for the past 95 years, the Saikichi Shoten family must have many stories to tell and share about Tohoku.

To share Saikichi Shoten’s stories and promote Tohoku’s culture and lifestyle through their products, their stories are consolidated into visuals and various packaging designs.

As some of the family members have Arts background, it is only appropriate that they be the ones to do the visual storytelling through their own artworks and perspective.



Reversible Furoshiki Gift Wrap

The furoshiki gift wrap features a reversible design, sharing 2 different stories in a single furoshiki — Tohoku story and product story.

Carrying on the key touchpoints of sincerity, the furoshiki is hand printed by silkscreen to give a fitting ending to the all handmade process of Saikichi Shoten’s products.

この風呂敷は両面にデザインを施し、1枚で2つの異なるストーリーを伝えることができます — 東北ストーリー、製品ストーリー。

Greater Brand Recognition

The furoshiki can be unwrapped and turned into a wall art poster, reminding people of their stories.

Paper Bag Design

The paper bag features visual elements of Kesennuma such as the mountain, S–coast, etc.

If the family is willing, they can share the paper bags with the surrounding local businesses as well, creating a greater brand recognition to the region when customers are seen carrying it on the streets.


A Picture Speaks A Thousand Words

Saikichi Shoten intends to design and produce their own packaging labels in the future instead of hiring an agency with every new product.

A design system is devised to allow them to independently create future packaging labels that are ready for overseas markets.

“A Picture Speaks A Thousand Words” — Visuals will take main precedence on front of all packagings, allowing consumers to identify the product contents immediatedly. Description and other contents will be placed at the back of the packaging. When placed on product shelves, Saikichi Shoten products immediatedly stand out amongst the crowd of products with eye-catching and layman visuals.



「絵は千の言葉を語る」 ビジュアルはパッケージデザインの中でも最重要で、消費者に商品の中身を即座に伝えることができます。説明と内容物に関してはパッケージの背面に配置します。

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Storytelling Through Packaging | DOOR to ASIA 2016

Storytelling Through Packaging | DOOR to ASIA 2016

A design proposal for Saikichi Shoten to not only promote their products to overseas markets, but also to promote the Tohoku region. DOOR to ASIA Read More