September 21, 2009

Design Barcode (デザインバーコード)

{Images via Design Barcodes}

Design Barcode (デザインバーコード) is a Japanese design firm famous for the unique barcodes they design. Many people get the impression that this company only designs barcodes and nothing else. This is not true.

Design Barcode is a creative agency founded by Minoru Yoshida (吉田稔), together with his old team mates from the previous advertising agency they worked for, in 2004. Their revolutionary idea of designing barcodes, by which they turn the minor part of the package barcodes into "a picture worth watching", brought them to the spotlight and won them the 2005 Good Design Award, 2006 Type Directors Club Award, and the 2006 Cannes Lions International Advertising Titanium Award!

Because they are so famous for their barcode design, most people misunderstand them as special barcode designers. In fact, Design Barcode's core business is not designing barcodes but selling ideas! In an interview with the founder/creative director Minoru Yoshida (吉田稔), it says his goal is to pursue a new form of communication with consumers. He wants to make "advertisements so good that people are willing to pay to see it". Based on Design Barcode's achievements, people are waiting to see the next product which will feature the unique barcode on their packaging. And once the new product is out, thanks to publicity from blogs, people will dash to a nearby store to buy it. In other words, "to pay money to see the ads".

{Images via Design Barcodes}

Design Barcode's latest challenge was called "TOKYO LEFTEOUS PROJECT ON 13TH AUGUST". And this project really reflects their style. The event is not about commercials, posters nor special merchandise. What they did was simply to ask restaurants to place the chopsticks to the left hand side instead of right hand side on August 13th. It doesn't seem to be a big deal, but it can cause enough discomfort. On the back of the chopstick bag it was written " Feel frustrated? That's how left-handers feel everyday." (イライラしましたか?実は左利きの人は毎日そんな気分なのです。) The reason they pick August 13th was because The United Kingdom Left-Handers Club made August 13th "left-handers day".

Unfortunately I couldn't find more info from their website. It seems they haven't updated their website for a while. But they did have current list for the restaurants which participated this year's LEFTEOUS PROJECT.


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