Japanese writer Kodansha launched a brand new model for the primary time in 112 years
Tokyo-based publisher Kodansha owns several literary and manga magazines and first published the popular Akira manga series in the early 1980s. It also published some of Haruki Murakami's earliest novels, as well as the manga series Attack on Titan, which was published in 31 serial volumes with 100 million copies published.
The new identity and logo are Kodansha's first brand update in over 100 years and are themed with a new declaration of intent: Inspire impossible stories. Reminiscent of the branding of an art gallery or cultural institution, Gretel's work features an elegant new logo made up of intersecting lines in a square – a nod to the layout of comic pages.
"The brand logo represents Kodansha's position at the intersection of cultures, where many ideas, voices and stories intersect," says Sue Murphy, Creative Director of Gretel. "It is also inspired by Japanese hankos, which serve as a quality stamp for Kodansha content as well as a monogram."
Yoshinobu Noma, CEO of Kodansha, describes the rebranding as an opportunity to "communicate who we are on a global scale" and suggests that we try to spread Kodansha's profile outside of Asia.
Gretel also commissioned a new branded film for Kodansha and worked with director Juan Cabral (of Cadbury's gorilla fame) to show Kodansha stories flying out of Tokyo.
Comics flutter out of cages and into offices, whirl alongside artists at work, land on storyboards and into the hands of readers around the world. It's something that could easily have turned into saccharine, but instead, under Cabral's careful hand, feels like a charming celebration of the power of a good story.