No Brand Goods – Japanese Aesthetics

Over-packaging is a unique problem or situation in Japan. If you have ever brought any souvenir from Japan or got something from a decent department store, 99% of the chance that you have seen the packaging skills of the store sales. There are so many layers of wrapping paper, on top of which could be some fancy colorful tie-up lines with ribbons to decorate.  The store sales is so well trained and the process just happened without counting to 10. 

Beautiful packaging is to reveal sincerity and the good intentions behind the gifts. However, it does cause wastes although Japan is very good at recycling all related materials. It does waste labors, training, supply chain process, etc. In the December of 1980, Ikko Tanaka, a famous designer assigned to help supermarket chain The Seiyu, Ltd to compete with their own product lines, asked why couldn't Seiyu design simple packaging for this product line and differentiate from all its competitors. This is the beginning of the Mujirushi Ryōhin product range which uses the slogan “Lower priced for a reason.” Products were wrapped in clear cellophane, plain brown paper labels and red writing.

By simplifying the packaging, Mujirushi Ryōhin's successfully drove to cut retail prices for consumers. The Chinese characters of the brand is 无印良品, which literally means no brand good products. The concept of minimal packagin not only lowered the costs but also formed a unique identity of the brand. Commentators have described Muji's design style as having mundanity, being "no-frills", being "minimalist" and "Bauhaus-style".

Muji products have a limited color range and are displayed on shelves with only functional product information and a price tag. Detailed instructions included with the product are usually printed only in Japanese, although multilingual translations are starting to be included with some products. Stationary, daily utensils, clothes and food, all kinds of products common in a grocery store or department store can be found in Muji. It is a successful representative of business won because of its core design concepts. The beauty of Japan. No one can resist.

Muji Store - Grand Front Osaka
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