A few examples of such designs are the Kemono Friends logo, the の mark which is used as an icon, the logo of the idol unit PPP and so on.
The company behind all these designs and more is called Y's. The same company created the title logo and packaging for Angel's 3Piece!, the poster and goods for the movie Kuroko no Basket: Last Game and, most recently, the new logo and visual work behind Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu: Die Neue These.
Today we interviewed Y's president Ryuhei Yoneda and asked him about what kind of approach it took to develop Kemono Friends' logo, what Y's thinks about the idea of design, what kind of education is needed to give life to certain contents and so on.
■ A logo design that gives the right impression
Ryuhei Yoneda: Y's celebrates its seventh term this year. We have more than 70 employees, and about 10 of them are creators like me.
I was originally working as a designer at another company, and after being there for 3 years I decided it was the time to found my own. After all, it's better to try and fail when you're still young.
While thinking about what kind of logo could best convey the cuteness of Serval-chan, it was decided that the first step of the project would be for the title to be made into a video game. While keeping that in mind, I designed a logo that could be used for any upcoming project.
Yoneda: I think the steps that need to be taken for every kind of design, including logos and visuals, are kind of the same. First of all, we need to come up with a few keywords. In this case, words that describe the character settings by cutting out the constituent elements of the title, such as "a world featuring various animals", or "a simple concept that can be loved for a long time", or "warm feelings", or "kawaii characters".
That is why I don't just create what I want; instead, for Kemono Friends, I had to keep in mind the ultimate goal for Yoshizaki's project.
After drawing some drafts by hand, I took the ones I thought were closer to the ultimate goal of the project and imported them into my PC. At the beginning, I tend to work on the shape without worrying much about coloring.
Since the design gets more and more complicated by increasing color information, I focus on the shape to create something close to the image I have. Once you get used to it, you can also add colors from the beginning - but you need to be careful because you might end up wanting to fix a bad shape with colors. That's why I always tell beginners: "Design it in black and white first"!
By the way, when you meet your client for the first time, you'll end up coming up with so many ideas (laughs). I try not to aim at anything in particular during the first stage since potentially anything could work.
However, human nature makes it easier for us to make a choice if there are many options. That's why if you end up presenting one single idea, you'll probably be asked for more. Psychologically, it's easier to choose between 5 options rather than between 2. The fact that there are options has the effect of reducing backtracking and consequently shortening production time.
He's truly a genius for connecting the concept of logo to the word off-guard. (laughs)
However, a problem that I encountered is that every single letter ended up representing an animal, and you could understand which animal just based on the color. It shows a limited creativity, and I didn't want that.
Yoneda: I did. Since I knew that Kemono Friends was a project that was going to expand in different directions, I knew from the start that the game was only the beginning. Yoshizaki's goal was to encourage as many people as possible to visit zoological gardens, so I knew that there would probably be many other projects coming up, such an anime.
As you can see at the beginning of the video, the concept is initially drawn out by hand and then imported digitally. By following this process, logo production becomes way faster!
As Yoneda mentioned in this interview, the form comes first, while the colors and processing come later on. By taking advantage of the peculiar features of this original logo, Yoneda creates another logo that will make you understand it's something belonging to the Kemono Friends series. Enjoy!
...In the second part, we will talk about "design education according to Y's". How are fascinating contents created? Find out soon!