Euri Kashiwagi
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Japantown PDX

Japantown PDX Case Study

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A Project to Revive a Community

In the long history of the city of Portland, Oregon, there were many communities that existed and passed on. One of the biggest was Japantown, located in current Old Town Chinatown. The area consisted of many local businesses all owned by immigrants from Japan. Through many rough incidents, the community went away as World War II occurred, but the soul is still living on through many Japanese and Japanese-American communities around town. As an important element and history of the city, the community deserves a branding to revive itself into current Portland.

 
 
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The Process

While the goal of the project is to revive a community, it is important to incorporate the history of the area itself into the branding. Therefore, the logo and the poster were one of the bigger elements in this project for it will be the biggest element in delivering the message. The poster will be incorporating the many archival photos of Japantown to present the history behind the area, not too obviously but quietly.

 
 
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Flexible Logomark

As Portland grows as a city, there is an increase with the number of tourists as well as new Portlanders. It is important to have those people notice and remember the area and the hidden history of Japantown. The logomark is written “nihonmachi”, which directly translates to “Japantown”. The mark can be used in different situations, including posters to pamphlets and business cards. The round words and the circle creates a soft friendly feeling to the community. It is made to be appealing for the older generations, especially Japanese-Americans, who have been living in Portland, to the newcomers.

 
 
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Traditional Color & Patterns

The colors are based off of dying tones that were created by native plants in Portland. While it is a traditional tone, cloth dying including indigo dying is becoming a trend again in Japan, which the color incorporates.

The patterns are from traditional kimono designs and each individually have meanings behind them. Each patterns are to be used in different occasions, such as formal or event and tourism purposes.

 
 
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The blue is the seigaiha, translated to wave and stands for resilience and power. This will be used for event promotion hosted by the Japanese and Japanese-American organizations.

The yellow is the arrows, originally used in marriage meaning “once the arrow is fired, it will not come back”, or “shoot your shot”. This will be used for tourism purposes to catch the eyes of people.

The red is the chrysanthemum, which is the national flower of Japan and is often used in celebratory moments. This will be used for formal occasions, such as letters.

 
Poster (Obon Matsuri version)

Poster (Obon Matsuri version)

Street signage

Pamphlet (inside information)

Pamphlet (inside information)

Pamphlet (inside foldout)

Pamphlet (inside foldout)

Poster variations

Poster variations

Business cards

Business cards

Letterhead

Letterhead

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deliver the history