Seachange’s identity for OJI harmonises stark typography and joyful, vibrant illustration
OJI (translated to ‘uncle’ from Japanese) is New Zealand’s latest and greatest Sushi brand, that is already making headlines by becoming New Zealand’s first to have fully recyclable and biodegradable packaging, as well as local sustainably-resourced fish. Appropriately, Auckland-based studio Seachange took the task of creating OJI’s identity, illustrating both the character of OJI – who takes after their brand name – as well as crafting bespoke Kanji for the logotype.
Within OJI’s identity, Seachange has crafted a harmonious pairing of timeless and considered typographic design using the Founders Grotesk family apace with vibrant colours and charming illustrations of anthropomorphic sushi. These decisions can be traced to Seachange’s reconnaissance trip to Japan last year, in order to make sure they created a brand that is as respectful and genuine to Japan as the food served at OJI is. Whilst there they found this beautiful disparity; discovering exuberant colour, neon and pop, as well as the tranquillity and refined personality that Japan is famous for. Due to the holistic nature of the identity, these contrasts extend to the interior design of the stores; whereby bright, brash signage is found alongside hand-glazed ceramic tiles and muted oak decking.
Currently with two primary sites and multiple small concessions, OJI intends to expand and franchise, a situation that demands an identity that is both memorable and joyful. This is clearly manifested in the energetic nature of the brand; rife with looping animations bringing their typography and illustrations to life, resulting in an experience that is as wonderful as it is mesmerising. The strength of OJI lies in the simplicity of his design, with a face that not only references the Japanese flag but also mirrors the interior filling of a sushi roll. Using these intelligently stripped back decisions, OJI has the flexibility to grow, morph and reinvent his form; being as bold or as restrained as he needs to be.