J-WAVE Branding

Rebranding for a modern audio culture

We helped design a new verbal and visual identity for J-WAVE 81.3FM, a commercial radio station based in Tokyo, Japan. Working closely with the leadership at J-WAVE, we redefined its mission and core values by incorporating important themes such as "listeners in Tokyo", "music" and "beyond delivering information".

Background

From smart speakers to podcasts and streaming services, the internet has drastically transformed the way we consume audio. To maintain relevancy in the current digital landscape, J-WAVE, who was reconsidering its image and role as a source for local information and content, approached us to rebuild its brand identity.

Research Process

In the initial phase of the project, we invited J-WAVE employees to a series of surveys and held interviews and discussions with internal stakeholders, intimate collaborators, and industry experts. We gathered their opinions on a variety of topics, from the future of radio and streaming media to the possible changes in Tokyo's culture.
To create the new logo, we examined the original J-WAVE logo, studied graphic design trends of the past 25 years, and conducted surveys to understand the intent behind the existing visual identity. We also set up an internal blog to document the results of our research and rebranding journey in real-time.

Redefining Brand Identity

Following our research and subsequent discussions, we created a new mission statement for J-WAVE – “Creating a diverse landscape of Tokyo with voice, music and action.” – that connects all of the major themes the brand wanted to convey. We summed up the station's renewed purpose of finding and presenting universal and unique content to its listeners in a new tagline – "For the Unique and Universal.", which can either stand on its own or be used in different contexts, e.g. "A stage for the Unique and Universal."

J-WAVE Logo History

The J-WAVE logo underwent two updates since the station's establishment in 1987. However, after finding several issues with the current logo, which was designed 25 years ago, we recognised the need for a new design, clearer guidelines for logo usage, and flexibility in the J-WAVE brand system.

Redesigning the Logo

During the design exploration, we interpreted the objectives behind the original logo by analysing graphic design trends in the 25-year period.

We presented J-WAVE as an ambitious, forward-thinking brand by taking inspiration from the bold lettering and other unique, aspects of the current logo to create a strong typeface that visually echoes the new narrative. We also took versatility into consideration and developed logo variants that can be used in Social Media and a wide range of applications while maintaining consistency in brand image.

Visual Identity Update

We applied the new visual identity across different media, from the J-WAVE merchandise to business stationery, and the photo backdrop at the studio for visitors to the office lobby sign.

2020 Holiday Greeting Cards

Our team also designed New Year's cards for the company, which were used to announce J-WAVE's new brand identity. Inside the card was the message "New Year, New J-WAVE" and a simple image of a sunrise depicting a new beginning.

CREDIT

Client: J-WAVE Inc.
Creative Direction and Copy Writing: Kotaro Watanabe (Takram)
Art Direction and Design: Taro Yumiba (Takram)
Design Research: Taro Yumiba, Keisuke Oyama, Kyoko Takahashi (Takram)
New Year Card Design: Ray Masaki (Takram)
Text for Internal Blog: Mai Tsunoo
Space Design Proposition: Kaz Yoneda (Bureau 0-1)

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