Kumamoto – Earthquake Relief Donations

Japan Kumamoto Prefecture - Earthquake Relief Donations 2016

After the horrific news about massive earthquakes starting from 14th April 2016 in the Kumamoto prefecture (on the island of Kyushu, Japan), we would like to share some useful links for donations:

Kumamoto Local Government (Bank Transfer):

Red Cross Japan (Credit Card & Bank Transfer):

If you are a Tokyo resident you also have the option to help by purchasing goods made in the Kumamoto prefecture and sold in their Antenna Shop in Ginza.

Further, if you are a LINE user you may purchase “Support Kumamoto” stickers through the app (the price will be matched and donated by LINE).

Further information can be found in this articles on The Japan Time or the Kumamoto Facebook page.

Kumamon is the official mascot of the Kumamoto prefecture.

Our thoughts on the 4 short-listed Tokyo 2020 Olympic logos

2020 olympics logo contest thoughts

We were interviewed by The Japan Times about our thoughts on the 4 short-listed Tokyo 2020 Olympic logo candidates.

Due to the space limitations of the article we are publishing our complete thoughts here for full disclosure. Below you can find the questions by JT and our answers in full. We think it might contribute to the public debate about the 4 logo candidates which have been selected, but also about the implications of the public submission process.

Please excuse any grammatical mistakes due to the extreme time limitation we had for the answers which was less than 24 hours (we left answers mostly non-redacted for genuineness).

The full Japan Times article can be found here:
Japan’s open Olympic logo selection process wins disapproval from designers.

1.) Your general thoughts on the four final candidates.

  • Focus too much on the past of Japan, like traditional paintings, Edo period etc. Ignores the rich contemporary culture and design which exists in Tokyo (Japan) today.
  • While some of the justifications (concepts) of the drafts make sense, the result doesn’t “feel” Japanese: Number A evokes “Greece” flag colours for us, number B visually screams “China” (or dragon), while C is downright clumsy.
  • The only visually acceptable draft is D: slight connotation of fireworks (Hanabi), hand fan and flowers, however the design feels a little old-fashion (70’s wallpaper design?)
  • Nothing stands out at first sight.
  • Needs more iterations to get to more meaningful and visually pleasing results.
  • Most results do not immediately visually explain their concept.
  • Quality seems much lower than Kenjiro Sano’s or Kenya Hara’s designs [of the initial closed contest].

2.) What is your thought regarding the “public submission” style of the contest.

  • It’s exploitation of designers (and the general public’s) time and effort, since only one draft can win.
  • Devalues the trade of a designer by placing everyone on the level of a designer. Degrades professional designers who studied the subject and have work experience with logo and identity design.
  • Public submission with a reward of 1 mill yen (approx. $8000) is a pittance, considering what would be paid to a design agency and also how many billions of Yen will be generated through sponsorship deals on the back of this logo.
  • Public submission may increase the amount of half-hearted submissions by professional designers but also general public, since nothing really is “at stake”.
  • The submission guideline listed too many “key concepts” (7), hard to focus or pack all of these into one design.
  • Iteration and logo development process does not exist in a one-shot “public submission”. One can hardly expect a designer or less the general public to “get it right” at the first shot. The vital creative development, collaboration and iteration part is removed and shortened to a cookiecutter template.
  • Public submission seems more “fair” than a designer or agency picked by an elite, but the overall result will probably lack quality.

3.) Your thoughts on how the Olympic Emblem should be.

  • The Olympic emblem should reflect the contemporary culture and design sensibility of Tokyo and Japan. It should not look to the past too much.
  • It should evoke an immediate feeling of the place/culture of the hosting country.
  • The logo needs to be developed rather as a flexible identity system. The actual logo is just one part of this visual design system. Other graphic design elements should be considered to make up a holistic identity to support the design in all kinds of online and offline media.
  • Good examples of holistic Olympics designs are the 1968 Mexico Olympics or 1972 Munich Olympics.
  • A real collaboration of designers with the Olympics committee is needed. Good design involves a process, not a one-off logo designed in insularity.

4.) Any advice to the Olympic Emblem Committee.

  • Regrettably only superstar designers or all of the general public was considered. There is a huge amount of talented Japanese designers between those two extremes who should have a way to enter the competition with equal chance.
  • All designers invited should be paid a fair wage to put time and effort into a competition, even if they may not succeed in the end.
  • Contest should not be open to public: Too much amateur hour, too much work to review, probably resulting in review-fatigue. Most likely too many people for review needed (15k entries!). If reviewers are good and have experience in design usually they come at a cost. With potentially unlimited logo entries this review system does not seem maintainable.
  • Instead the committee should work more closely with a select [small] group of young and upcoming Japanese designers.
  • Not having won a certain award shouldn’t be considered a criteria to take part [like in the first “closed” competition], other selection method needed.
  • How about having a component where the general public can influence which designer will design the logo, however leaving the actual design work to a professional?
  • In the logo contest real collaboration of the designer with key members of the committee and creative process and iteration should be possible to incorporate feedback.

Happy Monkey Year 2016!

Happy New Year 2016!

Wishing everyone of you a Happy Monkey Year, smooth swings and extra large coconuts in 2016!

A heartfelt Thank You to our fantastic clients, collaborators and friends who supported us in the past year.

May the banana be with you in 2016!

Team Bento

p.s. 2016 – Year of the Monkey!

The New Bento Graphics – Design with Taste

Bento Graphics - Relaunched & Updated Logo

Website Re-Design

Welcome to the new Bento Graphics website! This update has been simmering away for quite a while, but we believe we’ve cooked up quite a healthy feast for your eyes. We hope you like the tasty illustrations!

Website re-design is kind of like rearranging the furniture in your living room (or kitchen!) – it shouldn’t be done constantly (because that’s unnecessary and just too much work), but every couple years or so its helps to roll out a new and fresh layout.

Web design recipes and the technology menu changes – so do personal preferences and tastes – and a website with a fresh & crisp design can be one more way to effectively gather an audience around your table.

Logo Re-Design


Not only did we re-design our website, but we also updated our Bento Graphics logo! We hope the small logo evolution above illustrates our culinary roots.

FAB Meetup

FAB Meetup at FabCafe

Starting now we will be posting more WIP (work-in-progress) project material on our blog. We thought it might be fun to let visitors peep behind the curtain of design development.

In this case it’s sketches and logo versions we created during the design process of the new FAB Meetup logo (see the final version in the photo above: Stickers of the new FAB Meetup logo) .

FAB Meetup – Logo Sketches

FAB Meetup logo drafts

FAB Meetup – Logo Versions

FAB Meetup logo drafts FAB Meetup logo drafts

FAB Meetup – Final Logo

You can view the final FAB Meetup logo project here:

FAB Meetup – The Event

Coincidentally today is the first FAB Meetup in Tokyo for which the new logo was used. You are warmly welcome to join the event this evening.

Fab Meet up is a monthly event to share ideas and experience over a relaxing drink with the diverse crowd at FabCafe. At each event, 5 or 6 creators will make a short presentation related to the topic, “make” or “fab” (fabrication/fabricate). Everyone is welcome to join in the events!

When: 26th May 2015
Where: FabCafe Shibuya
Time: 20:00 – 22:00
Entrance fee: ¥1500 (one drink included)

Even if you do not read/speak Japanese you can get an impression which talks and screening to expect tonight from this detail page:

Let's Talk

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