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Visual: Welcome to Arashiyama

Branding an Ecosystem: Welcome to Arashiyama


Fall 2018

Roles: Visual Designer, Adobe Illustrator, Typographer, Packaging Designer

Tools: Adobe Capture, Adobe Illustrator, Wacom Tablet, Screen Printing

Key Learning Opportunities: creating a bilingual product, bookmaking, cohesive branding across materials

Collaborators: Translation assistance from Rakumi Gomi


As I learned from my time in Japan, Arashiyama is a district in Kyoto frequented by tourists and native Japanese alike for its bamboo grove, scenic mountains, monkey park, and more. How might I use play and discovery to bring a strong sense of place to Arashiyama for visitors?


The answer took the form of a branded kit, complete with an interactive map, stickers, information sheet, and hardcover folder. As visitors explore the town, they place stickers on the map for the things they discover and experience. The corresponding information sheet allows them to learn about everything as they go.

the making process

why is it bilingual?

The entire kit is completely bilingual - in English and Japanese - because Arashiyama’s attractions draw in natives and tourists alike. English was chosen in addition to Japanese because 1.5 billion people speak English, and it’s the formal language in 70 countries. Arashiyama’s hospitality industry includes many ryokan (traditional Japanese inns), so many visitors may stay here for a week or more. My kit would be an exploratory and learning device while visitors experience what the city has to offer, from eating kakigori from a street stand to feeding monkeys in the mountains. No matter if you are a native Japanese- or English- speaker, or learning one of those two languages, you can learn and play with this product.

why paper?

In the age of going green, paper goods seem to be on the out, right? Ask Japan’s $11 billion stationery industry. Japan’s superior stationery has taken the world by storm, and a paper kit like this would not be out of place. I imagine my kit being sold in one of the many small shops in the marketplace as a tool for learning during visitors’ stays, and keepsake after they’ve left.

To create the stickers, I uploaded sketches using the Adobe Capture app, then traced and tweaked them in Illustrator. After deciding on a color palette, I sent the stickers off for print.

The illustration was achieved in Illustrator using a Wacom tablet. The illustration depicts Arashiyama’s bamboo grove, mountains, river, forests and fields, monkey beach, residential area, and marketplace. This design was used for the full-color map as well as the covers. To screen print the covers, I made transparencies of my design (DIY-ed using printer paper and vegetable oil), exposed the design on the screen, mixed paint, and then produced my final design on mounting board. The hardcover folder was hand-constructed with the covers, paper, and vellum for a see-through sticker pocket.

The biggest challenge was getting my colors to be cohesive across my production methods. As a result, the pink on the stickers is slightly different from the pink paint that I mixed, which is slightly different from the pink that the printer produced.