When Neil first approached me, he was selling garden buildings as simply that. “Outsideology Garden Buildings”. This had come about from building observatories for homeowners, and a desire to appeal to a wider audience.
He wanted me to create a brand for him that would promote the benefits of his unique building methods, especially the way the buildings are completely insulated, keeping them at a constant temperature all year round.
I turned to the traditions of Japan for inspiration. The Japanese are known for their craftsmanship. They also have a long tradition of building in harmony with nature. In Japanese culture, traditional folk tales are common, so I wrote my own Japanese folktale to build the brand around:
I Based the 4 sections of the story on the classical elements to tye it back to western culture:
Hinata (Best Warmth) was a painter who fell on hard times. He could not make enough money to eat. One night he snuck into the Emperor’s palace garden to steal Kabocha (pumpkin). He was caught and the furious Emperor sentenced him to death.
Hinata begged for his life and the Emperor took pity. As punishment, the Emperor banished him to ‘Hi to kōri no shima’ (the Island of Fire and Ice) a small distant island which during the day was blisteringly hot and at night was freezing cold.
After 2 weeks on the island without sleep, Hinata noticed two monkeys fighting over a Kani (crab). Thinking he could himself eat the Kani, he chased off the two monkeys. Kani begged Hinata not to eat him, promising one wish in return. Hinata thought for a minute and asked Kani to make him something that will keep him cool in the blistering heat and warm in the icy cold. Kani agreed and built a house for Hinata.
The days ticked by and Hinata rejoiced in his new house; after many moons, Kani returned to Hinata, where he found him painting and enjoying the sunshine within his house. Hinata welcomed Kani and they both sat side by side in the house of Kani; a house of creativity, purpose and calm.
And this is what the brand is built around. “a house of creativity, purpose and calm”. Kani means House in Japanese, but I also liked the British meaning of “canny” as having or showing shrewdness and good judgement. Like a nod to the technology behind the builds.
All the visuals are based on traditional Japanese prints and symbols. The Kani.House logo itself comprises the Japanese Flag, the crab, the island (Volcano) and the man with a topknot in the negative space of the crab. I have also added some references to the astronomical origins of the brand, with the logo being orbited by the moon as a red dot in the logo, and the stages of the build being reflected in moon phases.
Overall this brand creation and design project has been very successful and continues to grow, as we advertise and develop the website further.