Yuta Takahashi: Product and Packaging design fo FIVEISM x THREE

Published: 12 Dec 2018
Category: Interviews
Yuta Takahashi: Product and Packaging design fo FIVEISM x THREE
Yuta Takahashi (YT) is a graphic designer and art director based in Ehime, Japan. We have asked Yuta about product and packaging design for a men’s cosmetics brand FIVEISM x THREE that he designed with the brand.
NE:
Can you tell us about FIVEISM x THREE?
YT:

FIVEISM x THREE is the industry’s first comprehensive men’s cosmetics brand. The line up of products includes makeup base, foundation, eyeshadow, eyebrows, lipstick, nail polish and multi-use color sticks, all of which will allow you to express yourself in your own way. This new line up was announced by the popular Japanese cosmetics brand Three this autumn.

The concept behind the brand is individuality. To be free from the confines of gender, age, borders, conventional wisdom and prejudices; to make it possible to express yourself, without limits, as what you really are: a unique existence, separate from anyone else.

Yuta Takahashi, Products and Packaging design for a men’s cosmetics brand FIVEISM x THREE.
NE:
What’s the story behind how you became involved with this project?
YT:

I remember I was reading an interview about a certain cosmetics brand and thinking to myself: "I’d quite like to try a job in the cosmetics industry," when at that moment I received a phone call. When I answered it turned out to be someone calling about a job at a cosmetics brand. It was the most unbelievable coincidence.

They told me about their plans to start a men’s cosmetics brand with me, which really surprised me for two reasons. The first was the idea that the first men’s cosmetics brand would be created in Japan. I was delighted at the prospect of being able to work with a group of people that had the passion to establish new values and become pioneers in the industry. The second thing that surprised me was that they chose me on the spot due to my use of makeup in my day to day life.

Yuta Takahashi, Products and Packaging design for a men’s cosmetics brand FIVEISM x THREE.
NE:
What thoughts and philosophy have gone into the designs of all these products and packaging?
YT:

The ideas was to reflect the brand identity in the designs. That is to say, something that’s not quite feminine but not quite masculine either, something transcendental. We designed everything with the thought in the back of our minds of making products that could, in future, be used by both men and women alike.

Yuta Takahashi, Products and Packaging design for a men’s cosmetics brand FIVEISM x THREE.
We designed the foundation into the bar shape.
NE:
Can you tell us about the various designs for the containers?
YT:

I started out by ordering some women’s makeup items and trying to study them to gain some insight into this female-centric culture of makeup that men are unaccustomed to. As a result (and I know this should be obvious) I ended up thinking to myself: "these are items that were designed specifically for women." So I thought that, rather than clumsily trying to force women’s makeup products into the world of men’s makeup, I should try and understand the mentality behind women and use that to understand the mentality of men.

To illustrate what I mean, allow me to give the example of the feminine gesture of holding something in the palm of your hand. I realised that while holding something in the palm of your hand gives a somewhat feminine atmosphere, holding something by your fingertips produces a more masculine image. There was once an psychological experiment that found that when men and women turn a door knob, women have a tendency to grip it in the palm of their hands as they twist it, while men tend to grab and twist with their fingertips. To expand upon this idea we decided to create a design that men can use without feeling uncomfortable, which lead to the creation of the stick-shaped container design that we’re calling the "bar."

The most exemplary product of the brand is the foundation, so we designed that into the bar shape and then used that as a basis to design the other products. The container for the bar shaped foundation was created with a 5:1 ratio. All the items were created to have a numerical conformity, which is reflected in their conformity in size as well. The curved sides of the products were originally hand carved onto a square block as a prototype. That block was then digitised and from there the design was subtly modified to make sure the angles weren’t too sharp or too round, and that it would fit naturally in your hand, all to create a design to embody the gender transcending vision of the brand.

Yuta Takahashi, Products and Packaging design for a men’s cosmetics brand FIVEISM x THREE.
NE:
Can you tell us about the characteristically-finished packaging of the products?
YT:

The same design philosophy used for the designs of the products themselves was used for the packaging as well. The characteristic dot symbol has been flawlessly recreated via embossing onto the paper. If you were to look at it from a micro perspective you would see the feminine aspect of the dot, but if you were to take a more macro view of things you’ll see the more masculine diagonally intersecting lines. Also, the expression on the packaging changes based on its exposure to light, making the packaging a fitting symbol for the identity of the brand and its admiration of diversity.

The defining characteristic of these products is the staggering transformation you’ll see after applying them. Men might immediately grow weary at the mere mention of makeup, but we’re not offering the kind of makeup that you’d normally associate with the word, but rather, to put it in my own words, "the tightened features of someone who’s spent 3 months training at the gym." At the brand we’re calling that "stealth makeup." And you can get that look in just 3 minutes in the morning. Please give it a try, it’s a very interesting product.

Yuta Takahashi, Products and Packaging design for a men’s cosmetics brand FIVEISM x THREE.
View books designed by Yuta Takahashi.
All images © Yuta Takahashi