Kenji Ekuan was from Japan and a famous designer. He died this February 2015, aged 85.
You certainly own a piece of his art. Yes, really, look in your kitchen! He designed the famous Kikoman bottle. Yes, famous. Not only because you can see his bottle exposed in the MoMa (NY) and use it to cook, but also because his bottle is probably as famous as the Coca-Cola iconic one. Not so many people can pretend that their creation was produced more than hundreds millions times. Pretty impressive.
Beyond his personal history – he moved to Hiroshima after the WWII where he was ‘inspired by the devastated objects and spend a part of his life as a monk -, there is an important fact that Kenji Ekuan’s philosophy underlined: working on the democratization of goods and beauty, it certainly not the sole condition to have an iconic product, but it’s certainly a major first step. The second lesson of this small bottle is that a good design not only have to be beautiful, but also simple and easy to use. And last, but not least, connect your product to your brand identity. In this case, selling a Japanese product, keep the roots of the bottle in the asian culture, don’t look too far. Of course, for those how imagine that the penguin-like design for a bottle is obviously the reason of such a success, I have to admit that’s certainly not a coincidence…
You have a good brand and good product, but are you sure about your strategy, your design and your identity? Ask a professional.
Kenji Ekuan (1929-2015)