Branding and Packaging: SOMA Branding by Makoto Kamimura

This branding, typeface and website design by Makoto Kamimura for SOMA, a lifestyle brand focusing on coniferous products, is seriously beautiful. Capturing the elegance of SOMA’s sublime collection of hand-crafted wooden accessories, this entire project is a study in restraint and refinement.

About the design: “SOMA is a lifestyle brand focusing on coniferous products. On the launch of the brand, we were in charge of the visual identity. The brand was founded by Mr. Masaru Kawai, a Japanese wood artist, and was established with the aim of communicating Japanese ancient tree culture to the present age. The activities of the brand are diverse; a wide range of activities related to wooden culture, including selling original products, workshops, and talk shows.”

About the logotype, brandmark & typography: “The logotype and the brandmark were constructed with abstracted elements of trees. The brand name “SOMA” originated from the word “杣 (soma)”, the name of people who lived with trees in the mountains of Japan, and the brand mark was designed based on the symbols engraved on their tools. What is used for products and related items is the original typeface that uses elements similar to the logotype. It reflects the unique appearance of the history-laden trees.”

About the maker: “Although 70% of land in Japan is forest, Japan depends on imports for 70% of the wood used in the country. In exchange for lowering the cost of manufactured products and the sales cost even slightly, not only is this leading to legal or illegal deforestation in other countries, we are basically throwing away our wood culture that we have cultivated for years and years. In Japan’ s forest today the cedar and hinoki cypress, that were planted after World War II, are abundant. These coniferous trees were originally intended to be used as building material, but the modern times that have arrived are a little different from the future that was envisioned. With the rise of labor, that came with economic growth, and with the changing of architectural styles, the usage of cedar and hinoki cypress has fallen, and now these coniferous trees, that are so connected to the mountains, are overflowing. The word Soma means people who live by working in the mountains. In this series, my use of Japanese coniferous wood is brought on by my thoughts for supporting the reevaluation of Japanese wood.”

Photography by Masaru Kawai.

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