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Designing “Connections” and “Brands”: What Is Communication Design?

Communication Design: A New Domain

Throughout my career, I have been involved in design in a variety of fields, including product design culminating in the Urusara 7 room air conditioner, and new interfaces for manipulating air. I was also involved in designing the office space at Daikin's Technology and Innovation Center (TIC).

My job and design specialties are continuously expanding and changing. For example, I'm also involved in "Communication Design," which is what I would like to talk about today. In addition to air conditioning, Daikin Industries is working toward tackling the "Energy Solutions" business. Unlike products with tangible shapes such as air conditioners and air purifiers, energy solution-based social infrastructure projects have neither shape nor color.

This brings up the question of how can we communicate such unseen value to people around the world. To do so, I believe that creating connections and establishing a brand with society is important, and this is done through a method known as "communication design."

Using Consistently Strong Messaging to Convey Corporate Ideas and Values

In June 2017, Daikin Industries established DK-Power, Ltd., a subsidiary business with the goal of generating power through a micro hydroelectric power generation system. DK-Power has set its sights on energy creation using both energy-saving technology cultivated by Daikin over the years and renewable energy.

I was personally involved in communication design during the establishment of this startup company. In a regular company, the Public Relations Department is in charge of press releases, the Advertising Department is in charge of website promotion and other publicity, and other individual departments handle other tasks. With this endeavor, however, while drawing on the ideas of all DK-Power stakeholders, we focused on conveying the value DK-Power can bring to society through consistent, strong messaging that transcended the traditional boundaries of advertising and public relations.

One of the most important aspects of this was designing the logo. While brainstorming with members of the design group, I strove to design logos and symbols that not only condensed the ideas and brand concepts of the startup company but also were something that those working for the company could be proud to call their own.

Communication: The Ultimate Goal of All Design

Since I began in product design, the idea that my task did not end with creating a beautiful shape or color, but that I also needed to describe the design's concept to sales representatives in language as clear as possible to have them understand and appreciate the ideas, and then incorporate them in sales promotions, has always stuck with me. To me, "communicating with words"―and in fact "communication" in general―is an indispensable factor of the designer's workflow.

Put in another perspective, the ultimate purpose of product design, graphic design, or interface design, for example, is to "convey" a message in the form of a product, graphic color, or interface screen. The only difference is in the means of communication.

This year marks my second year working in communication design. Whereas the means of expression changed significantly with each product design, resulting in a method of trial and error, you could say that the ultimate role of design remained the same: To serve as a catalyst for transferring the value of goods and services to customers.

Connecting People Brings Brands to Life

A brand is not something a manufacturer creates unilaterally. It is something gradually fostered in the minds of the people through communication. Creation of a brand does not end with the finalization of a logo. Brands are brought to life by being connected to numerous people throughout the world such as through diffusion of the logo in business cards, advertisements, and various other forms of media. For this reason, it is important to ensure the brand concept is disseminated carefully and not misinterpreted or used incorrectly.

At Daikin Industries, operations include not only business-to-consumer transactions but also business-to-business transactions, with some products and services not visible to the general public. Under these circumstances, deciding how to convey the idea of "Making the invisible air beloved" to society as a whole is an important task of communication design.

In the future, I hope to convey the company's brand and yet undiscovered values more effectively while continuing to display installation artworks, produce visuals, and communicate ideas.

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