June 29, 2011

The Strokes behind Nissan Power 88

Yokohama -June 29- Nissan Chief Creative Officer Shiro Nakamura says the art work of Souun Takeda reflects the energy and dynamism to which great design aspires.

The calligrapher had been invited to a Nissan New Year's party and was asked to draw the character "Challenge" by Chief Operating Officer Toshiyuki Shiga.

"We had a very nice talk with him after the party about the similarity of design and calligraphy," said Nakamura. "I like calligraphy very much, as it's dynamic and energetic, and I managed to get his work and display it on the wall of the Nissan design center entrance."

The simple but powerful brush strokes would play an important role ahead.

"When the request to create the Mid-Term Plan logo came to us, the design team had several ideas, but I was not convinced on any of those," Nakamura said.

"One morning driving to the office, I came up with the idea of using calligraphy, as it really suits the spirit of the Mid-Term Plan, particularly in this difficult period with a lot of challenges to overcome after the (March) tragedy" in Japan.

The 36-year-old Takeda, the son of a calligrapher who worked briefly at NTT before devoting himself to the art, created the Nissan Power 88 image on a giant canvas currently hanging in Nissan’s global design studio.

With the added English word "Challenge" on the Power 88 symbol, the work helped to articulate the ambitious 6-year plan outlined by CEO Carlos Ghosn this week to expand Nissan's global market share to 8 percent and see an operating profit margin at the same level.

"I believe calligraphy symbolizes the spirit of "Bold and Thoughtful", which is Nissan's brand personality," Nakamura said.

Other works by Takeda adorn the Nissan Technical Center in Atsugi, Kanagawa Prefecture, while his projects have been on display at public railway stations, the Aichi Expo, films and television programs, as symbols for Japanese pop stars, and even at the Grand Shrine of Ise in Japan's Mie Prefecture.