The world of interior design is usually divided into two spheres: residential and commercial. The commercial side typically encompasses institutional, healthcare, government, hospitality, corporate and retail design. Compared to residential designs where you focus on individual or family’s needs, commercial designs must also consider branding. More specifically in the case of retail design, most often there is a very specific corporate image that must be developed, implemented and maintained– think Starbucks or Luis Vuitton.
This corporate image not only differentiates one from their competition, but also defines perception of exclusivity or commodity. Whether a one-off location or a chain of stores, the task of creating a unique image and space to best represent a product or service is not an easy task. Shoppers are not so easily tricked and will spend their time and money in places where their perceptions of the products and the spaces they’re sold in are in sync.
The Japanese are masters of marketing for their own population. They have their well established brands such as Takashima, Hanshin, Hankyu, Seibu, Isetan and Kintetsu that have defined service and luxury dating back to the 1600s. They also have much newer, and perhaps more fashionable, stores that include Tokyu Hands, Muji, LoFt and Uniqlo. But what sets the Japanese apart is their unique way of branding with the English language. It is considered quite fashionable to have an English brand name even when it can’t be read or pronounced by all. Once again from my travels, I present to you some of the more interesting retail names I’ve gathered: