Kitte (キッテ) literally meaning postage stamp in Japanese, is the name of a redeveloped part of the old Tokyo Central Post Office building opposite of Tokyo station. In in the course of the redevelopment of the Marunouchi area around Tokyo station the old post office building was one of the last to be renewed. Now the large JP (Japan Post) Tower shoots in the sky behind the old post office facade.
Kitte is essentially a glass-roofed triangular inner yard surrounded by 4 floors of galleries with shops.
As a results of the redevelopment also a visual identity design for the newly branded Kitte building was commissioned to the Hara Design Institute. The Hara Design Institute headed by Kenya Hara is one of the most well-known design firms in Japan with works for Muji, Tsutaya Shoten bookstore, Matsuya Ginza and Umeda Hospital amongst others.
The core element of the identity is a rectangle which is derived from the architectural columns between the large windows of the building front. It seems like a smart and natural choice to use shapes found in the building architecture for the visual identity. The rhythmic pattern of the red rectangles are often broken up by irregularities such a the word Kitte, or other objects related to the season or the shops within the building.
The equally spaced rectangles extrapolate the image of the tiled exterior wall symbolizing the former office building. The combination of the post office’s symbolic red and its complementary color, cyan, or blue green, represents the birth and active growth of this newly built commercial facility. – Kenya Hara | NDC
When visiting the Kitte building one can feel how skillfully the designers are mixing and reusing parts of the visual identity design in various places throughout the building. Also how it is applied to promotional materials such as posters and web images is exceptional.
The logo works beautifully in combination with other graphic elements and the pattern of red rectangles. A small critique would be the font kerning between the logo letters “I” and the first “T” and also the last “T” and “E”. If one looks closely at the logo by itself, one can notice these are too wide. However, the kerning (or letter spacing) is owed to the underlying grid of the red rectangles (also see the animation at the top of the page).