Enterprise Rebrand
Country Base: Japan
Industry/Sector/Keywords: University, College, Education, Japan, Students, School, Teaching

Below: Before and After Images in Slide Show, Video, Summary, Credits

Industry Setting

Kyoto-based Ryukoku University, one of the world’s oldest universities founded to teach the lessons of Buddhist monk Shinran, had established itself as a vibrant, international institution fostering individualism. Readying for its 400th anniversary in 2039, the University wanted to return to its progressive Buddhist roots and face today’s issues with a truly modern approach grounded in its timeless wisdom and the principles of “equality, independence, contemplation, gratitude, and peace,” the heart of the founding spirit of Ryukoku.


Our challenge was to use visual messages to demonstrate how Ryukoku University’s principles can guide and empower everyone to respond to society’s problems. We also wanted to show that Ryukoku adapts to each new generation’s thinking.


Based on the concept of “Introspective Altruism,” we created provocative statements such as “Less Me, More We” that suggest cause and effect, and placed them in bold, minimalist designs with imagery that suggests a sense of responsibility and urgency to show the University’s committed to providing active answers to today’s challenges.

The simple, powerful and real designs use Ryukoku’s distinctive rich red brand color and a limited number of elements to emphasize the messages and the underlying causal relationship between our actions and their results. Only by understanding one’s self and the true nature of things through contemplation and altruism, then acting with courage, free from preconceptions and for the wellbeing of others, are we able to change ourselves, society, and ultimately the world for the better.

The placement of the logo on the boundary line reaffirms Ryukoku’s central role in tackling today’s challenges by turning its inner strength and spirituality into positive results in the real world.


In 2021, Ryukoku’s proactive approach to SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) was recognized in The World University Rankings, placing 4th in the Impact Rankings among private universities in Japan, reflecting the positive transformation taking place within the University.


Client: Ryukoku University – ryukoku.ac.jp/

Brand Strategists/Designers: Interbrand Japan – interbrand.com

Associate Creative Director, Creative Direction: Yuki Muramatsu
Senior Design Director, Art Direction: Masakazu Okura
Director, Planning & Verbal Direction: Rika Igarashi
Creative Executive Fellow, Creative Supervision: Hideto Matsuo
Director, Messaging: Seppo Kurki
Senior Designer, Design: Sergi Perez
Senior Designer, Design: Keiko Higashi
Verbal Consulting, Senior Consultant: Kimitake Mukasa