When you look at Hirano’s wider body of works, you’ll get a similar feeling evoked from Pizza Bear; everything’s playful, colourful and reminiscent of the playground. Born in Kanagawa, Hirano graduated from Tama Art University with a degree in graphic design. After which, he landed a role at Draft Inc., before establishing his own design studio Affordance in 2016. Through this, he began working on a variety of projects ranging from branding, product design, packaging, illustration and more. He’s clearly doing something right, too, as his work has been recognised and awarded the TDC Award, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Award and SDA Award.
Another example of the studio’s output can be seen in the Cookie Union branding. In a similar vein, Hirano has constructed a packaging identity but this time for a separate cookie company – tins, bags and boxes included. Much more illustrative in style, the designer has created patterns of flowers and plants, while playful characters wave flags and jump around in various scenes of fun and play. After releasing this project into the world, Pizza Bear’s branding manager noticed the work (who could miss it!) and reached out to Hirano off the back of it.
While working on Pizza Bear, there are a few key elements that Hirano likes best. The first is the illustrative style, wherein he decided to work with thick lines on a white background – “that’s what I like most about it,” he notes. “I think it’s relatively important not to fill the design with colour.” By doing this, the illustration and design is brought to the fore; it makes “the design strong”. Hirano believes he’s successfully achieved this “to some extent” with this project, and we couldn’t agree more. “I also like the idea of stacking the boxes to create a stack of cookie illustrations.” The latter is a subtle, clever touch that adds an interactive – and also surprising – element to the identity, and will likely keep the customers coming back for more.
We won’t be surprised if, after reading this, you’ll want to go home and eat your own set of pizza flavoured cookies. As not only does the pairing sound surprisingly delicious, the packaging too is visually mouth-watering – perhaps good enough to eat.