Peter Schmidt Group elucidates the success factors of Germany design at an event in Tokyo

The “Made in Germany” seal of quality also applies to design. German design enjoys an excellent reputation among many companies around the world. At a presentation entitled “The Success Factors of German Brands” at the Tokyo Design Hub, Heidrun Angerer, Lukas Cottrell and Itta Tsunoda from the Peter Schmidt Group design and branding agency presented influential designers and major brands that are characteristic for German design.

2019 marks the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus. While in Germany people often look back at previous epochs and question whether their principles still hold any validity in today’s environment, the Bauhaus anniversary is being met in Japan with utmost esteem and respect. “German designers are quick to cast an envious glance at Great Britain, the USA and France – and overlook the fact that their own work, their own characteristic German style, is equally appreciated in other countries,” notes Lukas Cottrell, Managing Director of Peter Schmidt Group. Together with Executive Creative Director Heidrun Angerer, he accepted the invitation of the Japan Institute of Design Promotion (JDP) for a lecture on the success factors of German brands. The topic aroused great interest in Tokyo, where some 100 guests learned about the formative stages of German design history as well as current trends. The work of outstanding designers – from Peter Behrens, Walter Gropius, Otl Aicher and Dieter Rams to Peter Schmidt – shed light on a number of aspects that are typical of German design: clarity, function, consistency, focus and precision. These values are also evident in the products and brands that are native to Germany and enjoy international success: Mercedes-Benz, Leica, Jil Sander, Adidas and Lufthansa served as examples of exceptional design quality “made in Germany.”

Close links between German agency and Japanese clients

There is a great deal of commonality between German design and the highly reduced Japanese approach, which focuses on the essentials. This makes the exchanges between the two cultures and markets quite interesting. It was no coincidence that representatives of Peter Schmidt Group were invited as lecture partners: The agency is not only currently Germany’s top-selling branding and design agency, it has also maintained an office in Tokyo for more than ten years now. Indeed, the agency’s founder Peter Schmidt always had an affinity for Japanese culture. Today, Itta Tsunoda and his team represent Peter Schmidt Group in Tokyo and initiate contacts to Japanese companies that consciously opt for a German approach in design and brand management. For example, Peter Schmidt Group has been working with the Japanese confectionary chain Juchheim for more than ten years, was also responsible for the new visual identity of the renowned Nezu Museum, and has also been advising Japanese automotive suppliers on their brand positioning in global markets for several years. “Many Japanese clients appreciate the structured approach of a German agency,” explained Lukas Cottrell. “A solid strategic foundation and neatly elaborated design that works across a wide range of media are quality factors that are highly valued here. Peter Schmidt Group has also developed the appropriate digital tools so that companies can exercise centralized control over their worldwide brand management – regardless of whether from Germany or Japan.

The goal: Further expansion of international business

Peter Schmidt Group currently generates more than half of its sales with foreign customers or the foreign departments of international corporations, and the agency intends to further expand this course of internationalisation. The intensification of business relations with Japan is an important factor in this regard, and German design competence delivers a persuasive argument. The speakers also gave an outlook on current developments, including modular design approaches that can be linked to algorithms as well as sustainable solutions that are based on social trends. JDP and Peter Schmidt Group are already planning to continue the series of lectures in October.