Why a cauldron? Behind Majo Medicine’s branding.
Hello, Rosa here, nice to meet you all. This is my first blog post and I am excited to share my journey as the Creative Director for Majo Medicine. Let me tell you a little bit more about how Majo Medicine’s visual identity and branding came together.
2016 Tokyo - Majo Medicine’s initial logo sketches
In the winter of 2015, while living on my own in Tokyo, I received a parcel from my sister. It was always lovely getting parcels from the UK, especially from Clare. Back then I was working for a creative advertising agency in Tokyo, easily doing over 12 hours work days. This kind of working life is very common in the Tokyo creative scene so I was powering through it. However, after years of trying to cope, my wellbeing began to deteriorate and my skin especially started crying out for help. Human bodies are amazing. When you try to hide your stress and anxiety, your body shows you signs that can’t be ignored. Although never having suffered from acne before, suddenly I had severe acne on my forehead. Doctors told me it was caused by stress (Very helpful lol). I tried the various creams and medicines they gave me, they didn’t help. As Clare was, and still is, my go-to person for wellbeing advice. I would call her up, explain my symptoms and she would always give me excellent advice. Skin problems can’t be solved from just one angle and is a condition that needs careful nurturing holistically. Of course, I knew that physical and mental well-being go hand in hand and also that I had to relax and chill out more but my work situation wasn’t easy to control so I focused on getting my skincare right. The best was Clare sending me the prototype creams she had created herself.
Her creams are truly amazing and after a few weeks, my skin instantly got better due to the rich organic ingredients. All high quality and completely pure. I used to spend a fortune on expensive organic creams but nothing beats my sister’s recipe, the amazing result of her years of studying cosmetics. It is gentle yet rich with no unnatural ingredients or additives and worked wonders on my tired, sensitive skin! Clare’s busy lifestyle as a musician touring around the world meant that she was always flying and performing at late night gigs with little time for sleeping. She became extra conscious of her wellbeing and was determined to find the best hacks and solution to keeping her skin happy.
Majo Medicine was actually an accidental business. What started off as Clare’s simple curiosity and hobby has developed into something more. She continually gave away her creams to friends and family with skin problems and the feedback was always very inspiring. Everyone loved them and wanted more.
As a creative designer, I could see the huge potential in her products and wanted to help her push it to the next level. In January 2016, with Clare’s birthday approaching, I decided to do something I had never done before ….create a brand book for Majo Medicine. A brand book is an official document that explains the brand’s identity including the philosophy, mission, logos, design standards etc. It takes time to create, but for a company to have a collective vision, it’s really important to have a solid document like this. Majo Medicine had been on Clare’s mind for a while, lots of ideas and memos, but it was important to have everything in one document with clear guidelines. The best gift you can give to your close ones is your time so I was on a mission to create a package which would arrive on her birthday. I spent a couple of weeks sketching out ideas, making prototypes and experimenting with different ideas.
What was my initial inspiration for the branding?….Well, what people might find surprising about our founder is the fact that she is actually very mathematical and throughout school, she got straight A’s in mathematics. She is super specific when it comes to measuring ingredients and blending them in a precise and hygienic way. Back then we were living really far from each other, Clare in London and me in Tokyo, so although I wasn’t there to witness her make these creams, in my mind, I could imagine her mixing these amazing magic potions in her little black cauldron, creating these magical creams. When we were younger in Osaka our play time often meant dressing up, we used to pretend to be witches and wizards, and I still see Clare that way even as an adult; whether it’s composing and mixing music or blending these incredible creams, she is a little green witch stirring things with a wooden spoon, haha. Which leads me to explain why we chose a cauldron as the symbol. These ancient pots are usually made out of cast iron and symbolically mean stability. There are two thunder sparks coming from Majo Medicine’s cauldron because her creams are magic. They make people smile.
2016 Tokyo - Majo Medicine’s initial logo sketches
Cauldron and sparks are playful but I also wanted to communicate the seriousness of our brand. We used the best possible quality ingredients. Classic, elegant lettering is used for the main logo to balance everything out. The message “Beauty is the wellbeing of the mind and body” is positioned around the cauldron to remind everyone that beauty comes from within, and although creams can help, ultimately it’s how we feel on the inside that matters. We all have the magic within us to live the life true to who we are.
2016 Tokyo - Majo Medicine’s branding ideas and initial packaging design
While I was creating the brand book, I got really, really into it and ended up creating mock-up packagings as well. I am a big believer that when it comes to prototyping; rather than thinking about it too much in your head, be scrappy and physically make stuff with your hands. Think and make simultaneously. Prototypes can help you envision a brand’s potential and facilitate further conversations on what it could be. Together with the 20-page brand book, I made; mockup jars, labels, kraft paper packaging, tags, and business cards and sent a small parcel to London. When Clare received the parcel, she said it was the best birthday present she had ever received. I think branding extremely powerful, it can clarify your vision and give you the courage to push forward when you see everything physically. This resulted in Majo Medicine being taken seriously and registered as a proper limited company. Naturally, I became the Creative Director. I decided to leave my job in Tokyo and focus on Majo Medicine full time!
Looking ahead, we are really excited about our future plans for Majo Medicine. We have lovely new products coming out and all the packaging is being redesigned to make it even more ecological. Hannah, our Managing Director, is a superstar who brings another magic layer to what we do and we are extremely lucky to have her on board. We are working together to promote Majo Medicine so that even more people can benefit from it.
As we are still at the startup stage, we are truly grateful for all your support and patience over the past few years. We aspire to keep improving what we do. Thank you so much for using our creams which are made with love from the bottom of our hearts.