Featured image for Because You Deserve Better Than Those Little Plastic To-Go Packets:  San-J Brand Redesign

Because You Deserve Better Than Those Little Plastic To-Go Packets: San-J Brand Redesign

by Chloe Gordon on 05/18/2021 | 3 Minute Read

Boulder, Colorado-based SRG updated the packaging design and brand identity for San-J, the brand appreciated for their genuine tamari soy sauce. The company is over 200-years old, and the new branding and packaging support the brand's legacy and essence with a contemporary presentation fused with nods to the long-lasting and deeply rooted traditions. The new design is elegant and emphasizes Japanese-inspired patterns and a color palette that's easily recognizable and naturally striking; San-J's packaging is simply divine.


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After eight-generations of excellence, San-J, known for its authentic tamari soy sauce, is launching a refreshed brand identity and packaging design developed in partnership with the Sterling-Rice Group. The new branding is part of an integrated marketing initiative led by SRG that also includes brand strategy, advertising, web design, and digital activation.

San-J’s popular tamari is a premium Japanese soy sauce that is made with all soybeans and no wheat. It is a leading brand at Whole Foods and other natural retailers. To understand the unique story of San-J, the team immersed itself in the brand’s origin and legacy. The 200-year-old company is run by Takashi Sato, the 8th generation of the Sato Family, who appears in the advertising and on the website, emphasizing both the brand’s established legacy for quality and its more modern approach. The new brand positioning “Boldness Endures” is inspired by the brand’s heritage while looking to the future, celebrating San-J’s place at the intersection of tradition and innovation. SRG evolved the San-J logo to reflect a more modern look, respecting the core equities of the brand while creating a bold, simplified new look for packaging. “Our vision for San-J was to maximize the brand’s impact to stand out at the shelf with a clean look that could be incorporated into new product lines as San-J introduces new sauces and flavors,” explained Trevor Harkema from SRG. “There is so much equity in its existing brand, we wanted to build off the established icon of the red Japanese sun and simplify the rest of the packaging to let the sun shine through.”

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The updated design also employs a new color strategy and features stylized Japanese-inspired patterns to make shopping the lineup easier, more intuitive and to further differentiate the packaging.

“Consumers loved the new design as it is recognizable while appearing more contemporary, and it is easier to identify the different varieties. It provides a system we can use as we introduce new products that inspire consumers to explore Asian flavors and foods,” said Takashi Sato, President of San-J. About San-J When the Sato family began making soy sauce and miso as the San-Jirushi company in 1804, they started a legacy that still boldly endures. Eight generations have passed along the method of brewing high-quality Tamari from the finest soybeans. It starts with our Tamari. Unlike typical soy sauce, which contains about 40-60% wheat, Tamari is a type of soy sauce that is made with 100% soybeans and no wheat. This means more soy protein is contained in the finished product, resulting in a richer taste and higher complexity of flavors in the sauce. It is said that Tamari is the origin of Japanese soy sauce, and our brewing methods continue to provide authentic food experiences in today’s kitchens. During our brewing process, we ferment soybeans for up to six months at our Virginia plant using the same methods passed down generations in the family. We invite you to try our carefully crafted sauces and taste the Tamari difference. About Sterling-Rice Group

Headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, SRG is a creative collective-- a nationally recognized brand consultancy and creative agency. The agency infuses creativity in all its work and has deep expertise in consumer insights, brand strategy and positioning, new product innovation, advertising and design. SRG has created over $10 billion in incremental value for clients over the past five years alone. SRG has been ranked on Outside Magazine's Best Places to Work list for the past 10 years and was also recognized by Ad Age as a 2016 and 2017 Best Place to Work. It is certified as a women-owned business.

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  • San-J Brand Redesign: Designed By:Sterling-Rice Group
  • Instagram: @sterlingricegroup
  • Creative Director: Jen Jones: Sterling-Rice Group
  • Designer: Trevor Harkema: Sterling-Rice Group
  • Art Director: Patrick Campbell: Sterling-Rice Group
  • : Sterling-Rice Group

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