Nameless Paints

<2012 Grand Prix>

Eliminating the stereotypes with respect to colors, these paints give you the enjoyment of painting pictures with free inspiration.

  • namelesspaints
  • namelesspaints
  • namelesspaints
  • namelesspaints

Introduction video about products: (YouTube) *Japanese edition

Video about the workshop : (YouTube) *Japanese edition

Award Results:
London International Awards (2016) : Package Design (Grand LIA)
CANNES LIONS (2016) : Product design lion、Design Silver lion (Gold Lion, Silver Lion)
ONE SHOW (2016) : BEST OF DESIGN、GOLD (Grand Prix, Gold)
D&AD (2016) : Graphite Pencil (Silver)
ADC (New York) (2016) : Silver Cube(Silver)
iF DESIGN AWARD (2016) : (Prizewinner)
ADFEST (2016) : FINALIST (Prizewinner)
Spikes Asia (2016) : Design (Bronze Spike)、Promo & Activation (Short List)

*End of production.


Presentation sheet at the time the award was received.

The color “light blue” is called “water blue” in Japanese. However, the water that comes out of the faucet is not such a color.
The artwork “Nameless paints” created by “Ima Moteki”, the team of Yusuke Imai and Ayami Moteki, was inspired by the doubts that the two of them felt since a young age and it won the Grand Prix in the 2012 KOKUYO DESIGN AWARD as a work that greatly broadens children’s learning and creativity.

To make it into a commercial product we reduced the number of colors from the 25 contained in the award-winning artwork down to 10 colors. Black was removed because it can be made by mixing the three primary colors but the matter of white became a point of discussion with those concerned with creating it.

“As there was a limited number of colors, I was against retaining white just for its function to dilute color. If you just want to dilute a color then you can use water. I thought that if the product was only composed of the three primary colors, then the concept would become clear.” (Yusuke Imai)
If you think of them as paints, then it may be easier to use them if white is included, but as we considered them an educational tool that encourages children to think and discover for themselves, we decided to eliminate white and prioritize the clear communication of the concept of the artwork.


Also, the development of the 10 colors that were decided did not go quite as expected. For example, in the mixtures of magenta and cyan in the ratios of both 1:1 and 1:2 there was not as much difference in color as we had expected. We tried changing the color composition ratios slightly and finally changed the 1:2 ratio to 1:4.


The design of the tubes and packaging was also determined by the particular character of the product concept. In order to convey the concept visually, the tube uses the notation “○+○” to express the composition of the color. In addition, a transparent sleeve case was adopted for the packaging, so that the design of the tubes can be seen before opening it.
By making the case transparent, we needed a mechanism to fix it in place so that the placement of the paints would not collapse, even when they are carried around and swayed up and down and to the right and left. Since opaque storage boxes are usually used for general paints, even if they scatter in the case, it cannot be seen. In this case, we verified which form would hold the paints in place without damaging the ease of removal and equipped the case with such a design.

Also, we had the lettering designer Misato Watanabe make a hand-drawn design for the logo and concept message for the “Nameless Paints” that is printed on the packaging. “As it is a conceptual product, we wanted to convey it in the softest way possible. Watanabe’s lettering that is also used in text books has a gentleness that is beautiful to the core, just like the way a teacher writes on the blackboard. When we thought about what we wanted to convey to both the adults who buy this product and the children who use it, we felt that we could convey it directly by expressing it through lettering that resembled writing by a teacher.” (Ayami Moteki)


Front and back of the packaging.


Through the process of commercialization, the two creators seem to have revisited their thoughts about “Nameless Paints”.
“There are many jobs at the heart of the graphic design business but I could experience the feeling once more of “the value of a product is in the details” in the world of the product. From the fine details thought-through in the design of the case to ensure that the paints do not fall out and are easy to take out, to the safety aspect of the凹凸 (concave and convex) shape of the cap that allows for the passage of air even if a child ingests the content accidently. I want people to use this product with confidence because it has something apart from a beautiful appearance, it has “the right shape and form for something that people touch.” (Yusuke Imai)

“When I was a child I used to unquestioningly use “skin color” when painting people’s faces. If I think about that now, I think it is somewhat strange. To use a little exaggeration, I could say that if I had encountered these paints when I was small, my future may have changed. My thought is that I would like people to have the experience of using these paints once in their lives, rather than asking people to use them every day.” (Ayami Moteki)

This artwork became a polished product in its concept, usability for users and quality, through the discussions and open exchange of opinions between Kokuyo and the creators. How about trying these paints for yourselves and setting out on a journey to find your own color?

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