Onitsuka Tiger is one of the oldest shoe companies in Japan. The company was started in 1949 and aimed at raising the postwar youth’s self-esteem through athletics. Since 1977 Onitsuka has been a part of the – also Japanese – sportswear company ASICS. For Onitsuka Tiger’s 60th anniversary, we developed their global theme.


1. Insight

Based on the business question, we gathered consumer and brand insights from Onitsuka Tiger. We selected several generation and societal trends from our database.

2. Interpretation

We made a thorough interpretation of Onitsuka Tiger’s insights and the trends generation X, millennials and visual culture.

3. Implementation

We developed Onitsuka Tiger’s global brand theme (Zodiac), including the creation of over fifty visualizations based on the interpretations phase. This included concepts for the brand theme, marketing communication, sales and product development (footwear and apparel).

The global theme we developed was based on the ancient Zodiac calendar which consists of 12 animals and 5 elements. The age of 60 is considered to be the completion of one life cycle (12 creatures x 5 elements = 60) and is therefore very important in Japanese culture.

We chose the most relevant trends and developed several concepts & mood boards for marketing, footwear, apparel and material advice, based on these trends.

Thanks to these concepts and visuals we could show how the global theme could be interpreted by internal and external partners.

In the end we created a briefing that would be used as a guide by agencies and designers.

Some Zodiac signs designed by Erik Kriek.

Some Zodiac signs designed by Takeshi Fukui.

The designs where then applied on footwear, apparel & marketing materials (the rat by Takeshi Fukui).

The rat by Takeshi Fukui.

The monkey by Takeshi Fukui.

Some products based on the Zodiac sign: the rabbit (design by Erik Kriek).

Every product was packed in a special ‘kanreki’ box and included a key chain with the specific Zodiac animal and a Zodiac calendar to see the animal that suits your date of birth.