This week we are going to conclude our mini-series showcasing the creation and implementation of amiibo. It’s no secret how well Nintendo is doing in the market with amiibo, so it is very fitting to end the mini-series focusing on the sales of them.
In the event that you may have missed the first three installments in the amiibo Mini-Series Mondays, be sure to check them out at Planning & Development, Design, and Procurement & Production, respectively. In this final installment, we have the opportunity to see how Nintendo intended to make stores more lively with amiibo.
With Nintendo characters entering real-world retail stores in the form of “amiibo,” it could change how consumers choose a product and make retail stores even more fun to visit. A design staff member discusses how he wanted Nintendo products to connect with consumers when they see them in retail stores for the first time.
One thing that is terrifically interesting is the fact that with every wave of amiibo that is released, there are fans who make it their mission to be present and accounted for to ensure they have those little amiibo figures in their personal collections.
What aspects were most important to you regarding presenting the product to consumers?
My job is to come up with ideas about how to use design to create a connection between amiibo and consumers. I have been working on how we should go about designing the product packaging, and store display and advertising images from the perspective of branding. As for the packaging, we decided on a large illustration of the characters and a clear design that brings out the unique features of each character and series so that when amiibo is lined up on retail store shelves, consumers will feel that this area is lively and fun. We’ve always faced the challenge with game software and game systems that we only can convey their appeal on a two-dimensional level because the products are in their boxes; but by putting amiibo in see-through blister packages, consumers can see the products themselves. I hope consumers at retail stores will look at the amiibo figures from various angles to see the originality of each one. Also, we had to consider how to communicate to consumers that amiibo play styles differ with each compatible game in an easy-to-understand manner. More specifically, we had to create icons and images that the show compatibility and play styles for each software title, and then decide how to use them in places where we communicate with consumers, such as at retail stores and on our official website. We also created a set of design guidelines for the use of amiibo in each medium.
What aspects were particularly challenging in regard to the design consideration?
Incorporating opinions from employees at the subsidiaries that sell our products overseas and coming up with a means of showing amiibo in a way that would appeal to people from all around the world definitely was challenging. For amiibo packaging, we chose a global design that focuses on practicality and having a unified brand. However, Nintendo also cherishes localization that respects the culture and market situation of each region so that people will connect with the product. With amiibo packaging, we tried to strike a balance between the two by creating an image that every region and culture would accept. In North America, in particular, people are very conscious of branding and tend to focus on brand unification more so than in Japan. We often discussed how we could bring out the characteristics of each character while maintaining a sense of solidarity for the entire amiibo product range and, as a result, we now have designs that satisfy us both.
How do you feel about your involvement in the amiibo project?
So many people have been involved and so much effort goes into each product before it is lined up on a retail store shelf. Each one is the physical result of everyone’s passion, and my role is to make sure that passion is conveyed properly to consumers. I hope that all consumers who pick up an amiibo product will consider it important and something that makes them happy.
amiibo have proven to be a surprise hit for Nintendo, and it’s true that seeing them in stores is wonderful for fans, whether it’s because you have been anticipating them, or happen upon their vividly displayed presentation by chance.
I wanted consumers to get more excited about the characters lined up on store shelves, and I thought that it would be possible with amiibo! ~Norio Asakura
And so this concludes out mini-series looking at amiibo, and I hope that it was enlightening for you, as we were able to truly gain in-depth insights into the making and distribution of the figures from concept to capitalization. As I have stated before, whether you like them or not, you have to admit amiibo are a phenomenon that Nintendo didn’t necessarily see taking off as well as they did, but are incredibly needed for the company at this time!
As always, gaming is meant to be fun, so keep gaming!!
- Norio Asakuru – Character Design Group Software Planning & Development Department Nintendo Co., Ltd.