Ideas, tips and reports about event display construction and management

Print media II – Germany and Japan

by welkamro

In the first part of this series, we became acquainted with different types of print media. So, lets see how it looks in Japan. If you are one of those persons who likes to think in stereotypes, maybe thinking Japanese booklets and flyers are full of colors, manga and kitsch, I can tell you: Of course you are right!

But what about stereotypes about German people? The idea of an over-punctual but serious and humorless nation is nearly the opposite of the Japanese stereotypes.
Why do I tell you about stereotypes? Well, every stereotype has a bit of truth, and you can see it when you compare German and Japanese print media.
Of course, there are tons of different ways to create a flyer or a booklet, so every print media looks different, but for my theory I will choose a booklet from a wood manufacture as a sample – a German and a Japanese one.

So, I started to flip through the booklet, but something was wrong: Why do they not print the companies name on the cover? And why is the first page number 21? No, this is too confusing for a foreigner like me. Traditionally, you start reading Japanese books from the front backwards. But thats quite unusual for a booklet, even if its a Japanese one. Then I saw the reason: This booklet IS a manga comic, from the first up to the last page.
The information about the product are wrapped in a little „story“, often they use some real pictures between the drawn ones. Everything is very colorful and drawn in a typical Japanese way – and so we come back to our stereotypes. This booklet looks just „Japanese“.

Lets take a look at the German booklet. This one has more photos, but also some little drawings, where you can see the shapes of some buildings and also some people. But they are not so colorful, they are more like a silhouette. The whole booklet looks more colorless, more simply and just...serious. So, it is true: The German booklet looks not so fun.

This comparison is of course just a sample, every booklet looks different. Anyway, it shows a tendency how different the two countries work. If there was a manga comic in a German booklet, many (older) people would think that it is „childish“ or „ridiculous“. But in Japan, comics are read by every age, it is quite normal.

You can see this tendency not just in booklets, you can also see it on flyers (taking into account that German flyers are also quite colorful sometimes) or catalogs. In Japan, many things are more „crazy“ or dainty. But that is something that the Japanese are proud of.
They just like to be different.

the Welkam boys Kojichu, Japanese for 'under construction,' is an ongoing notebook of ideas, tips and discoverys we've picked up over the years building displays and managing events around the world.

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