A few months before discovering one of my new favorite movies, ZAZIE DANS LE METRO, I received a gift from my Japanese friend Yasushi: a set of four DVDs he had helped produce for IMAGICA in Japan; their The Louis Malle Collection, with cover and package illustrations by 100% ORANGE. Beloved in Japan, 100% ORANGE has produced countless iconic illustrated works, books and posters, and all week long I'll be sharing their work on this blog. First, enjoy this example of DVD-package-design perfection.
Famous for their illustrations of children, the Japanese illustration powerhouse known as 100% ORANGE was a perfect match for the films of Louis Malle, which often explore themes and stories of childhood (above: their cover for AU REVOIR LES ENFANTS). Yasushi tells me the initial idea was to commission Mr. Kenji Oikawa, the man behind the 100% ORANGE moniker, to illustrate the ZAZIE cover alone; it was art director Kasumi Takemoto who insisted that all four Malle covers should get the ORANGE treatment. Designer Kiyoshi Tsukamoto beautifully tied the packages together, which all feature custom liner notes, reversible covers, and best of all, fold-out posters of each cover inside each title (I am getting my ZAZIE poster framed as I type this). Having worked on DVD packages myself, I can say that package design doesn't get much nicer than this. On the back of the ZAZIE poster, for example, is a beautifully laid-out "ZAZIE A to Z" index written by author and critic Mikado Koyanagi. The first entry, for AMELIE, interestingly points out that though Zazie herself could pass in your imagination as a child-version of Audrey Tautou's heroine of Montmartre, director Jeunet had never seen Malle's film completely. More on AMELIE and 100% ORANGE later this week...
Need icing on the cake? How about the custom-cut stickers on each DVD cover, each featuring a miniature thumbnail of the film's original poster? Or, you can look for these illustrations on companion t-shirts in Tokyo shop windows. A suberb branding for this series, and a perfect match of filmmaker and illustrator.
Thanks to Yashishi and Kasumi for these translations and for allowing me to share these images with US readers. Here are the other covers, for Malle's ELEVATOR TO THE GALLOWS and MILOU IN MAY (MAY FOOLS).
This begins a week-long celebration of the illustrated work of 100% ORANGE. Stay tuned for more posts each day this week. For two beautifully-laid out compendiums of 100% ORANGE illustration, each art objects in their own right, find a copy of these two titles: ILLUSTRATION WORK: GOOD SMILE and the "100% ORANGE A to Z" issue of Pooka magazine: