“The packaging design for N, a new sake produced by Nakata Hidetoshi, a former star of the Japanese national soccer team and made by long-established sake brewery Takagi Shuzo, known for its ‘Juyondai’ line. N is made with Yamadanishiki and Aiyama rice varieties, and each grain is polished down to only 35%, making it an extremely high quality sake. As befits such a carefully crafted product, N is produced in a limited edition of only 900 bottles and embodies Nakata’s hopes that the attraction of Japanese culture might be expressed to the world. Nakata requested a bottle that shields its contents from ultraviolet rays and use a shape not ordinarily used for sake; we responded with a matte black cylinder like a stick of charcoal. The cap is made by spinning aluminum into its tubular form on a lathe, and the labels kept to the absolute minimum. The slightest of dimples are set into the surface so that the bottle sits well in the hand when poured. Our design stressed the easy, unaffected and very Japanese aesthetic of these details and the care that invites people to simply sit down with the delicious sake.” Photos: Hiroshi Iwasaki.