Melodie Hoke
Melodie Hoke | Digital Design & Art Direction

Uniqlo | Thoughtfold

Uniqlo is a Japanese clothing retailer whose ambition is to become the most useful company in the world. We were challenged to come up with a digital experience that would hijack an existing behaviour, making the brand part of its consumers' every day lives. Launch app demo. Launch microsite demo.

Role: concept development, art direction, design, animation

Agency: Razorfish.

Through the Thoughtfold app, users enter thought on a sheet of virtual origami paper, then watch as their thought folds into a paper crane and flies away in an augmented reality. They can photograph their crane as it flies, and opt to anonymously share that content with the Uniqlo Thoughtfold community.

To tie along with the Japanese legend of 1000 paper cranes, every 1000th person to use the app receives a shareable discount code delivered by a red paper crane.

As photographs from the Thoughfold app are shared, they generate content for the Thoughtfold microsite. Each crane tied along the string represents a thought that has been released. Every so often, the background changes to a different scene as the cranes fly away and are replaced with new ones, symbolizing that the Thoughtfold movement ties people together all around the world.

The goal of Thoughtfold is to attain a level of "shopping mall zen" for consumers. While Uniqlo cannot drastically change its consumers' everyday lives, the goal of this campaign is to add just enough visual interest to brighten someone's day in a small way. 1000 paper cranes are "hidden" in strategic places throughout the US: airport waiting gates, dirtied walls and even window boxes in the ground. These places are chosen because they will otherwise be overlooked, or even disliked, and the paper cranes serve as reminders that people can find pleasure even when least expected.

Thoughtfold is about making the ordinary beautiful. Places that may otherwise be considered mundane are refreshed with paper cranes and serene imagery. This bus stop, which now looks like a peaceful Japanese garden, turns commuting into a more tolerable experience.

To bring Thoughtfold to Uniqlo's brick-and-mortar presence, each paper bag shoppers take home contains perforation and instructions to turn the bag itself into a paper crane. This reinforces the overall theme of finding beauty in the ordinary.

Uniqlo runs a graphic t shirt line called "UT," where the brand often collaborates with artists and designers. As part of this campaign, there would be a Thoughtfold UT collection that features colorful paper cranes on the brand's clothing.

Uniqlo stores would be decorated with cranes made out of Uniqlo's fabrics, reinforcing the Thoughtfold concept as consumers shop.