a lifestyle brand that inspires hard work through performance boosting products.
speculative design on the glorification of occupational burnout through the lens of a mirror.
Work until your hands bleed.
Karōshi is a brand that pushes you to be your ultimate through advances in science and smart design. It’s for balls-to-the-walls hard workers and only the few that’ve proven themselves dedicated enough to work even harder. Through entire-day food supplements and streamlined awakening agents that replace caffeine, this is a brand for those who work hard and want to become even better.
It’s a satire — a brand that exists in a very near future of overwork (if not already here). This was made with the intention of criticizing the glorification of overwork and occupational burnout. Through selling fictional products which inspire people to push the limits of their body to work harder, Karōshi sports a hyperbolic tone. Although the treatment is unironic, the entire is purposefully uncomfortably diet-dystopian.
Karōshi is a reflection of the always-on and never satisfied attitude common in overwork culture.
The entirety of the brand revolves around the concept of “raising the bar” since over-ambition and high expectations are the first step to burning out (with suicide, the last step). Using this, Karōshi positions itself as the catalyst in a person’s journey (to greatness or otherwise).
The bar derives from the ōin Karōshi (Japanese for “excess labour death” or “death by overwork”) and is truncated into a simple logo mark. It translates across all visuals as the standard we all want to be above, while constantly trying to raise it beyond our reach. It’s a struggle between always wanting to be better while never letting ourselves be good enough to be satisfied.
The patterning was influenced by Razzle Dazzle, a WW1 boat camouflaging technique, chosen thematically to be used in Karoshi for its disruptive/distorting properties and tense hectic aesthetic.
Designing Products and Packaging
Karōshi's products were all designed to mimic some form of real life solution people undergo in order to make time for work. More information can be found when hovering over the product above.
They were created simplistically for the Karōshi brand, in sleek black and white to complement any desk environment. More information on the products themselves can be seen on the Karōshi Part 2 page.
The packaging was a merge between packaging for electronics and jewelry. This resulted in a combination of velvet, 3d renders, and minimal text. All the products had one side covered in a unifying dazzle pattern, creating a unique and startling packaging treatment.
Pictured is the Dos: bullet. All the hand-made packaging featured the same treatment of a fitted velvet inside, wrapped in book cloth and a custom pattern. The Dos series was 3D printed for prototyping purposes although the other products (Stack pills and Ping picture frames) had generic placeholders.