The Kenwood triangle
PAOS' 1982 logo for Kenwood Japan
For many, and especially those in Great Britain, hearing the name ‘Kenwood’ will call to mind the counter mixers and kitchen appliances of Kenwood Manufacturing Company, founded by British engineer Kenneth Wood in 1947. In Japan, this is a different story.
The other Kenwood was founded in 1946 as ‘Kasuga Radio Co. Ltd.’ Located in Japan’s Nagano Prefecture the electronics company would later be renamed ‘Trio Corporation’ in 1960 – in recognition of its three founders. As part of an international expansion programme and following extensive research the name "Kenwood" was introduced into the American market in 1964 whilst retaining Trio throughout Japan and Great Britain.
It has been said, although we can’t confirm this, that the name was derived from the two words ‘ken’ and ‘wood.’ The former, a name familiar to both Japanese and Americans, and the latter referring to the durable wood casing of the company’s electronic products. It was also suggested that this would call to mind ‘Hollywood’. Somewhat poetic but a more a myth.
By the 1980s, Trio had earned itself a reputation as a worldwide leader in the manufacturing of high quality audio equipment, in addition to wireless communication devices and testing instruments. What held the company back, however, was its neglect of the consumer electronics market. By prioritising professional ‘tastes’ and requirements, Trio (now Kenwood in the US) was surpassed in sales by a growing number of competitors.
To address this, and move towards their goal of becoming “an exceptional electronics manufacturer”, a new corporate identity program was proposed in 1981. This involved dissolving the ‘Trio’ namesake (merging two brands into one) and developing a corporate image that would speak to a global market.
Keep reading to view the four proposals put forward by PAOS (ASICS, Noritiz, Daiei). Discover the technicals details behind the construction of the final design. And see how the design was implemented across packaging, signage and vehicle livery.