MUJI Lulls You to Sleep With Its Minimalistic New App

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MUJI, Japan’s super successful minimalistic “brandless-brand” has recently released a new app, MUJI to Sleep. It boasts a series of natural sounds to help induce a sound slumber, anytime, anywhere. The app is aesthetically awesome, free, boasts a tight design, and last but certainly not least, aids in perpetuating MUJI’s brand values. Other brands take note: this is how you do digital.

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The beginnings of MUJI date back to the early 1980’s, when it served as a generic supermarket brand. Since then the company has grown into a well-respected global name, encompassing a huge variety of goods, everything from housewares to fashion. “Muji” is short for “Mujirushi Ryohin” or “brandless quality goods.”

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If you’re familiar with MUJI then you can see the irony in this; MUJI’s “brandless” has become quite the well-known brand. In recent years they’ve expanded out of Asia and into European and North American markets, having seduced design-centric crowds, their wares even sold in MoMA. MUJI to Sleep seeks to continue the brand’s successful trend of function meets natural simplicity.

 

In an ever-increasing digital world, it’s hard to keep electronics out of the bed, even when we know we’re not supposed to. But MUJI’s sleep app defies this logic, using the sounds of nature on your smartphone or tablet to make drifting off easier. It’s a very niche app, thus the interface and design is refreshingly simple and straightforward. You swipe through six calming sounds of nature: seaside waves, tweeting birds, kindling fire, a stream, forest, and waterfall.

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Every sound was recorded on-location, in Japan, using head-shaped binaural microphones to closely duplicate the experience of actually being within the setting. This technique creates an audio frequency gap between the left and right ear that syncs with the user’s brainwave cycle to encourage sleep. Each sound can be set to a timer of 30, 60, or 90 minutes.

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This app couldn’t fit any better within the MUJI family. The brand has risen to popularity precisely because of its refined products and tidy stores, which ultimately offer a bastion of calm. MUJI to Sleep reinforces this association with its minimalistic design and simple, yet functional use. The app is clearly a brand-builder, but doubles as a product-seller too.

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Accompanying MUJI to Sleep is a fantastic microsite that demonstrates the app’s use when paired with one of the company’s most popular products, the Well-Fitted Neck Cushion. The app appears to have been created to supplement the cushion’s effectiveness (and that of other other MUJI products too). The two compliment each other so well that you feel like you can’t own one without the other, effectively creating need and consequently moving product off the shelves.

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This isn’t MUJI’s first foray into the digital; the company has successfully released other apps that work congruent to their physical offerings. It’s an effective means of digital advertising and marketing—I don’t feel like I’m being worked over by the brand as they’re offering me functional experiences to enhance my living.

“MUJI to Sleep” is available now for both iOS and Android devices. Sweet dreams and happy snoozing.

Nick Partyka

August 25, 2014 / By

‘The Endangered Song’ with Portugal. The Man is Saving Tigers by Going Extinct

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Can creativity change the world? Advertising agency DDB NY would like to think so, as demonstrated in their new campaign for the Smithsonian National Zoo, the Endangered Song. In an effort to spread awareness of the less than 400 Sumatran Tigers left in the world, the two teamed up with rock band Portugal. The Man to manufacture and record a song. Not just any ol’song, but one created to go extinct, unless digitally reproduced. It’s a wholly clever solution, reminding us of creativity’s importance and influence. I was afforded the opportunity to pick the brains of the two creatives behind it all to find out more. Continue reading this post…

Nick Partyka

May 2, 2014 / By

Stunning Air France Ads are Ready for Take Off

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This week, Air France unveils its new campaign, “Air France, France is in the air.” The French agency behind it all, BETC, has slowly but surely been revealing the campaign with a series of posters. Featuring the amazing photography of Sofia & Mauro, bold design, and palettes to make any color-lover swoon, it’s a strong move in the right direction for the brand, and a reminder that advertising’s not so bad when it’s beautiful.

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Nick Partyka

April 3, 2014 / By

ADC’s ‘Blood, Sweat and Tears’ Celebrates the Craziness That Comes With Being A Creative

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The Art Directors Club annual Portfolio Night is fast approaching—a “global portfolio and recruitment event” for young advertising creatives (or, in my experience, an evening of industry canoodling and general debauchery). The campaign surrounding this year’s event has aptly been titled “Blood, Sweat and Tears.” A theme any creative can no doubt relate to. 12 typographic executions have been created by 12 different designers, each reflecting a personal interpretation of the aforementioned phrase.

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Nick Partyka

March 5, 2014 / By

The Academy Behind the Oscars Gets a New Identity

Academy-Rebrand-1 With the Oscars around the corner, a new identity for the Academy that’s behind it all couldn’t have come at a better time. While the Academy might be synonymous with the film industry, they seriously lack a visual representation and often get lumped in with their iconic effigy. California based agency, 180LA, set about bringing the Academy from the shadows and literally into the spotlight, introducing a modern identity of pure class. A rebranding that manages to reach for the future without forgoing the decades of history under the Academy’s wings. Continue reading this post…

Nick Partyka

January 13, 2014 / By

New York City Ballet Art Series presents JR

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New year, new New York City Ballet Art Series. Following the success of last year’s offering (featuring FAILE), NYCB has enlisted the talents of renowned artist and self-proclaimed “photograffeur,” JR. An annual offering that aims at introducing a new generation to the entertainment of ballet, the Art Series has established itself as one of the cities’ must-see attractions and offers a new way to experience a night at the ballet. Other than that, why else should you be interested in attending? Every audience member receives a take-away specially created by the artist.

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Nick Partyka

January 8, 2014 / By

NYC Ballet’s New Beginnings is the Most Moving 9/11 Tribute You’ve Ever Seen

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The other week marked September 11th’s twelfth anniversary. A moment in history that will no doubt live on in the minds and hearts of Americans. Yet, I can’t help but get the impression that its legacy is dwindling. Probably for the better, it seems most opt to quietly remember as opposed to making a big deal of it all. As writer Robert Frost famously once said, “in three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” While some may have carried forward, New York City Ballet has not. Or have they? In a poetic homage titled New Beginnings, the company staged and filmed a performance atop 4 World Trade Center. The result is touching. It’s poetic, poignant even. I cannot stress this enough: it’s the perfect 9/11 tribute, harkening Frost’s aforementioned sentiment.

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Nick Partyka

September 26, 2013 / By

Interview with an Art Director: Sue Murphy of Ogilvy & Mather

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I can’t remember how I first met Designer and Art Director Sue Murphy but it was some time ago; and every now and then I check back on her work to see what she’s up to and find her in a different country. Born in Ireland she’s since racked up a fair share of air miles studying in Savannah, working in Amsterdam and of right this moment working as an Art Director for Ogilvy and Mather in New York. To begin this series of Creative Interviews I thought who better to begin with than the freckly, funny and flighty Sue.

She was also kind enough to takes some snaps of the office in New York and comment on them. I always love seeing these sorts of places, I can’t quite explain why but I find it interesting to see the environment that great work is created in.

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Michael Arnold

September 4, 2013 / By

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