Corporate America, I choose you: Sebastiaan de With, founder of San Francisco agency Pictogram, has imagined the visual identities he might design if Pikachu, Charmander, Bulbasaur and friends went to business school and followed their entrepreneurial dreams.
"Since the Pokémon Corporate Personhood Act of 2015, as spearheaded by Professor Oak, Pokémon became free to start their own companies, mandating the design of Pokémon brand identities," de With writes on Pictogram’s website. "We were on the forefront of this radical development and designed several visual identities for Pokémon."
As a kid, like most of his generation, de With loved playing the Pokémon Gameboy game. "I lost untold amounts of hours trying to find Mew, ran into bizarre glitches like Missingno and such, and ever since, every few years, I still come back to the game and play it," de With tells Co.Design in an email. "Back in 2009, I had a shower thought of sorts of how Pokémon would be branded if they were companies. Things kind of escalated from there as a late night design project."
The names of these Japanese anime creatures really do sound like legitimate businesses: who wouldn't be tempted to buy clothing from an artisanal Brooklyn label called Cubone, or plant fertilizer from Bulbasaur, or long-burning matches from Charmander? The companies' missions stay true to each pocket monster founder's character: conductive mouse Pikachu makes "unparalleled beat computers and synthesizers" for electronic music artists; his logo is inspired by his lightning bolt tail. Hippie-dippy Oddish (you know, the radish Pokémon) started an organic farming collective in Maine and now advertises its hydroponic services on a sleek website. Tentacool sells celebrity-endorsed sunglasses. The identities are complete with the logos, stationery, business cards, and websites needed to defeat Team Rocket and other competitors.
Some of our favorite Pokémon have yet to get in on the innovation game: Where is Squirtle's diuretics company, or Snorlax's sleep-aid business, or Wigglytuff and Jigglypuff's co-owned chain of strip clubs? Still, we can’t wait to see these brands evolve.
Check out the full project, with company descriptions, here.