President & Art Director
Born in Japan, Kuni is a graduate of Osaka University of Arts where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Over 18 years of experience in corporate and brand identities, brochures, image programs, promotions, packaging, websites, digital media, and spatial design. He recently worked with Hilton Grand Vacations creating marketing tools, brochures and a website for their Japan market. He also has worked with DFS Galleria Waikiki to help design their brochures and other forms of collateral catering to the Japanese market. Companies such as Hawaii Tourism Japan and Ito En USA called upon his digital media expertise in designing an official YouTube brand channel “HiTube”, and corporate Hawaii website. JTB Hawaii consulted his wide spectrum of design expertise when deploying their “Hi Bus” and “Oli Oli Walker” projects in which he directed all aspects of the total branding design and development from: branding design, character design, vehicle graphics, novelty goods, uniforms, etc. He also did the branding for Eco Town and Marukame Udon for their U.S. deployment. In addition, he did the corporate branding for Kujira Club, Washin Air, and Wincubic. Other projects include: product branding and packaging design for Sun Noodle, Royal Hawaiian Cookie and ITO EN USA; event branding for Japan Hawaii Culture Expo and 111-Hawaii Award; store branding for Hawaiian Sweet Potato Factory, BRUG and Kingyo Karaoke Lounge; branding for NPO groups such as Seiwajyuku Hawaii and Dojo RITAH. He is involved in many projects in a wide range of fields, such as the design production for the Babaʼs Coffee brand.
Kuni also worked as an art director for eight years at one of the biggest design firms in western Japan: AIDMA. His clients included some of Japan’s most prestigious companies such as Panasonic and NTT Group (largest telecommunication company in Japan). Uprooted in 2005, he came to Hawaii and joined CLD as vice president and established an international division in order to provide Japanese-related companies with high quality design services. He also established a web division which has enabled the office to effectively execute a total corporate identity program, encompassing integration of all three areas: graphic, environmental, and website design in both English and Japanese.
As CLD approached its 50th anniversary, Kuni founded the 111-HAWAII PROJECT, an officially certified project endorsed by Hawaii Tourism Japan. This idea spawned out of his deepest gratitude for Hawaii, as a way to try and give back to the local community. Working together with local businesses, he aims to develop stronger branded products that can be sold in Hawaii and revitalize the community while at the same time donating portion of the sales toward helping local non-profit organizations in Hawaii. In 2017, with the hopes of becoming a bridge between Hawaii and Japan, he launched the “111-HAWAII AWARD” along with three other Hawaii-based companies, which ranks local companies using an online voting system.
Member of the American Institute of Graphic Artists (AIGA)
Member of the Japan Graphic Designers Association (JAGDA)
Clarence Lee Design is listed as an example in the business book “The Internationalization of Japanese SMEs and Local for Global Innovation” (Author: Kentaro Yoshida). Please see the link below.
•The Internationalization of Japanese SMEs and Local for Global Innovation (2020 / JPN)