One day when unsuspectingly buying a common Japanese duct tape at the local Conbini, we glimpsed at the roll‘s inner surface for the first time consciously: There it was, quite a cool logo and a unique font of vibrant purple and orange caught our eyes! Surely, a simple brown paper tube would do, and the plastic packaging of the tape was rather dull by comparison. So, why all the hassle to make such a great pattern, only to be hidden inside an ordinary tube? Today PingMag finds out more about this other side of gaffer taper art.
Written by Ryoko
Translated by Kevin Mcgue
Having a closer look at the tape market in Japan, we discovered a wide variety of bright designs. One that especially caught our eye was duct tape from Teraoka Tape:
Another simple and not too assertive dashing design comes from Nichiban, known for making adhesive bandages and other medical products. The company was founded in the early 20th century, and its classic logo design has not changed since:
A very handsome light blue with white contrast for a logo design from Nitto Denko…
…and a similar striped pattern (including a house) in different colours by Nitoms.
The Diatex logo in calm marine tones comes in nice diagonals.
And interesting coloured blocks forming a pattern for Cemedine.
One of our favourites is duct tape from Sliontec with a simple white logo on a red background. The “O” in the Sliontec logo resembles a roll of tape in use, making no qualms about its sole interest. To find out why there is actually a tape role design in the first place, we talked with Yoshihiro Tamura of the Sliontec sales team:
“Once you take your tape out of the package and throw that away, you no longer know what brand tape it is,” Mr. Tamura explained. “So, the inner surface of the cardboard roll is the only part of the product that is visible while the product is used. And, of course, manufacturers want to take advantage of this space to assert their brand name. For example, if one of our products is used on TV and the inside of the roll is shown even for a tiny moment on screen, people would know that it is from our company. Actually, we used to use a lion logo, but now we are using the company name.”
Sliontec’s previous logo design with the little lion silhouette mark. Courtesy of Sliontec.
Yes, of course! Companies brand themselves with the space they have available. Yoshihiro Tamura told us something more: “In Japan, duct tape is referred to as gum tape, but around the world it is called cloth adhesive tape, or craft tape if it is made out of paper. Gum tape is actually a kind of tape that has to be moistened before being used – like a postage stamp. Even though it is incorrect, I say gum tape when talking to people, otherwise they wouldn’t know what I am talking about.”
Now that he has mentioned it, there really are lots of types of tapes available at art supply stores and hardware stores! We checked out some cloth-based and paper-based tapes and found their looks, and stickiness, were all quite different.
Feel the surface: A sturdy tape with embedded cloth fibres…
… and a paper-based craft tape.
Colourful vinyl-based tapes.
Rolls of craft tape with images of plywood and brick walls printed on them.
“In the tape industry, we talk about the tack and stickiness of tape,” Tamura explains further. “The tack can be tested by gently pressing a finger to the tape and seeing how gummy it is. The stickiness is the strength with which the tape actually adheres to a surface.”
Lesson 1: One way to test the “tack” or gumminess of tape is with a gentle touch of the finger. Courtesy of Sliontec.
Lesson 2: To test the stickiness, stick the tape to a smooth surface and try to rip it off. Courtesy of Sliontec.
Looking into the world of tape for this article, we discovered tape in a wide colour range, such as for example pink and light blue. Tape as decoration is not only finding its way into window displays for some shops. As we showed you recently with gaffer taper art, there are more artists who use tape as medium:
Next time you look inside a duct tape roll and spot a cute pattern, let us know, please!