Gehirn Inc. Representative Director Daiki Ishimori / Executive Director Takashi Nukaya



Best Font Chosen for Visibility

Gehirn Inc. is a security company that provides services in the three fields of “infrastructure,” “information security,” and “distribution of severe weather terminology” with a focus on security. In information security, the company performs pseudo-attacks on a test object to find vulnerability in a system, behavior and problems not assumed by developers, and submits an improvement plan for the issue. In distribution of severe weather terminology, the company began providing a service called “Special Service Agency NERV Disaster Prevention” in which various disaster prevention information, such as weather and typhoon forecasts, earthquake and tsunami news flashes, emergency warnings, etc. are provided in one application. In the “Special Service Agency NERV Disaster Prevention” application that recorded 270,000 downloads in one month after its release, the AXIS Font is employed. At Gehirn, the AXIS Font is employed as the corporate font, and is used in business cards, brochures, and drawing engines.

“As I fell in love with the AXIS Font at first sight, I didn’t hesitate to use it for the corporate font at the time of founding the company. When deciding the font for ‘Special Service Agency NERV Disaster Prevention,’ I also considered several other fonts, but they differed from the image we wanted to express. The designers and the development team also requested to use the AXIS Font. In the end, we all agreed that it would be the best font to be used,” says Representative Director Daiki Ishimori of Gehirn Inc.

Almost all of the approximately 20 employees at Gehirn are either designers or engineers, and all development is done in-house. Executive Director Takashi Nukaya, in charge of design and UI/UX, says: “In our business, we believe that we are the first users. Therefore, we only want to launch applications that we are satisfied with. In information security, we wanted to create the reports we wish to receive. In distribution of severe weather terminology, we wanted to create an application we wish to use. I have the strongest feeling regarding ‘value the user’s point of view.’ It is true that I was used to seeing the font in drawing engines, but the other fonts just didn’t match. I therefore wanted to employ the AXIS Font, which I liked from the very first sight, in the disaster prevention application.”

Daiki Ishimori (right)/Takashi Nukaya (left)

The “Special Service Agency NERV Disaster Prevention” application is a service for smartphones in which disaster prevention information is distributed at the fastest national level through cooperation with the Japan Meteorological Agency, so that severe weather terminology, such as earthquakes and tsunami, emergency warnings, landslide disasters, etc. can be accurately recognized in an area where damage is predicted. Considering the presence of its superiority over existing disaster prevention applications in terms of speed of providing information, usability, and design, Gehirn began developing the application.

“Crisis management is similar in both physics and information security. As it is a part for business continuity planning in information security, and a risk factor that cannot be omitted in disaster correspondence, the fields of information security and distribution service of severe weather terminology are connected. Disaster prevention information was distributed from an individual Twitter account called ‘Special Service Agency NERV’ for about eight years since the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. In the case of Twitter, nationwide information is transmitted from one account. To provide detailed information in a given area, push-based information distribution was considered, and the ‘Special Service Agency NERV’ application was developed.” (Ishimori)

To provide push notifications for emergency earthquake news flashes from the application, it is required to obtain permission for forecast operation from the Director-General of the Japan Meteorological Agency. Taking one month to create an application with the description of calculation formulas for releasing estimated earthquake arrival times and estimated earthquake intensity in a designated area, a dedicated line to the Japan Meteorological Agency was installed from the Japan Meteorological Business Support Center. According to Ishimori, it also took time to make a contract for critical alerts to sound emergency alerts even in manner mode.

“The Japan Meteorological Agency expects each individual to check information for their area when there is a warning, but that was not utilized in the present condition. With the ‘Special Service Agency NERV Disaster Prevention’ application, the area in danger can be understood in mesh units per 1 kilometer when there is landslide disaster warning information. Information too detailed to transmit on Twitter, such as an earthquake with an intensity scale of 1, etc., can be displayed only in relevant areas with the application.” (Ishimori)

Understanding an application as something close to a work of art that includes “artistic elements,” “technical elements,” as well as “philosophy,” Gehirn reflects its own philosophy in the “Special Service Agency NERV Disaster Prevention” application. Therefore, controlling design is prioritized without considering advertisement income as a business model for applications, and it is clarified in the terms of use for users that the application does not lead users to advertisements from other companies.

“Showing the most dangerous location in dark purple, etc., the application lets users analyze which areas are dangerous using colors. There is our philosophy in designing the application to let users access the necessary detailed information naturally without explanation.” (Ishimori)

Meaning “brain” in German, Gehirn comes from Evangelion. Fans of Evangelion, Ishimori and Nukaya changed the design of “Special Service Agency NERV Disaster Prevention” upon receiving official approval again when developing the application. The design surprised the development team.

“Although it hints at Evangelion, the design does not bring Evangelion to the forefront. As it is a disaster prevention application, there was a basic direction to use muted color with black as a basic color. As purple and red are warning colors, these colors are used only when required. The Japan Meteorological Agency and khara, Inc., which is the visual planning and production company of the Evangelion series, praised the design and AXIS Font as very easy to see and read.” (Nukaya)

It is reported that many users of the “Special Service Agency NERV Disaster Prevention” application say that it is very easy to read. “There were users who said ‘I downloaded the application because of the AXIS Font.’ The AXIS Font conveys a feeling of intelligence in itself, and stability due to its low center of gravity. Considering this font as the best for transmitting disaster prevention information due to high visibility, the AXIS Font was employed.” (Ishimori)

I have the strongest feeling regarding “value the user’s point of view.” We received feedback from the development team as the first users. It is like creating something together that we are satisfied with.

I believe that applications are close to works of art. Similar to the fact that giving opinions on paintings of Picasso and Monet does not achieve anything, instead of taking user requests, we prioritize our own philosophy.