Monokuro Boo


When you’re in Guangzhou, China it doesn’t take very long to get the feeling that Monokuro Boo, a character brand consisting of a pair of minimalist cartoon pigs (one black, one white), has just usurped Hello Kitty as the pop icon of choice for the locals. Monokuro Boo has taken over Chinese fashion accessories, umbrellas, shower caps, windshields, pillows and any other thing with a fairly flat or round surface. Three main reasons for this:

  1. the pigs are quite cute,
  2. they’re simple to draw and can therefore be drawn on anything,
  3. they’re simple to replicate and can therefore be pirated by anybody.

The case of Monokuro Boo in China brings up some interesting issues for minimalism in China. The art and challenge in minimalism is the representation of an object with the least amount of detail as possible. Minimalism is all about stripping something down to its fundamental core. In real world practice this usually means that while this is very difficult creative work, the physical manifestation of it is both beautiful and very easy to copy.Monokuro Boo’s tagline is “simple is best.” But… will piracy change this sentiment?

PSFK: Pirates Love Sanrio Pigs

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2 thoughts on “Monokuro Boo

  1. Lily

    On my last visit to china for JetPens, I saw that there were replicas of everything – from Hello Kitty to Monokuro Boo to popular Korean brands. I think it’s not just simple designs that are targeted, but profitable ones. All types of fashion are open to piracy, including Polo shirts, Gucci purses, etc. I even came across copied patterns from Ikea on bedspreads in the wholesale marts.

    The barriers to piracy are still the technology and quality of a product. The copied Pilot Hi-Tec-C pens in China are no where close to the quality you can find in the original.

    But what can you do? China is only hurting itself by focusing on “copies” rather than originals.

    Btw, the character products on are all originals from Japan. 🙂


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