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Interview with Katsuya Arai

Home > Designer Interviews > Katsuya Arai

Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Katsuya Arai (KA) for A’ Design Awards and Competition. You can access the full profile of Katsuya Arai by clicking here.

Interview with Katsuya Arai at Tuesday 18th of November 2014
Katsuya Arai
FS: Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
KA: Since a young age I have loved painting and creating three-dimensional shapes, so I started going to art school early on.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
KA: Vateau is a team of about ten members who have expertise in graphic design. The members came from a company called DBS.

FS: What is "design" for you?
KA: For me, design means to communicate language through a visual medium.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
KA: I like designs that are conceptual and have a feeling of narrative. In terms of visual qualities, I like designs that are elaborate and lively.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
KA: I like designs that are conceptual and have a feeling of narrative. In terms of visual qualities, I like designs that are elaborate and lively.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
KA: The editorial design for the Japanese edition of Harper’s Bazaar.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
KA: Paper (rough.)

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
KA: When I get a feeling of typography.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
KA: I focus on making sure the design has a strong narrative. The concept should be central throughout the design process.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
KA: I find designing really fun!

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
KA: I develop a fondness for it as if it is my child.

FS: What makes a design successful?
KA: It has to have a strong narrative. The concept must be central throughout the design process. Designers must also place themselves in the position of the end user.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
KA: Does it have a strong narrative? Are there any elements that detract from the concept? Has the designer placed themselves in the position of the end user?

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
KA: To enhance functionality. To direct tone and manner.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
KA: I think in all types of media there will be more weight placed on social designs that target complex problems faced by society.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
KA: I am planning an exhibition in 2015.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
KA: I get inspiration when I go to art galleries and bookshops, but inspiration also comes to from things like every day scenery.

FS: How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
KA: For both methods and expression, I try to maintain a good balance between analogue and digital.

FS: Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
KA: I frequently visit places such Kyoto where you can feel the history of Japan – and yes these historical sites do influence my work.

FS: How do you work with companies?
KA: Basically it’s a give-and-take relationship. I respect the company for providing me a place where I can develop my potential further.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
KA: A relationship of mutual respect.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
KA: First of all, make sure you have grasped the essence of the matter and ensure that there is a strong narrative. Then establish the concept and ensure it remains the central part throughout the process.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
KA: Books, pens, chairs, lights, and cushions (textile)

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
KA: Wake up, play with the kids, leave for work, do work, return home, free time/ communicate with family, sleep.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
KA: Start by imitating, and then gradually establish your own identity.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
KA: On the positive side, the design field is getting larger and there are limitless possibilities for making a social contribution. As for the negative side, design work is often misunderstood as simply papering over the cracks.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
KA: The conflict between subjectivity and objectivity. Currently, I aim for a ratio of 3:7, which makes me arty enough without becoming too egotistical.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
KA: Power of discernment for capturing the essence of the matter and the skill to convey it fully.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
KA: Mac illustrator.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
KA: I carry out the tasks I need to do for the day in 30 minute timeslots. Also, I generally plan ahead.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
KA: It depends on the job, but the chain of processes from orientation to printing can last from one day to one year.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
KA: What I think about input and output.

FS: What was your most important job experience?
KA: Branding. Achieving a strong narrative – the thing I place most importance on. Sticking to the concept throughout. Putting myself in the position of the end user. Achieving a design that covers all these points.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
KA: The catalog for the movie Hagetaka. It all comes down to the techniques, but I learnt so many things about lettering.

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
KA: Branding. Having a strong narrative – the thing I place most importance on. Sticking to the concept throughout. Putting myself in the position of the end user. Achieving a design that achieve all these things.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
KA: I hope to be an art director who will ascertain the state of branding ten years in the future and twenty years in the future and provide something better.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
KA: Working in a team. It is exciting to see all the team members’ particular talents being utilized.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
KA: A CD jacket design. Sometimes it’s exciting to listen to do the music and let it inspire your artwork.

FS: How can people contact you?
KA: info@vateau.com


FS: Thank you for providing us with this opportunity to interview you.

A’ Design Award and Competitions grants rights to press members and bloggers to use parts of this interview. This interview is provided as it is; DesignPRWire and A' Design Award and Competitions cannot be held responsible for the answers given by participating designers.


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