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Interview with Katsunari Shishido

Home > Designer Interviews > Katsunari Shishido

Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Katsunari Shishido (KS) for A’ Design Award and Competition. You can access the full profile of Katsunari Shishido by clicking here.

Interview with Katsunari Shishido at Saturday 2nd of May 2020
Katsunari Shishido
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?
KS: As a student, I was influenced by street culture such as skateboarding, graffiti and dance and became interested in graphic visual posters.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
KS: I do art direction and design by myself, but I also do branding, naming, logo development, store design, illustration, and web design with my light footwork. We also plan and produce events regardless of genre, such as organizing.

FS: What is "design" for you?
KS: Design is an integral part of our lives, enriching us and making us indispensable. Design is made up of love.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
KS: One of my favorite designs is a simple look that incorporates a variety of concepts. In other words, it's a logo.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
KS: I'm sorry. There are too many nice designs to answer. Of course, I love my designs.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
KS: It's the name of my design office, Cocodoru. The Japanese version of Heart Dancing expresses heart as “Cocoro" and dancing as “Odoru", and it is a coined word combining the two languages, a naming that does not yet exist in the world.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
KS: That's when I made a new discovery. From the words to the motifs, to the layout of the text, to the coloring, it's when I was able to create my own originality.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
KS: We focus on the concepts and themes before the production.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
KS: It's exciting. It's always exciting and fun to design your own ideas.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
KS: It makes you feel alive. Not all progress is going to be successful under trial and error and difficult to achieve circumstances. The design that was completed after that arduous process is equivalent to shaving a soul.

FS: What makes a design successful?
KS: It's a matter of whether or not you can create a design that will be completed and loved by the people who come after it.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
KS: It's about conveying the concept without any superfluous things.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
KS: Regardless of the size of my role, can I make the community, the small things and the important people around me happy with my design? I think about this on a daily basis. I feel that designers have a role to play in making people happy and taking care of the earth.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
KS: Because we look at things from different angles, we can sometimes find small discoveries and unlikely connections. I think the design was born with that flexible 360-degree view.

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?
KS: I don't have a design theory because I didn't work for a company and spent my days learning and experimenting with design on my own. This makes it possible to create challenging designs in a unique way. And I only make designs that I enjoy.

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?
KS: I was born and raised in Japan. We are heavily influenced by our Japanese predecessors' designers. National treasures such as Katsushika Hokusai, Ogata Korin, and Ito Jakuchu are at the core of my work, with bold and delicate graphic design that is unimaginably old-fashioned. While I feel that the level of delicate production techniques in Japan is excellent, I feel that it is inferior to other countries in terms of major changes and bold differences.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
KS: I don't use computers or other foots in the early stages of production. I compile my thoughts in notebooks and draw ideas and plans, and sometimes the notebooks serve as a proposal and are presented to the client. Only after we have a sense of direction for the project do we use a computer to share a completed image with the client. And spend a lot of time brushing up.

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
KS: Condition your body and mind for more meaningful time and reflection. It starts with morning stretching/yoga, and meditation is a must. I take a break once an hour, refresh myself with my favorite chocolate and coffee, and use all of my day for work and thinking time.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
KS: The good thing is that it gives you the ability to think. The bad part is that I look at the negative side of everything. People who are with me tend to think of me as a negative person because I tend to observe the negative aspects of services and things in the world, such as how I would think about them or what could be improved.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
KS: I think it's the ability to pump it out. How is the content of the request linked to society and how is it circulated and used by people? I think that design is not just about making things, but also about the structure.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
KS: I use Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop as my main software, and I manage everything on my Mac. I've had a plain Moleskine notebook for years and keep all the things, plans, and ideas from my notes in that notebook. Inspiration comes from carrying a compact camera and recording it. My favorite camera is Ricoh's GR.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
KS: Prior to production, we propose a design that is close to the finish in the sketching and planning stages, taking as much time as possible to enhance the finished product. Within that, the production schedule is managed in hourly increments.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
KS: At the time of the idea, the rough sketch, the object is roughly formed. However, it takes quite a few days to brush up.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
KS: Where do the sensations and ideas come from? When do you think about it? I often get the question, "What do you think? Incidentally, the way to answer this question is that ideas and designs don't come about by chance, so it's something I'm always thinking about.

FS: What was your most important job experience?
KS: I didn't have a client to start with. I took the work from the people close to me and went to the present. That's why I value each project, not the company or the size of the project, so each one is an experience.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
KS: We mainly work with clients for branding, but we also provide logo and visual design services for new businesses, start-ups, company foundations, and brand development.

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
KS: The best part is the pre-process of creating a design. With a goal without an answer, how do we find a theme, solidify the concept as such, and what approach can we take to come up with as a design? I have the most fun when I'm working on a logo.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
KS: I want to be involved in creativity for the rest of my life. When the time comes for me to retire as a designer, I want to set up a learning space where I can spread the creative mindset.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
KS: I basically do everything from direction to design by myself. Depending on the case, a team may be formed.

FS: How can people contact you?
KS: You can contact me through my web site.


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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