We, as the Designer Interviews ("DI") had the distinct pleasure and opportunity to interview award-winning, most creative and innovative Akihito Shimizu ("AS").

Designer Profile of Akihito Shimizu

Born in Osaka Prefecture in 1983. After graduating from the faculty of economics at Kansai University, I got a job at a bank. After going through the design office,such as advertisement, signs, display, Established LEADER based in Nishinomiya-shi, Hyogo Prefecture. For Company, Store, Product branding, C.I, V.I plan, logo design, Package, sign planning, poster, advertisement, promotion tool, Visual planning and construction of display, website etc., Work on graphic design production through all media. Currently, Nishinomiya is also active in regional brand development activities,design creation, lectures,regional event management and exhibition planning. Member of Japan Graphic Design Association (JAGDA) Member of Designers Association (DAS)

Akihito Shimizu Designs

We are pleased to share with you original and innovative design work by Akihito Shimizu.

Terra Branding

Akihito Shimizu Design - Terra Branding

Designer Interview of Akihito Shimizu:

DI: 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?

AS : My former profession was a bank clerk. Bankers support management in terms of accounting, but they do not have the means to communicate visually for consumers. I became a designer because I thought that if I acquired graphic design technology, I would be able to support the brand of a company or product from both management and design approaches.

DI: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?

AS : V.I.plans, symbols and logos related to branding of companies and organizations,Promotional tools for sign planning, packaging, advertising, etc. in architecture and space,Exhibition / display planning and construction, WEB, etc.Incorporating design perspectives and thinking into management through various media。 We practice the design of essential visual communication. Participation in the establishment of local communities, for regional and administrative issues,Lectures and recommendations for practical solutions using design methods,Teamwork and exhibition planning with artists active in Japan and overseas We are actively doing it.

DI: What is "design" for you?

AS : I think it is one of the important communication techniques. Whether or not it is visualized as a result, finding the intrinsic value and appeal of the client and maximizing it visually cannot always be achieved without honest face-to-face contact between the client and the designer. Design is not a method of self-expression, but a strategic method that always plays a role of promotion for clients, so not only graphics but also various designs and trends in different fields, consumers' thoughts and actions are grasped on a daily basis. You need to keep it. In a nutshell, design is a fortune.

DI: What kinds of works do you like designing most?

AS : I like everything about design so much that I can't narrow down to a particular genre, but I dare to say that I really like graphic design works and their roles in fashion brands. A message-like visual communication expression that constantly requires change and clarity in the environment where brand logo, tradition and innovation, maintenance and innovation are inherently clearly stated. The required expression must always be clear The structure itself is very interesting.

DI: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?

AS : I like NIKE's branding design and visual communication the most. Not only products and designs covering all generations and categories, advertising development, graphic design, but all promotions are exciting. There is also a marketing strategy that constantly acquires new customers across generations by making things according to the background of the times, the history and tastes of people, coexisting advanced and past heritage, and skillfully developing products. It's great, but everything is named after the goddess of victory, and the story of the logo at the time of its founding is a dream story that is indispensable when talking about the brand.

DI: What was the first thing you designed for a company?

AS : The brand logo design. Since it is related to all designs, I did not include words that indicate a specific area such as graphics.

DI: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?

AS : I like paper and printing techniques the most. The joy of leaving it as a substance and the portability of having it at hand seem to make the smallest building, and I think it is a very fun platform.

DI: When do you feel the most creative?

AS : It's rewarding when clients are satisfied, consumers are satisfied, and the number of regular customers called brand fans increases, but the momentary impression is the moment when something can always be impressed.

DI: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?

AS : An important point to focus on in the first place is "the potential value of the client and the distance from the current user". Once you know the true value and the distance from the user's needs, you will be able to see the challenges that you must face. It is important to know the distance first because it is fun to drive inside the car (inner branding) and the time to the goal is optimized if you make a vehicle suitable for the distance and drive while incorporating various creative methods.

DI: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?

AS : I think it's important to stay calm because my personal feelings are aimed at being beautiful and smart. Depending on the work, it may be influenced by positive emotions such as joy, fun, and wonder, but it is still important to keep calm at the end of the work because there is always a calm confirmation process.

DI: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?

AS : It's joy and tension. When the design begins to develop realistically, the joy that is hard to change spreads in my heart.

DI: What makes a design successful?

AS : Unless various environments and conditions are met, a single promotion or design cannot solve the problem. The key is the client-designer relationship, business decisions, trends, and timing. If any one is missing, it becomes a weak point and hinders the progress of brand development later. Of course, there are many cases where the project is carried out while correcting the trajectory, but if the timing is missed, it often leads to a big loss, so the courage of the manager is tested at the same time as the challenge of the designer. Last but not least, it is important to plan your goals (big goals, small goals).

DI: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?

AS : At the store, it is important for users to pick it up, but the premise is how the product is needed by people and the earth. Since visual communication such as graphics is a technique that plays a linguistic role (translational), it is important to carry out consistent design from manufacturing to distribution, sales to consumption, so the philosophy and philosophy of the brand. , Be sure to consider your actions.

DI: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?

AS : I think it is to create something that is kind to people, society, the earth, and loved for a long time without any load.

DI: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?

AS : From my own profession and point of view, two-dimensional things are expanding three-dimensionally (or beyond), so I think they will evolve into a world that transcends the boundaries of fields. In reality, in medical care, environment, education, social issues, research, architecture, etc., not only flat parts but sometimes three-dimensional, interactive expressions are required, so in the future, designs that combine expressions from all fields will be created. I think it will increase.

DI: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?

AS : The last exhibition was held in February 2021 by a group exhibiting greeting cards made by famous designers from all over Japan. Next is exactly "A'Design Award"? It will be.

DI: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?

AS : Everything you see with your eyes and feel with your skin is the source of inspiration, information, and is transformed into more three-dimensional information through people. The best way to feed is to go out a lot and meet and interact with many people, which is the most exciting and imaginative starting point.

DI: 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?

AS : I can't say it in a word, but since I have a career as a bank clerk, I can think cross-cuttingly because the management perspective and the way of thinking about the economy are areas that the arts and design fields cannot have. I think that is my excellent ability and my own style. The approach is to confirm the two points of "having a fun dream" and "knowing the reality".

DI: 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?

AS : I live in Osaka, Japan. Japan's cultural heritage is a very important asset that always makes you aware of your identity as a Japanese, but it has become the history of the country, and the road to the present age has changed significantly before and after the war (Westernization). Japan longs for the West, and I feel that it is a challenge for many Japanese people, including myself, to not know about Japan. It is very complicated that the strengths and weaknesses always coexist, but since it is a country where information is very easy to gather in terms of knowing the world, while learning the history and traditions unique to Japan, you can get information on advanced and future thinking of other countries. Japan that can be obtained is very convenient.

DI: How do you work with companies?

AS : Work with all companies, including the areas in which you act. This is because a person cannot live alone as long as there is a definition of existence of self and others.

DI: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?

AS : What if I was the owner of the client? What if you were an employee? What if you were a fan of that brand? I think it is important to ask many questions and propose the answers through design. If you keep thinking about what you can do for someone and come up with an answer that only that person can think of, that would be one of the reasons for choosing. I think a good designer is someone who can talk and is interested in people.