Digesting Design

Graniph Design Award Exhibition

Posted in Exhibitions by Paul on August 8, 2009



I’m back in London and trying to adjust back to a non-Japanese life, but to help prevent it for a bit, I headed on down to KK Outlet on Thursday evening to check out the Graniph Design Award exhibition that is now on show. I met up with the Japanese based t-shirt company in June whilst I was in Tokyo and have been in contact with them since, so it was nice to see some exposure for the company over in London.

The exhibition featured winners from this years design awards run by Graniph and included artists from South Korea, China, Dubai, Denmark and the UK. The exhibition also featured a small competition where visitors could create a new t-shirt design and the winning person would receive all the t-shirts on show at the exhibition. I was interviewed for KK TV, a new concept by the agency about my favourite t-shirt of the exhibition so I will post the video up as soon as I track it down.

Check out all the winning designs on Graniph’s website here. All the photos from the opening evening can be seen on KK Outlet’s Flickr page here.




Wieden+Kennedy Tokyo Review

Posted in Internships by Paul on August 3, 2009



I’ve now finished with Wieden+Kennedy and just about Tokyo as well, I head back to London on tuesday. I’m very very sad to be leaving the team, as I’ve had such a fantastic time, working really hard and learning lots from working closely with the creative director, Eric. The book I have been working on since I started, is now just about ready for printing with a final approval and paper choices to be made now. The web work is completed, and I will be finishing off the mobile project and T-shirt back in London which is great newsEric has taught me a lot about refining work to make it look the best it can be, as well thinking conceptually throughout the design process. He has been there and done that, so it’s been a interesting learning experience by a great mentor.

The W+K Tokyo team are a fantastic bunch of people to work with, all from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines which makes up the Tokyo melting pot, full of energy, creativity and a hybrid mix. So a massive thanks goes out to Eric of course, and everyone else; Sumiko, Jose, Kumiko, Naoki, Shingo, Hiromi, Akio, Phil, Andrew, Kenji, Yoshi, Shun, Yuko, Yumiko, Trish, John, Yohei, Tomoko, Mae, Kuki, Yuko, Shig, Keiko, Shane, Genki, Takeshi, Mark, Dai, Jorta, Shuhei, Michiyo, Yoko, Ayumi, Kanako, Nagisa, Chucky, Emily, Mag, Shinji and the other interns Andrea, Erika and Bobby for making my time at W+K so enjoyable. Apologies for everyone else, I’m good with names, but not that good.

July itself started off very quickly as I helped out on an all nighter which was a good experience to go through, even though I wasn’t of much help, I did a few bits here and there. This was then followed by the CLASKA Flea Market which I posted about at the beginning of the month. July kept up it’s pace, with the last two weeks, being long work hours, but worth it. Other highlights of the month have included when GRAPH came in. GRAPH are a design and printing company who specialise in high end printing techniques and production and brought in some amazing examples of work they have designed, as well as printing methods examples. Everything from heat sensitive paper for hair styling products to a book embedded into a cardboard holder. GRAPH gave W+K as well as myself some inspiration for further projects and showed just how far you can push printing and finishing techniques.



Then on the thursday just gone, we had the W+K Tokyo Summer Party. The Tokyo based radio station, OUTTANET Radio broadcast live from the 4th floor as everyone hit the roof for beers and an amazing Japanese style BBQ; 8 beers later I headed back down to my desk to finish up some work! Check out the blog posts about the BBQ here and OUTTANET here.

So I’ve learnt loads being with W+K, and soaked up the culture of Tokyo as much as I could of since being here at the beginning of May. I will definitely be coming back in the near future and I wish everyone in the team the very best until I see them all again. Eric also gave me the W+K LAB Tokyo Ten and New Tokyo Life Style Think Zone books as a thank you and I left everyone a box of Yorkshire Tea and a book on how to be British (most of the time no one could understand what I was saying). You can see all of the photos I have taken since being in Tokyo on my Flickr page here.







Piled Up Exhibition

Posted in Exhibitions by Paul on July 20, 2009



I’ve got a three day weekend because of ‘Marine Day‘ today so I spent yesterday relaxing, but I did manage to pop over to the Ebisu area and to the Point Gallery to go see the ‘Piled Up‘ exhibition featuring artist Ly. Point is known for exhibiting the next up and coming artists and the exhibition certainly didn’t disappoint. Ly’s characters called ‘Dik‘ for obvious reasons were applied to various mediums including canvases, wall drawings, toys and t-shirts. Dik was a very quirky character, simply drawn in black and white and it fitted well into the rest of massive scene that is characters, mascots and animals which everywhere here in Tokyo.


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Wieden+Kennedy 1 Month Review

Posted in Internships by Paul on June 30, 2009



This evening marks the end of my first month in Tokyo and with Wieden+Kennedy and as you already know the drill, yes it has flown by even quicker than everything else that has happened over the past year. But what a month June has been for me; I’ve settled down in Tokyo and I’m soaking everything up as it’s an amazing city and a complete culture change for me. In terms of W+K, I’ve felt like part of the team from day one and I’m learning lots working alongside Eric. It’s an amazing company to be part of, so I am relishing every moment I have here.

As per my previous post about W+K, the book I was working on is coming along nicely and is just about in it’s final stages and just like I did at Pentagram, by working on a book, it’s a great project to work on by keeping refining and carrying on with designing for a professional context. The web work and mobile phone designs are also nearing the end and I’ve just started on some t-shirt designs and I can’t wait for the new challenges that lie ahead for me in July.

W+K regularly have speakers in and there’s also lots that they are involved with inside and outside the studio walls. Eric presented to some other students from Asia so I sat in on that a few weeks back and it was great to hear about his story and just made me buzz even more off W+K. You can see the presentation on W+K’s blog here. Team ANSWR also popped to the studio a few weeks back to present some work to us and to let us know what they are up to. It was great to see another company based in Tokyo and what they are up to, and it’s amazing just how far ahead their thinking along with W+K’s is ahead of everyone elses. Click here to read about ANSWR’s visit. I managed to get some nice freebies and  a show reel from ANSWR. Then last Tuesday, me and Andrea popped by to one of W+K LAB’s video shoots about an hour away from Roppongi and it was interesting to see all the behind the scenes stuff. The LAB guys working on the video and all the design work to go along with it, have just a few weeks to get it all finalized so I can’t wait to see what the final outcome is. We convienently arrived at the time where the dancing girls scene was happening, and specifically the champagne spraying scene. There was only 3 of 4 ‘sprayers’ available so in hard times, I had to stand up for the cause. You can see a set of photos we took on my Flickr page here.




Then, last Friday, and this will definitely be one of the highlights of my year out. W+K invited John Maeda to breakfast (he cooked breakfast before for our director, John Jay, so obviously we had to repay the favour when we heard he was speaking at a sold out lecture in Tokyo). If you don’t already know John Maeda, he is the current President of the Rhode Island School of Design, graphic designer, author and all around good guy and legend, being voted one of the most 21 important people of the 21st century. He was only in the studio for about an hour, but with a full spread of breakfast laid out by team ‘Wieden+Dining‘, it was a fantastic morning. He had some great stories to tell about being president and was a very down to earth guy. I did comment on one thing, but I got a bit star struck and not too sure whether he knew what I was talking about, but a fascinating hour. The team over in Portland were also watching via video link including John Jay. Check out the breakfast with John Maeda here. Finally, yesterday I got to take a look at W+K’s global book, which isn’t for a sale so a rare opportunity to check it out. And what a book it was, telling the W+K story from day one right up until the current day, including information about all the worldwide offices and teams, brilliant stuff! It can be seen on the W+K global blog here.

I’ve got lots more planned whilst in Tokyo so watch this space.


Graniph Studio Visit

Posted in Everything Else by Paul on June 15, 2009


This morning I went to visit Graniph in Shibuya (in west central Tokyo) and to meet up with David Smyth from the company for a chat. Graniph are a t-shirt company based here in Tokyo that produce a mass amount of t-shirts every month, I was told the in house design team of 6 produce 85+ every month plus Graniph scout out images that would work on t-shirts from artists, designers and studios the world over. They currently have stores in Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Jakarta and Dubai and David told me about their futures hopes to push the company towards Europe and beyond.

Graniph, currently only based in Asia, have however used designs from numerous UK based artists and other well known creatives from around the world including James Joyce, Non-Format, Emil Ruder, Rose Stallard (co-founder of Print Club), Mr. Bingo, Anthony Burrill and Andy Forshaw with many more listed in their artists section.

We talked about Tokyo in general, Graniph, and how it all works and the company’s background as well as about my year out. It was great to meet David, who looks after the international side of things of Graniph as well as scouting out fresh designs on a monthly basis. I’ll be staying in touch, and there are way too many nice t-shirts that I want to buy before I leave Japan. I’ll also hopefully be working on a design submission in the near future.



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