The Financial Times’ How To Spend It section has an in-depth interview/profile on designer of all things Issey Miyake, highlighting his current projects, the variety of his projects, speaking to his peers, his work process, and his own inspirations. The man is 76 so it makes sense that he’s done so much, but the paragraph below is a perfect example of just how much he’s actually working on with his team.
The hub of Miyake’s empire is the Reality Lab department at the Miyake Design Studio. This is where his small team – including textile engineer Manabu Kikuchi, pattern engineer Sachiko Yamamoto and employees who have been working with him since before the Issey Miyake brand launched in 1971 – articulate designs for the 132 5. collection that often have their basis in complex computer-generated 3D shapes by Jun Mitani, associate professor at the Department of Computer Science, Tsukuba University. 132 5. is one part origami, two parts advanced mathematics; the result includes the new Grid cardigan (£645) and skirt (£425) with triangular panels of grey, blue and green. For the 132 5. spring collection, dynamic helix shapes, originally developed by scientists for solar panels orbiting the earth, have been reworked into flat patterns and garments. The process is both difficult and extraordinary – two things that clearly excite Miyake, for whom the journey of creation is as stimulating as the end result.
I wanna’ be like Miyake.
There’s a nice interview over on The New York Times Bits blog with Jonny Ive where he speaks about the culture of Apple and how it’s remained unchanged since Steve Jobs’ passing. Below is my favorite part where he speaks about the importance of focusing on the product you’re trying to build, and I think it’s really great advice that I try to follow in my day job.
One of the values of things I learned absolutely directly from Steve was the whole issue of focus. What are we focusing on: focus on product. I wish I could do a better job in communicating this truth here, which is when you really are focused on the product, that’s not a platitude. When that truly is your reason for coming into the studio, is just to try to make the very best product you can, when that is exclusive of everything else, it’s remarkable how insignificant or unimportant a lot of other stuff becomes. Titles or organizational structures, that’s not the lens through which we see our peers.
There’s a great interview with Kenya Hara over on Japan Times where he speaks about the future of design. It’s interesting to read that Hara’s idea of the future are intrinsically tied to the past, that Japan needs to change in order to move forward.
“I feel the designer’s role has changed in recent years from one of creating beautiful forms or clear identification for brands to one where the designer himself visualizes the possibilities of an industry.” And just to ensure he gets his point across, he restates his position in English. “Visualizing and awakening the hidden possibility of an industry,” he says.
Can creativity change the world? Advertising agency DDB NY would like to think so, as demonstrated in their new campaign for the Smithsonian National Zoo, the Endangered Song. In an effort to spread awareness of the less than 400 Sumatran Tigers left in the world, the two teamed up with rock band Portugal. The Man to manufacture and record a song. Not just any ol’song, but one created to go extinct, unless digitally reproduced. It’s a wholly clever solution, reminding us of creativity’s importance and influence. I was afforded the opportunity to pick the brains of the two creatives behind it all to find out more. Continue reading this post…
The Great Discontent interviews designer John Maeda about his path in life, his mentors, taking risks, and lots of great stuff. This point about being a part of a community caught my eye.
Is it important to you to be part of a creative community?
Creative or not, it’s important to be in a diverse community with people who have different backgrounds and skills. I think that’s why New York is such a great place to live. There’s so much diversity. I’d rather be a creature in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef that is teeming with life of all kinds than in someone’s pond with carp.
Couldn’t agree more. Limiting your learning environment to those like you limits the amount of things you can learn overall.
If I had to make a shortlist of graphic designers who continually inspire, Michael Cina would be so near the top. He’s not only a designer, he’s an artist, a typographer, you name it he’s probably better at it than you. Recently he had an interview featured on The Great Discontent and it’s a wonderful. My favorite part:
You have to take risks in order to move forward—I feel very passionate about that. I always say that if you feel uncomfortable, then you know you’re doing something right. I’ve recently had a new vision for where I want to go, and I’m going for it. If you don’t have a solid vision for where you want to go, you’re just going to meander around without doing the kind of work you really want to do. Last year I made up my mind to get larger branding jobs, custom typefaces, and more gallery exhibits. This week I landed two gallery shows.
I’ve always thought that with the decreasing readership of print it wasn’t that it needed to keep up with the times but rather retarget itself. It seemed to me that print could be kept alive not by dumbing down but by smartening up and aiming itself at a new audience. You only need to take a look at some of the most recent additions to the magazine world to see I might not be far off. Editors and Designers are putting far more emphasis on creating something that will be read rather than skimmed. Filling a niche for a quality travel magazine aimed at women is SUITCASE, run by 23 year old Editor-in-Chief Serena Guen. With its feet in culture and fashion, SUITCASE has received much accolade and without sounding superfluous looks on track to perhaps become the feminine Monocle.
I spoke to the adventurous and ambitious Serena on the origins of SUITCASE and her outlook on learning and work.
Continue reading this post…
One of my resolutions from the last year was to do more to help good people. We’re all so busy all the time that I think something as simple as this can get lost in the rush. Helping creatives who are doing really interesting projects are especially important, and that’s why I’m sharing The Great Discontent’s Kickstarter who are raising money to start a magazine.
We started TGD as a digital publication, and we’ll continue to release digital issues, however, we’ve always dreamt of making a physical magazine. And now we’re doing it! The Great Discontent Magazine, Issue 1, will be a beautiful way to preserve some of the content we’ve featured online and allow it to be enjoyed virtually anywhere.
The magazine will be a gorgeous, full color piece around 240 pages. It will feature 15 interviews with individuals who have also taken leaps, including Sara Blake, Scott and Vik Harrison of charity: water, James Victore, Zack Arias, Elle Luna, Ike Edeani, Debbie Millman, Joshua Davis, and more! Select interviews will include updates and/or commentary, and we might throw in a surprise or two.
Tina and Ryan are such amazing people and it’s inspiring to see them follow their dreams like this. Supporting people like this is important to our industry as it makes all boats rise. It brings together creatives and makes our digital world a little bit smaller. I think it’s also important to note that the magazine is being designed by the ever-talented Frank Chimero so you know it’ll be beautifully designed.
If you’re unfamiliar with The Great Discontent you can read the interview I did with them from last February by clicking here.