I think the important thing is to get involved with things. By doing so, the connection between you and the other person or 0bject, changes. That change brings out a different you, and enlarges your imagination.
Please give us a brief bio of yourself.
Born 1976 and have been working as a freelance designer since 2001.
Most of my works are mainly for my personal website, raku-gaki.com, or advertisements. Not only do I design websites but I also design paper material (such as posters) and moving images too. I am also interested in collaborating with creators from other fields.
What do you do for inspiration?
The thing I do most is to look at as many websites and moving images as possible. I also go out with my camera to take pictures of the city, people and nature to cut out and use on my works. These things help inspire myself.
Also, I try to meet with various people and listen to music. I think the important thing is to get involved with things. By doing so, the connection between you and the other person or 0bject, changes. That change brings out a different you, and enlarges your imagination.
Please list 3 of your favourite sites.
This was a very shocking site for me. The site itself has become a new means of expression. Their combination of graphics and moving images, and the way they made their layout so that it can be enjoyed in windows of any size, allows viewers to feel the diversity of the site. I just fell in love with the whole concept.
http://amana.jp/company/tsutawaru/entrance.html (tha : Yugo Nakamura) A pleasant site to watch. There are a lot of different techniques hidden, but they are all shown so naturally which makes it very comfortable to look at. And above all, I think this is a site filled with what can "only be done through a website". All the pictures used on this site were gathered from various people. That shows the wide connections they have with people and different thoughts that gather here. It is really refreshing.
This site was also a big shock. I couldn't stop laughing! "Look! Look! Look at the guy! Oh, and his glasses!" I laughed too much. The visual impact it had on me was a brand new feeling and the way the contents is shown was also very astonishing. It is really an enjoyable site. Even if I see it now, I still have a nice laugh.
What software couldn't you live without?
Photoshop; I couldn't live without it. Basically I love to design graphics so without Photoshop it's like the basis of my work is taken away from me.
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
I have started working on 3D graphics and I am designing a site using it. At the same time I am also working on a footage using flash. I am planning to use a lot of still images instead of using software like "After effect" and such. Please look forward to them.
Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?
They gave me a chance to have a completely different approach to the web when I first saw their works. They showed me the wide range of possibilities the web has and built an urge in myself to want to create works like them. Even now they are still one of the creative teams that I admire most.
They always inspire me with the beauty of designing. Functional and beautiful, presentation, appearance, sorting the information.... The balance of all this is just right and beautiful. Whenever I feel like looking at real good designs, I always click on Group94's site.
Tha (Yugo Nakmura)
I guess many people are familiar with this site; that there is nothing there. But I am sure many people know the great works of Mr. Yugo Nakamura. As a Japanese and as a web creator (which I have in common with them) I really admire their works. They are filled with surprises. By designing sites, I think they are also designing "communication" on the internet. I have to admit that they have a totally different approach compared to me. They always come up with things I wouldn't even imagine of. So I always admire and respect their works.
Who is your target audience?
My main target would be people who are looking forward to enjoying the web. As long as I am creating contents on the web, I'd like to pursue to create things that can only be done on the web.
And I hope people who are looking for something fun, can be fully satisfied when they see my works..
What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?
Not really my very first, but one of the first works I personally designed for myself is "game generation". It is a site I designed in 1999. It was the first time I used flash. I combined flash and pictures to create a make-believe character that was the main character of the story type site.
Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?
I've co-written a book called FLASH LAB with four other people. In the book I wrote about flash, along with some of my works. Also every other month, I write a piece on how to use flash and some ideas too on a magazine called "web designing". If I have a chance in the future, I am looking forward to writing a book on my works and how it came to life.
What was the toughest thing you ever did with Flash? How long did you spend on it? Is it still online?
Never has it been easy. I always have a reference book next to me. Everyday I wish I was smarter, but this wish hasn't come true so far... So every site I've worked with has been complicated and difficult for me, but I love all my works.
Do you think Flash is here to stay?
I think computers will keep progressing, so flash will progress along with them. Someday I hope it will advance so much that it will become something totally beyond imagination.
Wouldn't it be great if you don't need keyboards to type words in, or you don't need a mouse to click on an 0bject, and images or pictures just appear right in front of you and not on your screen?
Maybe, someday you can actually touch the images and feel it with your own hands.
What are your views on design/graphic school. Do you think someone can get into the field without educational experience in a school environment?
I myself have never been to design or graphic schools. I went to Art College, but my major was glass handicraft. So I don't think you must have an educational experience in a school environment to succeed.
What I do think is important is that you are surrounded by people who are also interested in succeeding in the same field as you. Everyone has their own approach. So if you're surrounded by ten people, that means you have a chance to meet ten different approaches.
Going to school puts you in this kind of environment which is a very good thing. But that doesn’t mean that you "have to" go to school to succeed. By studying yourself, you can learn what they don’t teach you at school too.
When your company was just getting started, what did you find was most effective for getting new clients?
The most effective way was to spread the word around about my site, raku-gaki.com. Here, people get a chance to see my works, and then they send in a mail that leads to work. And from there, people will link me to another job. And that's how I expanded my business. Working on my original site is the basis of my style.
How have you learned so many Flash/design skills and techniques and can you offer any advice for newbies?
I learned about design and flash on my own through books and websites. When I came across a site that I liked, I would look at it over and over again and study it real hard. And I have been working to get somewhere near them.
What is the most expensive thing you've bought in the last week?
Beef. I enjoy cooking once in a while. The most expensive thing I bought last week was beef. Actually, I don't remember buying anything else but food last week (lol).
It's been a privilege Koji, thanks very much.
Thank you to you too for the opportunity.