Konnichiwa! This international post comes direct from a very frosty Japan.
I absolutely adore this country. Of course, there are the people. Polite, respectful, well dressed… but it is when it gets dark that the designer in me gets truly inspired. The bright, colourful and flashy lights call out to you from every turn.
Japanese culture has always played a part in my design aesthetics. Growing up, shows like Power Rangers, Transformers, Sailor Moon have meant I have gravitated towards that anime and manga style of illustration. Now, whilst I have always enjoyed drawing and creating illustrations on the computer, I never felt like it was of much worth.
Seems a bit silly now that I think about it. People would say your standard, ‘that’s cool’ or ‘ I wish I could do that’ and I would always reply with ‘yeah, but it’s a bit of a pointless skill’. Perhaps it says more about where I grew up, or where I live now (or that I am not looking very hard) but you just don’t see illustration in the same abundance that you do in Japan.
Every poster, sign and signal is accompanied by an illustration (some a little more obscure than others to these Western trained eyes). I feel like each sign has a childlike innocence and joy to it and the use of colour is so much more bold and vibrant. It makes me think, how would a Japanese person perceive Perth, as a tourist?
Have we been conditioned to see things through one particular aesthetic, making it hard for us to create outside of our comfort zones and outside of what we perceive as “good looking”? Have I underestimated the opportunities at home for illustrators? If you would like to weigh in on this question, tweet us, share your stories and ideas.
Take a look at some of the examples I’ve managed to capture on my phone. Some make you smile, some make you wonder what the hell the artist was on when they created them.
Push yourself to look beyond your backyard. There are so many styles out there to experiment with. It can be easy to find a style you enjoy and just stick to that, but think about how much more worth you will have if you have more tricks under your belt!