Dec. 2014

Design for the Fastest Possible Understanding Design for the Fastest Possible Understanding Design for the Fastest Possible Understanding

Naka Hironori/Art Director, No. 5 Production Studio

Someday I would like to create The World’s Fastest Reference Guide to English Grammar.

Naka Hironori

Art Director, No. 5 Production Studio

Naka Hironori was born in Aichi Prefecture in 1971 and graduated from Musashino Art University. After working at an advertising company, he joined the Nagoya Branch of Nippon Design Center in 2000, where he is responsible for catalogs, sales promotion tools, and other work for Toyota Motor Corporation. Recent works include the catalog for the Toyota Camry.

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Hello. I am Naka Hironori. Now I am a graphic designer at the Nagoya Branch, but originally what I wanted to be was a pyrotechnician. Design and fireworks may not appear to be related, but I think there is something in common between the work which sends up a firework to delight crowds of spectators and the work which aims to create communication with people in society through a single graphic. I first thought this when I was a high school student and saw a poster of Ishioka Eiko and Inoue Tsuguya at the local Parco department store in Nagoya. I became enamored of the indescribable strength of expression that can capture the attention of passers-by with just a single poster, and I set my heart on becoming a designer.

Ever since being assigned to the Nagoya Branch, I have been in charge of the graphic tools for Toyota Motor Corporation. It is my job to organize the vast amount of information that comes with a new vehicle, including its exterior, interior, mechanisms, and specifications, and to translate it in order to create the fastest possible mechanism for understanding by the reader. One job that has been a guide for me in this work is the staff manual for the iQ, which I did in 2008. The staff manual is a reference tool created so that dealership staff all across the country can learn about the new vehicle. As the staff are extremely busy with their everyday work, I created a “30-minute staff manual” so that the staff could learn about the vehicle in small bits of free time. I constructed a mechanism whereby a reader can understand a general outline of the vehicle just by opening the manual and examining the photos and text that first jump out from it.

As much as on the methods of processing information, I also focused on creating a stress-free layout. I incorporated large margins in a manual containing large amounts of information, and carefully worked out a design that would be comfortable to the reader. Regardless of the type of media, people can more actively absorb information when the design is organized in a straightforward way. These large margins may appear to be wasted space, but they are an essential element that keeps the reader interested while turning the pages. Someday, I would like to apply this idea to designs for projects such as The World’s Fastest Reference Guide to English Grammar and A Tax Return that Even a Child Can Complete.

On the other hand, I took a completely different approach to the Lexus calendar that I made in 2008. The purpose of this job was to create a powerful impression of the brand in those who see it. This is not something that can be achieved by streamlining the process of understanding as in the job I just described. In fact, there is the risk that in the moment of understanding, the viewer would actually lose interest. This approach is sometimes called “escape from understanding”. For example when visiting a new city, a city that is filled with a deep and somehow mysterious atmosphere will leave a deeper impression than a city with conventional, neatly laid-out streets. I think that one characteristic of human beings is that we are more deeply impressed by something when it has a larger part that exceeds our full understanding. For this reason, I designed a layout for the calendar of motifs in which the overall form of the Lexus was hidden and a part of the vehicle body was combined with sound, light, air, and other shapeless means of sensory perception. By leaving room for the imagination, I hoped to create a strong and long-lasting, if imprecise, impression of Lexus elegance in the mind. I believe that the use of different methodologies to suit the purpose of each project is an important skill for designers to have.

On my days off, I often go for walks together with my wife. My home is close to the place where Tokoname-yaki ceramic ware is produced, and I sometimes stop by the shop. I would like to conclude here by telling you about the Tokoname-yaki kettle that I bought. Tokoname-yaki is known for its simple expression and lack of a glaze, and its appearance could be described as ordinary. However the reason that they do not use a glaze is that the bare ceramic makes better tea. The simple shapes that eschew eccentricity are said to result naturally from the pursuit of good flavor. The producer suppresses the ego and selects only the best methods for achieving the purpose. I drink tea from this kettle every day, as I tell myself with some admonishment that this is the kind of creator I should be.

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