Innovation Consulting + Design Thinking · WORK

How to avoid ‘boreout’: engage with actual creative people doing actually creative things

Dear F and L

Wow. Thank you both so, so much for the conversations this week. I really appreciate it. I had forgotten how nice it is to sit and talk, at length, without interruption, in English, to highly creative and talented people who know and value me and my work. These are a lot of buttons that got pressed in a beautiful moment, in which, I think, I remembered something.

Namely: a composed feeling.

A feeling of comfort. Of safety. Of connexion.


In short, harmony.


 

 

 


To go where we go isn’t to ‘discover,’ for me, now. I think that chapter of S P A C E is finally finished. After wandering the world popping into 27 countries and staying in some for six years at a time, gosh, that’s crazy, and finding out the things, I realize that the time to ‘keep looking for things’ has necessarily come to a punctuation mark that looks more like

.

Than

;

 

Or

So yeah! I’m done traveling, lads! Not just because I can’t ’cause of the pandemic and stuff. I’m just… I’m done! I forgot to tell you. I got on another call this week, too. Which was far less exciting, but probably only because the value of seeking (philosophers appreciate this, and so do CEOs who care about what I find out when I go on these jaunts to agendalessly and free-formedly look, listen, and discover). Many people, too, have shown support for this effort by taking me up on one or another offer posted at our ever-changing #spacethezine crowdfunding campaign. Why? Because I do what I say I will. And* I don’t quit in the middle. Which is why I am very, very choosy about what I say ‘yes’ to. ‘No’ is more important to learn how to say, I feel, because more ‘no’ responses to non-interesting propositions leads to more focus and awareness of what to say ‘yes’ to. For me, I always say ‘yes’ to S P A C E. I’ve always wanted to have a magazine of my own since I was 12.



I was telling V. about it, how I wanted a staff and an office in like London or something. I have a virtual zine now, and I print what I want when I want on photocopiers. Why? It’s so simple. And the digital archives are good enough. Fine. No need for an office in London or a staff. I can do this. Because… I just can. DK is DK and does what it does and how it does it. Why make S P A C E? Mostly, because I feel like it. I go where I go because it feels rightest. Enter The Book of Five Rings. Exit The Book of Five Rings. HT SHR. And now, I’ve just returned from both an overnight trip as well as something else. A clarification journey. This week has been the week of going through the notes that I have written by hand, here in Vietnam, this last year and some months that got tacked onto that ‘calendar year’ thing that is always such a big deal for those of us who like to ‘reflect.’ I mean, gosh. I have all these giant lists of things that I have designed for, and optimized for, in my life-to-date. Well, I’m pretty intentional about what I do, and what I don’t do, and that’s what makes me me, aka, ‘DK,’ ‘Design Kompany.’ That is nice that that name is still working out for us, isn’t it AM? Lucky that.

Thanks to the new learnings from Vietnam and my collaborations here with a few (and my dead-ended collaborations [deleted]…together.) Ergo. The new thing. Harmony. Soon. Or when I finish it. I’ll tell you. I made a new mailing list, by the way. Link at the end. I’m not going to spam you guys now, sorry about all that.


 


Staying still now. It’s a good time to go through the digital archives. And put together writings that spell out useful bits and pieces that are original, and based on my own personal reporting from 20 years in the field and 4 in journalism. Doing this now. The goal is to package information in ways that are useful to the people who are curious about how to do things in new ways, try things without being too scared of outcomes, and get past the inevitable hurdles when you fail. After numerous attempts to ‘give it a go’ here in Vietnam to make projects happen (giving up, eventually, because it’s tooooo hard), I am doing something different now with DK and our weekly e-mag. Now, when people ask me, ‘Why do you make S P A C E?’ I will say: because of ‘boreout’.


Let’s talk about it. This is what Wikipedia says about ‘Boreout’… Source: Wikipedia page on Boreout.

‘Boredom boreout syndrome is a psychological disorder that causes physical illness, mainly caused by mental underload at the workplace due to lack of either adequate quantitative or qualitative workload. One reason for bore-out could be that the initial job description does not match the actual work.[1]  This theory was first expounded in 2007 in Diagnose Boreout, a book by two Swiss business consultants.[2]

‘Symptoms of the bore-out syndrome are described by the Frankfurt psychotherapist Wolfgang Merkle as similar to the burnout syndrome. These include depression, drive and insomnia, but also tinnitus, susceptibility to infection, stomach upset, headache and dizziness.[1][3][4] The consequences of boreout for employees are numerous both psychologically and physically and more or less serious. On the psychological level, boredom, dissatisfaction, and permanent frustration gradually lead the victim of a boreout into a vicious circle. They gradually lose the will to act at the professional level and at the personal level. To the loss of self-esteem is added the constant anxiety of being discovered. The boreout victim lives with the constant fear that their supervisor, colleagues, or friends will discover their inactivity and duplicity. The confrontation with and enduring the unsatisfactory situation leads to further stress that paralyzes and strains.[5]


‘Being constantly confronted with the emptiness of their professional life and their uselessness in society, the employee is in great pain.


‘The suffering all the more accentuated because it cannot be shared and if it is, is not understood… This can lead to serious mental disorders such as personality destruction or even depression or suicide. Boreout is also a trigger for physical diseases such as certain types of epilepsy caused by stress or exhaustion, severe sleep disorders, hand and voice tremors, shingles, and ulcers. On the physical side, according to the British “Bored to death” study, employees who are bored at work are two to three times more likely to be victims of cardiovascular events than those whose employment is stimulating. The permanent anxiety in which the employee lives exhausts him physically. Fatigue is constant despite physical inactivity. Boreout can lead to eating disorders such as untimely nibbling or loss of appetite. Some people may use alcohol or drugs to overcome their discomfort and thus develop a harmful addiction.



‘In 2018, the internation company Interparfums was ordered to pay the sum of 50,000 euros to Frederic DESNARD (France) to the labor court for “no dismissal” resulting from “the existence of moral harassment” with a “practice of sidelining”.

‘According to Peter Werder and Philippe Rothlin,[7] the absence of meaningful tasks, rather than the presence of stress, is many workers’ chief problem. Boreout consists of three elements: boredom, lack of challenge, and lack of interest. These authors disagree with the common perceptions that a demotivated employee is lazy; instead, they claim that the employee has lost interest in work tasks. Those suffering from boreout are “dissatisfied with their professional situation” in that they are frustrated at being prevented, by institutional mechanisms or obstacles as opposed to by their own lack of aptitude, from fulfilling their potential (as by using their skills, knowledge, and abilities to contribute to their company’s development) and/or from receiving official recognition for their efforts.’

Source: Wikipedia page on Boreout.

 


 

How’s this for a ‘value proposition?’… Avoid burnout and boreout. Be a part of something that actually engages you, intellectually and creativelyWelcome to Design Kompany…. The new journeys begin… here.

 

 



*Unless it becomes ridiculous in the middle because of, say: toxic relationships, boring people and lack of creative vision, power struggles, intimidation, racism, misogyny, the usual gamut of dumb stuff that is the whole set of reasons why anyone leaves anything when they wake up to the fact that they can change stuff if they feel like it. ‘If you don’t like something, change it. You are not a tree.’ Who said that, I wonder. I always liked it.

Experiments in Expression · Publisher's Diary · WORK

DK is reopening for commissions

After about seven years of not doing any graphic design work-for-hire, something changed.

Someone asked me to make a thing.

I started it, and as I went, I realized, it’s time to bring this service back and offer it again, to those who might run across this site and say, ‘I like that! I want to hire these people. Who are these people, anyway? And what is S P A C E?’

Glad you asked.

About DK

We are a team of people who collaborate in the cloud: Dipika Kohli is the creative director. Akira Morita is a cofounder working on design thinking and innovation consulting. Jas Plac does our outreach and communications. And A. Spaice does research & development. These days we make a weekly e-mag, called S P A C E. it’s about design and discovery.

The people we meet in the places where we go (mostly Southeast Asia and Northern Europe, since 2014), share stories, sometimes, and when they get to a place where they feel like they’re becoming something substantial, we shape these into ‘zines.’

They’re 16 pages, each, designed to be read in a single sitting, say over coffee. At times, we make black & white issues so they’re easy on printers, so you can download, print, fold and assemble your own, by adding your own creative flair.

Got into a bit of a discussion about this with someone yesterday who is 24.

This person was highlighting to me his past work, in something that I didn’t find too terribly intriguing but he really wanted to impress me, I guess, so we watched some clips of things that he had produced. I suppose he is an event producer, but not trained or anything, just self-designed. That’s fine, of course. I’m self-designed in design, having studied civil engineering and worked in architecture and journalism. But design is something people just ask me to do.

For example, a friend from that era, VH had asked me to make a senior t-shirt, when we were in high school, because she liked my drawings and comics, and no one else was putting forward an idea, and I was the Vice President of the Student Government at that time, so we put out a call, I think? And I don’t think anyone entered. So I made it. I don’t even know what it looks like now, thinking back, but V. had liked it and was happy. I had done t-shirts for Governor’s School East for my hall, too, and before that a lot of things like program covers and posters through elementary and middle school that had won prizes and stuff, so. I guess. That it was… destiny, haha. Or just… a knack for it. And lots of attentiveness to continuing to do it, not get sidetracked by other things, just doing the drawings when I felt like it. Helped that this was in an era where we didn’t have internet. Nice thinking about the senior t-shirt design, again. That was fun. I was 17.

Depth. I was talking about yesterday’s conversation and somehow got distracted thinking about being 17. It’s kind of related, though, right? I mean, you get good when you practice, but you have to have some kind of latent talent to start getting good, too. And encouragement. Fact. In my case yesterday, I think skipping over ‘talent’ and ‘practice’ and ‘encouragement’ was taken for granted by this young person who saw $$$ ‘I got paid for this’ $$$ as an indication of its having had value.

Not to me.

The thing I saw was just… well. Lacking in substance.

Happens. And more and more these days, when we have substitutes for real life in the form of video streams and chatboxes. What happened? Well, that’s out of scope, here.

My thing is, let’s bring some of the good stuff. Let’s open the doors here at DK again, and show people how they can arrive at… quality. I know how to do this. Why not share. Selectively, of course. Not for everyone.

I have a particular way of deciding if I will care about a project, which has everything to do with the attitude of the person asking me to work with him or her or them. Truth is, if I don’t see much thought in something, I have no interest whatsoever.

Most people I meet on the road I will know for less than three hours. I meet a hell of a lot of people, on the road. Yesterday, I just listened politely, but then, something happened.

Weirdly, it just did…

Sometimes this does this. I went into speechmaking mode.

‘Edgy’

Perhaps because we had a third guest, join us in the middle. Who. Was. Really. Attentive, and who had gone through my samples of drawings, and poetry and other stuff that I felt like sharing, with great admiration and accolades. Okay, it was flattering, but yeah, he really was curious about me, my work… my thinking. What I’ve been up to here in Vietnam. I have some stuff now that has Vietnamese language translations, too. So you can tell, if you’re the kind of person who can tell, that is.

Maybe there’s not one particular type; but there are a few people… one out of a hundred?, who resonate with DK’s style.

D: The other day, someone asked, What’s your TEDx talk about? I said ‘Death.’ Then he said, ‘Ooh!… Edgy.’ But it was 8 years ago

A: You are. DK is edgy

D: What!

A: …

D: …

A: …

D: Well, once someone in Seattle said I was popular

A: You are not popular. You are edgy

D: How is this ‘edgy’! I don’t even a phone and I type on zoom chat to you and use email

A: That is edgy

D: …

Need help
with a design project ?

Get in touch >

 

100 Conversations · Desk Notes · WORK

Brand identity design for a Seattle cafe, 2010

I want to share an early brand identity design project from our archives, this one’s from 2010.

A brand identity design project that began like this. A query came in by email. From Seattle. We had already moved to the East Coast, but barely, and this blog was optimized at the time for search for Seattle branding. This was swell before everyone in the universe had a blog or microblog, and way, wayyyy before instagram. I think MySpace was going on, back then. So if you were in Seattle or nearabouts, and seeking designers who specialized in branding, then, yeah. We popped up.

Taking the call in Durham NC, we got to talking about it. The identity, the feeling, the vibe. The concept. I park for a while on Concept, when I’m leading a project, and this one was me on the creative lead, for sure. Because of stylistics: the image, the emotion, all of that, pointed to the aesthetic of a past version of DK. One that liked to play with… paint.

I did this. I played around with paint. Brushstrokes, lettering. It was good.

Design and identity design

So what happened was that I got to the studio, of ours, in Durham, and we set thing sup a little differently. Instead of using the computers so much, we started cutting papers, collaging, I even tried a quilling technique, to see what might emerge. Play. Again, play. I see that now in all our past works.

In the end, I lettered the name of the cafe with a thick brush, going out of my usual style of using a pen, or line art, or vectors. The feeling that the cafe was going for, and this was well before it was starting, I think it was under construction when we were calling at that time, well yeah.

Anyway, it was not the usual style of DK’s (our usual style is often described as ‘clean, modern.’) It was something else. A different mood. Still, the idea of a design brief is to outline that so well that you can make it work out, even if that means researching and learning more and studying and trying things. We love trying things. So this was a chance.

I heard that the Row House Cafe has since closed, but it was an interesting challenge, for sure.

It reminds me a little bit of the time we did the brand identity for a new restaurant in Ireland, will have to fish out those files now, too, from the archives…

Desk Notes · WORK

Brand identity design: Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce, circa 2006

One of the first gigs we had at Design Kompany was for the rebrand of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce, back in 2006. CHCC, according to this neighborhood website, has since closed.

 

Time, design

Akira Morita took the lead for DK on this design, working with me on it, and through that process, discovering as we went, with our clients, what the goal would be for the image-making. In other words, its concept.

Concepting well means a lot of talking. About why.

And that’s not always easy, especially when a group is just forming.

Being based in Seattle, the ‘how we go about this’ was heavily influenced, naturally, by agile methods. You try, you test, you see, you rework. We started sketching a lot, presenting in pencil, not overworking or over designing, and continuing to develop ideas until something was feeling right—and not just for one or two people, we all know what I’m talking about here, but the collective group. The whole.

Timing is everything, sometimes. We were there, in Seattle, after Ireland, at that exact time when the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce was just getting started. Just. Like. Us. DK had a new office, a storefront one, and right up the street from us, a few blocks over, in the same neighborhood, was the CHCC.

‘Let’s play’

Our office on E. Olive Way was base for DK for about a year, which was very visible on its streetfront, and, as such, quite easy for people to discover us.

Then we moved to our apartment, and later, up the hill, past 15th, a few blocks down from WET and Fuel. Many en evening would I spend at the Washington Ensemble Theater. Perhaps another indication that one day, I’d be writing mini plays and springing them on people in unexpected cafe, restaurants, eaters, and other people’s literary events. Anyway, after Olive Way and the other place and some other stuff that took place in between, DK shifted to a house by a park with a tennis court and playground.

We called it Kornerhaus.

There, we kept our PLAY going.

Akira Morita made the PLAY piece pictured on the wall // Photo by DK Seattle 2008

The spaces where we most got a kick out of gathering with our clients also worked well for making parties.

Sugar, Pop, Dazzle, Flourish, and Gather, to name a few. (Some people who are reading this blog may recall it…)

Yes, we’re still DK.

Yes we’re still at it.

Making things, not always design the way we used to design,  because that was then, and this is now. It’s experiences that we are specifying bounds and briefs for now, experiences for people to gather and share. Meaningfully, not trivially. At least, that’s what it was from 2013-2019. Next is next.

Content matters, to us. Much more than ‘logos’ or ‘looks.’ It’s getting people together, still, mixing it up if we can. Importantly, as always, in ways that invite the new and curious, which precipitates that magic thing of self-discovery, too, along the way.

Designs, and even life decisions, from these openings, somehow make themselves.

 

Shifts

Six years in Capitol Hill… intriguing to see how much the place changed, in our journey there, with it.

Looking around on the web, it’s cool to see that the CHCC had used our design right up until the end of their days, more than a decade after we created it.

Longevity.

I like that.

Progression and playfulness with the ideas… looking back, I see it’s a common thread, with our design works. We want to always leave room for interpretation, so the in-house designers can play with an idea, too, make it a little bit their own, and breathe new life into it, when the time calls for that.

Shifting, poetically but also purposefully.

Like any relationship, things change.

But how you allow for growth–that’s the key to sticking-with-it-ness.

All of that…

To say….

The beginning was a fun thing. I remember it.

This design came into being. A concept…

A brand identity scheme, with colors, and this logo…

The year after Akira and I finalized it, handing off the CD with final files (yes, I said ‘CD’), I went by to see how things were going. Smalltalk and the like. They were happy with it. Like many other designs that came after, people were responding. Clients smiled. People enjoyed the connexion. And the image–the connexion-making start point–made it begin to begin. Relationships, after all, have to start from something.

We soon started getting known a little bit around Seattle, I think. Mostly for our ‘clean, modern’ design style (winning new gigs, mostly for architects, after that).

Here are the business cards (photo by Victor Ng):

Was interesting.

Was simple.

Was… one ending, for a chapter, for us.

On this blog, back in the late 2000s and for some time after, I used to go through and write down all of everything that we did for everyone. A whole bunch of text, yeah, you thought this was long. And pictures.

A bunch of, say, process pictures, or the mood boards we made, even in-progress pictures. I blogged it all.

Reason is, I think, because I value transparency. Showing the process. And encouraging conversation, throughout. Even with people on the sidelines, or just watching, or walking by our office to peek through the window, to say, ‘What’s that?’

Maybe the chance encounter will invite a fascinating insight.

You just never know.

I continue to invite and connect people, to our programs, projects, and real life salons, to this very day, wherever I am. Reflecting. Hm.

Now, I wanted to push the envelope.

Again.

 

New beginnings

So that’s why, in February 2020, DK is opening again for graphic design and communication design commissions.

Remote. In person ( I can tell you where we’ll be)…

Get in touch.

‘Design is making meaning’

Akira Morita‘s old portfolio page on Behance has more about the work we were doing around the time of the Chamber, if you are curious, while we were in Seattle in the early 2000s.

Meantime, since then, we’ve been changing and growing quite a lot. But, while iterating, DK’s core team of Akira and me, along with a handful of coming-and-going teammates and a small circle of collaborators, continue to make headway by discovering, together. Usually by making up projects, and testing them out. In the field. In real life. It’s so great.

Doing this is our work.

Both of ours, separately, as well as here at DK, together.

Spacemaking for discovery. 

In different fields, with different people, and amongst different palettes, backgrounds, storytelling styles, and with new people, too. It’s always evolving, around here.

To keep in touch to find out more, join our mailing list. The mailing list for 2020 is called, ‘New chapters.’

Here’s a link.

Desk Notes · WORK

12 years ago, DK rebranded Seattle’s Northwest Asian Weekly

Cool.

The Seattle community paper, Northwest Asian Weekly, is still using our rebrand all this time later. I’m updating our portfolio here to reflect the highlights of our past work in design, and communications, and so, wanted to post about it here.

 

How we rebranded a 25-year old paper

Everyoneeditors, copyeditors, publisher, designers, other staff, occasionally those passing by, and DK worked together to come up with a fresh update, a new template set, typeface selections… the works.

Concepting took a good effort, but it was important, for us, to get the story first. So we sat. And talked. For several sessions, just setting things up so the real talking could begin. In this way, we could do what all designers love to do when they are writing their own creative brief: be present, listen, and make sure you hear everyone. Goal, for DK, then, was to gather inputs from the full team at NWAW. 

But it started with the whole big metaphysical question, 25 years after you got started, ‘Who are you now?’

A box over the i, which you can see accented in the design for the masthead, was inspired by the answer we found, together, through dialogues at a round table. Which was, ‘A window to the world.’

Will need to find the better resolution files from our redesign process, but I’m terribly disorganized with old old files, as most people are, and it’s fine, but why I bring this up is because I do recall the file I placed onto the CD of files I had delivered when this project ended, which was, ‘Brand Story: A living document.’ A word file, meant to be something that future editors and designers could visit, and reshape, as time moved on and needs changed. These things happen. It’s inevitable. But a good design leaves space for that… leaves room to grow, and change. To me.

 

Writing & Publishing

Since I personally love community journalism, I was hawpy to be part of this project, and lead the effort to shift over to a modern, clean design from the original style.

In 2013, When DK got set up in Cambodia, I began to write for the paper, too. I sent in this column, ‘The Village Report,’ to the NWAW. It was easy to think of the idea, given what DK had gathered about what the aim, vision, story, and idea was for the redesign. ‘Window to the world.’ Made sense. It fit. It worked.

Desk Notes · Experiments in Expression · Stories · WORK

NUK | Designing brand identity in Phnom Penh, 2014

Naming, brand identity design, and showing up to make space—quality space—for the process of people who want to discover somethign new, together, is what we did for NUK Cafe. This was 2014. DK had just opened up our doors in Phnom Penh for business, and this was our first gig.

Since then, five years’ experience of living and learning here in Phnom Penh has given us a chance to flex our creative and intellectual muscles. We’ve gotten into very different kinds of projects, since moving away from typical brand identity deign. Still, I think it’s important to share the jo gurney, and how we got to where we are from where we stated. This post is part of a series of updates to our portfolio.

Discovery, networking, change, and reinvention has led us through a wide set of experiences.

Journeys that, for better or worse, taught us some important lessons. I’ll just leave it at that. It’s a long story.

 

DK designs NUK. Here’s a detail of NUK specifications for usage, 2014

A new DK portfolio

Really enjoyed the NUK project.

Sharing as I go, now, since DK’s going to open again for design commissions from February 2020. That’s a lot of stuff to anticipate, for DK, but the short story is this. We’ve done things, we’ve been places. We’ve learned. We have more to do.

The work is the work, not the pretty pixels you see at the end of hte design process. If learning by doing and seeing how we get from a blank page and zero idea of what to do towards the finished things, which almost always are a 100% co-created set of designs (yes, we hand you pencils sometimes, and get to work together!), then yeah. Get in touch. This is the place to do that.

 

Being honest

We’re really only interested in working with business owners who have 5+ years’ experience. For those interested in solopreneurship or personal branding, perhaps try our 8-week workshop, The Mirror, instead of our heavy-hitting journey of brand identity design for DK (which is also waaaayyy more expensive.) It’s not for everyone. (Still, there are 1 out of every 100 people who ‘get’ us, our approach, and see that there’s value in doing it right the first time, even if that means going through the hard question-asking series of things that we will ask of our clients. Apply to be a part of DK’s brand identity design programs from February. Apply here.)

The original post about the story of how we came to make this design for a cafe  in Phnom Penh back in 2014, is below.

 

//

A throwback.

To 2014.

Phnom Penh. DK had just arrived to Cambodia.

‘Never imagined we’d stay five years:’ DK.

 

Emergence, innovation, change: Inventing as we go

Design. Making meaning out of vague and abstract collections of thought. Streamling and clarifying…

I still remember when we did this, for the NUK Cafe, which we named and branded back in 2014.

That was DK’s first gig in Cambodia.

Things have evolved for them quite a bit at NUK, I think they’ve moved on from our original design, but the ‘N’ is still there on the cups that DK’s Dipika Kohli drew.

Which is this:

Brand design for NUK Cafe // DK 2014

I really like this story. Of how you start with ‘…’ and get to this design. It’s not a straight line. The creative process moves around and changes a lot, in the middle. It’s how it goes. It’s how we learn, and how we grow, too. Since DK had been doing branding work for more than a decade, it wasn’t hard. (These days we’re not doing branding work, by the way. More consulting. More experiential programs. Like these.)

 

Flux

Breakfast in Cambodia by DK’s Dipika Kohli. See all of her books.

Of DK’s founders hitting the road in 2013, going in search of ‘I don’t know what it even is yet’, and discovering the first team in Phnom Penh to give DK an open hand to design the way we know how to design. By asking questions. Listening. Learning. Gathering. Percolating. Generally: trusting the process. Why not? It’s worked for us for so many clients in the past.

It makes me happy.

Funny, all that drawing of the ‘N’ and exploring it led to the birth of something completely different.

Things. Turn into things. Don’t they?

#trusttheprocess

100 Conversations · A Philosophy of the Moment · Desk Notes · Found in the Field · The Muse · WORK

Brand identity design for Seattle’s nightclub, Baltic Room, 2010

DK designs and sketches a brand identity for a Seattle nightclub, 2010

 

In the 2000s DK got to go to a lot of gigs, since we were based at that time in Capitol Hill, amongst all the buzz and arts and nightlife of this bustling neighborhood in Seattle.

One of my favorite venues was the Baltic RoomIn the 2010s thanks to TH, an architect, DK got to rebrand that nightclub.

 

‘Design is making meaning’

Cool to see that they are still using our design…. 

T., after all, had referred us. She had been one of our first clients. A combination of: a shared aesthetic appreciation of the beauty of chance encounters, plus a common love of jazz (which is after all improvisation in space on the spot), was what led to us meeting T in the first place. ‘I’ve been looking for you,’ T had said. ‘To do the design for my new company. When I break out to do my own company, you’re my designers: I just know.’

‘And that’s how a thing starts, sometimes.’

The Baltic Room rebrand was cool. Was fun to be a part of the process of seeing things update, and guiding the identity redesign by the usual process of ours. We just ask a lot of questions, at the start. It’s like 90% of the whole design project is happening at he start. You have to have that thrashing period so everyone can get the point where they can be honest and say what they really want to say instead of trying to please someone else at the table.

Somewhere along the way there’s a harmony that you can find… I guess design is like music in that regard, too… it just comes into shape on the spot when the mood is right and the people are in the spirit of being ‘on,’ intellectually and creatively, to do the jam, together.

I want to give people a chance to think clearly and long-term, so they don’t have to redo everything later.

Thought of it for two reasons this week.

  • One: I’m working on a few more issues of S P A C E to round out our Autumn 2019 collection, which includes stuff from the Baltic States visit , and
  • Two: I always liked electronica but I kind of can’t get over this:

Despite myself, I like it.

A Philosophy of the Moment · Desk Notes · Stories · WORK

One Fish, Blue Fish for Miyabi Japanese Restaurant

HERE’S THE NEW logo and color scheme for Japanese restaurant Miyabi.

Most of the people who hire Design Kompany work in professional services. So it’s always a treat when someone comes along who just likes our process, and wants to try it out. Miyabi came to us because they really wanted to establish themselves as a family-friendly Japanese restaurant. (Most of their customers were people visiting the just-next-door Toys R Us.) It was important to nail the brand message first: “Fun, delicious, and quirky.”

Handy, too, that AM is a native speaker of Japanese. (I’m medium. I’ve passed for Japanese once or twice in telephone calls. Always a hoot.)

Here’s the original post.

A Japanese restaurant asks DK for a logo, menu, and business card design.

Creating a Japanese restaurant’s brand identity

A JAPANESE RESTAURANT IN the TUKWILA, WA area asked us to design a new brand identity when they realized they wanted a change.  They’d been in business for a while, but wanted a new image.

Still, Miyabi wasn’t 100% sure what story it wanted to tell through the rebrand and design for the new look.

In addition to a menu, we also created a series of ads to run in local hotel directories, and Japanese-language telephone directories, too. We made a winter holiday postcard with this design, too, which was a lot of fun!

Original post

Here’s the new brand Design Kompany made for the Japanese restaurant Miyabi.

Design Kompany came up with the total brand image: a custom typeface for ‘Miyabi,’ custom illustrations, the color palette, and the typefaces to pair with the new logo.

At first the owners of this Tukwila restaurant thought they might like a sleek, Japanese bistro look that would be upscale and posh.

But after talking with Design Kompany, it became clear that “young people looking for a fancy date spot” just isn’t Miyabi’s target audience.

Families come here. Local regulars. And business folks who happen to be in the area, which is near Sea-Tac airport.

“After going through [the questionnaire] with you guys,” Miyabi co-owner Hisako Shirakura said, “we realized we want a look that says ‘we’re fun.’

“We want people to know they can come here and have a nice time. And… we want to surprise them.”

“Quirky, in other words? A little… off-center?”

“Exactly!”

So we brought to the team Design Kompany illustrator Aaron Barker. “I was really enthusiastic about working with Design Kompany on a sushi restaurant’s logo,” he says. Aaron drew the fish and created the font for “Miyabi”.

I tried many ‘style’ concepts, from sketchy pencil to crisp vector graphics, abstracted letterforms to kawaii, or ‘Japanese cute.’ I’ve spent a lot of time around fish my whole life, visiting aquariums, commercial fishing… And in high school I even took a workshop with the famous fish illustrator Ray Troll. –DK illustrator Aaron Barker.

Keep an eye out for more from this up and coming artist, who sometimes signs his drawings “Aaron Bee.”

New business cards for Miyabi came out at the end of 2006.