NEWS

Oct. 24, 2018

KOKUYO DESIGN AWARD 2018 Initial Judging Report

We called for entries on the theme “BEYOND BOUNDARIES” this year, from June 22nd to August 31st, and received 1,289 entries (766 entries from Japan and 523 entries from abroad). The judges reviewed all the entries individually in advance, and selected their nominations. On the day of the Initial Judging, the judges exchanged views about each of their nominated works frankly, on the basis of the judging criteria specified in the entry requirements.

After the Initial Judging, we received messages from all of the judges on the trend of the works, and how the ones progressing to the Final Judging could be brushed up.

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Ryosuke Uehara (CEO, Art Director & Creative Director of KIGI)

As this is my forth time to participate in this award as a judge, I had the desire to see something extraordinary that I had never seen before, and these feelings strongly influenced my way of judging. The theme of last year's award was “NEW STORY” and it sought for the development of a new genre. This year, however, we set the theme that includes tips on how we specifically want the participants to think, and I'm looking forward to seeing the outcome. It was a little shame that many of the proposals interpreted the theme literally without deep consideration. I hope to see proposals that have been well brushed up with careful consideration of the theme at the final judging. I was delighted that many of the participants have entered the competition from overseas. This is a rare opportunity, and I hope that Japanese people would also gain more of an interest in the award over time.

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Masashi Kawamura (CEO & Executive Creative Director of PARTY NY)

We received many proposals from overseas with broader perspectives. There were a great variety of ideas and designs and the judging was quite enjoyable. I judged the proposals based on the newness of the ideas, how the design could bring fresh perspectives into daily life, and also how the participants designed their proposals with their own interpretation of the theme. It was a shame that many of the proposals totally ignored the theme. However, all of the judges tried to keep the proposals that potentially followed the theme, even if it had not been clearly conveyed on the presentation sheets. We also tried to understand the interesting points of their designs and ideas. I hope the designs chosen for the final judging will take the theme into account, and the participants explore how they can verbalize the theme “BEYOND BOUNDARIES” through their designs. Through this process, I hope they trim and further improve their designs. I believe many of the designs have a great potential to develop into an outstanding product, if they can successfully achieve this process.

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Oki Sato (CEO & designer of design office nendo)

“BEYOND BOUNDARIES” can be very ambiguous in a way and it is such a difficult theme. But I could see many designs that took on various angles of approach, and it was very enjoyable to judge them. The designs chosen for the final judging have their own charm but also have some problems. This means that they have a large potential for growth. I hope they take on these challenges with positivity and enjoy working on their designs. They could heighten their designs' poetic vision or develop functionality and practicality. Or they could also sharpen their designs feature by specifically presenting how it would be used. They don't need to adjust their designs to something "smart" at all. Even if the design has some flaws, brushing up on its strengths until it shines should be a focus. I believe this is the essential way to cross beyond the existing boundaries.

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Yasuhiro Suzuki (Artist)

I judged if the proposals clearly demonstrated new ideas and considerations toward the theme. Of course, this award is intended to commercialize a product, and so practicality is also an essential point for the judgment. My overall impression was that many of the proposals focused more on the theme, rather than practicality. In that regard, I could judge all of the proposals equally including the ones with less practical feasibility. This year's theme is “BEYOND BOUNDARIES”. However, from the perspective of a creator, boundaries were sometimes given more attention to in an opposite manner. I realized the depth of this theme and that it could be interpreted in a number of different ways. I hope the people who were chosen for the final round of judging reconsider their ways of thinking towards the theme, their methods for displaying their proposals, their approaches to how the proposed products can be used, and also brush up and improve on their ideas.

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Yoshie Watanabe (Art Director & Designer of KIGI)

Based on the theme, I've chosen proposals with a dream, and that have promising potential that could lead to further development, rather than the ones that were already too practical. Although it may be because the theme is conceptual, many of the presentation sheets were descriptive using long sentences, or just used simple illustrations to get their ideas across. This is a design award after all, and I hope that the participants keep that in mind when they enter this award. Every year, we have mockups of the works at the final judging and the proposals become more real. I look forward to seeing designs beyond our imaginations again at this year's final judging.

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Hidekuni Kuroda (Representative Director of the Board, President and CEO of KOKUYO Co., Ltd.)

Many of the proposals were high in quality and challenged this years theme. We were very excited, and the judging process involved many opinions from each judge. As for myself, I judged the proposals based on if I'd like to meet the creator in person and directly hear their stories at the final judging. I also considered if the proposal had the potential as a product that could expand upon KOKUYO's future product lineup.
If I could wish for more, I wanted the proposals to express and explain more clearly about what kind of boundary the creator had set in creating their work. I expect to see the presentations at the final judging closely resonate with the concept of boundaries. The last round of judging will be open to the public this year, and I'm sure it will be a fun and exciting event. We are looking forward to having you at the final judging and the award ceremony.

The finalists progressing to the Final Judging on January 18th, 2019 are scheduled to be announced in mid November.