NEWS

Dec. 25, 2019

KOKUYO DESIGN AWARD 2020 Finalists Announced !

The KOKUYO DESIGN AWARD 2020 accepted designs based on the theme of “♡” between July 19 and October 18, 2019. During that time, we received 1,377 entries (771 from within Japan and 606 from overseas). Each judge individually judged all the submissions in advance and decided on which designs to recommend. On the day of the Initial Judging, the judges frankly discussed their recommended designs, keeping in mind the judging guidelines described in the entry guidelines.

This resulted in the decision of the 10 finalists that will continue on to the Final Judging. The Final Judging will be held on March 14, 2020, along with the Award Ceremony, where the Grand Prix and Merit Award winners will be decided. Also, we received messages from the judges on the design tendencies and their expectations for the fine-tuning to the designs that are continuing to the Final Judging, so please take a look at those as well.

〈 Finalists 〉

Application Number Title Designer Name
KDA2020-0176QEY-04061 Problem-Fighting Sticky Notes Kazuya Ishikawa
KDA2020-0642OQB-26465 companon Chikako Imagawa
KDA2020-0671NAM-54707 Harmonious Symbiosis Jia ZiHao
KDA2020-1047MUS-53590 Flame glass NEWPLAIN (Daijiro Arimura, Koeda Kobayashi, Yuichiro Morimoto)
KDA2020-1182MHK-28886 FROM TREE TO FOREST Tuncay Ince
KDA2020-1226EMC-54750 Dearhearts Yohei Yamakawa
KDA2020-1335NMT-50482 Considerate Shelves Tomoki Nakano
KDA2020-1386MIH-28352 Somewhere, Sometime OBAKE (Natsuki Tomoda, Mai Miura)
KDA2020-1560RNH-53242 Message Bento Indie Common Ground (Fan Weijian, Ho Dustin Pak Lam, Lee Yat Tin, Chong Stanley)
KDA2020-1752VLF-12695 Music Box Tape Cutter Shouta Toriyama, Shun Yanagisawa

〈 Messages from the Judges 〉

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

As a general trend, many people interpreted “♡” to mean “kindness,” and “heartwarming,” but I believe there are many ways you could take “♡,” including as existence, happiness, power, and life. I look forward to how the designs continuing on to the Final Judging will approach the theme, and dig deeper and fly higher.
How effective the prototype and presentation are at the Final Judging is also a key to victory. I was moved by the prototype of last year's Grand Prix winner. I'm looking forward to experiencing something like that again.

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Masashi Kawamura (Creative Director & Chief Creative Officer of Whatever)

I judged the designs following the judging guidelines, but also keeping in mind the following three things. 1. The originality of the idea/viewpoint. 2. If it is convenient or fun, and if that convenience or fun could serve society. 3. If the design is crafted beautifully.
There were many ideas that used the “♡” as is and so I felt this theme was very difficult, but on the other hand, many of the designs that interpreted “♡” well had good core ideas.
Honestly, at this point there isn’t one outstanding design. It’s a fairly even selection, so the refinement of the ideas and designs and the results of the prototypes will be very important. I hope everyone works hard on these.

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Tsuyoshi Tane (Founder of Atelier Tsuyoshi Tane Architects / Architect)

There were many designs whose concept failed to depart from the shape of “♡” when interpreting the meaning of this year’s theme into an idea. On the other hand, there were also many designs that were highly emotional, and I feel that during our discussion while judging we unlocked some of the possibilities of that.
When judging, I myself considered if the designs had great appeal that surpasses the functionality or use expected of the product. In the Final Judging, I look forward to seeing not just ideas, but the overall quality of the techniques, aesthetics, materials, and production methods used to make them a reality.

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Teruhiro Yanagihara (Designer)

I considered while I was judging whether the designs had poetic charm that reflected the theme of “♡,” and whether they had backgrounds and stories. I also considered whether there was meaning for KOKUYO in making the product, and if it would sell.
I hope that the finalists create an opportunity themselves to tell their designs’ stories to the fullest. I anticipate passionate presentations that will make us feel their "♡."

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Yoshie Watanabe (Art Director & Designer at KIGI Co., Ltd.)

I particularly kept an eye out for designs that had a new point of view and designs that I would be happy to see become commercial products while judging. I believe the ideas we chose to remain as finalists were witty while being tender. I felt that the process of narrowing down the entries while discussing with the other judges was even more interesting than in previous years.
I look forward to seeing how the finalists make their prototypes and how they put together their presentations for the Final Judging. At this stage, we still don’t know who will win the award, so I anticipate the revisions and improvements on their designs.