Dec. 25, 2020

KOKUYO DESIGN AWARD 2021 Finalists Announced !

The KOKUYO DESIGN AWARD 2021 accepted designs based on the theme of “POST-NORMAL” between August 21 and October 19, 2020. During that time, we received 1,401 entries (795 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 13, 2021, 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.
The Final Judging and Award Ceremony will be streamed live on YouTube.
We’ll release the link for the streaming at a later date.

〈 Finalist 〉

Application Number Title Designer Name
KDA2021-0589UCC-28584 Leaden, the sensory pencil collection Soh YunPing
KDA2021-0860YUU-48633 Ghost Beans Yuliia Polozova
KDA2021-0956VVV-34684 RAE Milla & Erlend(Milla Eveliina Niskakoski, Erlend Storsul Opdahl)
KDA2021-1017UHW-26025 Caliper for kids Koji Yamaura
KDA2021-1145VJJ-33892 Package of pen, Pen of package Taito Hasegawa
KDA2021-1171KPP-33486 NURIKAMI ‒Spreading paper‒ NEW+YOSHIOKA (Shunta Sakamoto, Shunsuke Yoshioka)
KDA2021-1187MUJ-52939 drop Daichi Sawamura
KDA2021-1268BND-26044 L-Measure Kei Aoki
KDA2021-1286XJJ-27293 MULTI COLOR VISION raw (Nanae Ishikawa, Kento Unemi)
KDA2021-1620AZZ-54706 Study Partner Bottle Yasuaki Matsuura

〈 Messages from the Judges 〉

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

There are many more details to a design besides the ideas—things like the form, texture, and materials. I gained some valuable insights through the judging. These include points of view that go against the way products up to now have pursued convenience above all else, and a design that integrates ancient traditions into our daily lives from a new perspective. That said, there are still many things that remain to be considered in terms of what the entries are like as product designs. I hope to see further refinements in time for the Final Judging.

Masashi Kawamura (Chief Creative Officer of Whatever)

We received a wide variety of entries, and I based my judging on the following three points: 1. Is the design beautiful?; 2. Does it involve a leap of ideas?; and 3. Does it understand the theme, and answer it through its design? None of the selected entries are “complete” yet. They can still be refined in the process of making prototypes. I want the finalists to think of this as just the start, and aim to up the quality of their entries.

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

With the theme being “POST-NORMAL,” I feel that we received more concrete proposals than last year. Still, I can’t deny that I’ve also seen many entries that’ve made minor changes to some everyday items. When judging, I focused my attention on finding entries that understand KOKUYO’s characteristics, and have a long-term vision that values standards and quality, rather than ones that’ll be just flash-in-the-pan hits. Seeing the actual items will have a significant impact on the outcome of the Final Judging. I want the finalists to propose their products not only from the perspective of “using” them, but also from a broader, social perspective that takes into consideration other issues that a design needs to address, like production, distribution, sales, consumption, recycling, and the environment.

Teruhiro Yanagihara (Designer)

I got the impression that we’d gotten such a wide variety of entries because each entrant had interpreted “POST-NORMAL” differently. Based on the premise that KOKUYO will turn the winners into commercial products, I chose entries by focusing on whether their designs would be valuable as products. In the Final Judging, I’m hoping the finalists give presentations that make good use of their individuality, because the judges all have their own points of view. I’m looking forward to it.

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

I got the impression that we’d received many concrete proposals that went beyond simple ideas. In the process of judging, I considered the entries comprehensively from various perspectives: for example, whether people “today” will want them, whether they’re outstanding as designs, whether they can be commercialized, and whether the ideas are interesting. The entries’ level of completion skyrockets in the Final Judging every year, so I have high expectations for this year, too. I’m really excited, because the entries are so varied.