Gerd Baumann (Germany)

Order and intuition: Siemens' Brand

In the beautifully 'Visualogued' conference room with four large screens, German designers Baumann dually shared their philosophy of design in the context of a 3 year long identity project for Siemens. The size of the project -Siemens is the largest company in Germany-required a complete understanding of the company, which the designers referred to as the Siemens Profile finding the term corporate identity an inappropriate description. Quoting Aristotle's "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts" the designers stressed the importance of getting it right before the design rules and codes are implemented. Two seemingly opposite themes became apparent in their process: science, logic and order and intuition and nature. Examples from Michelangelo, the golden rule, architecture, mathematics and science described the former, examples of painting, sculpture and haiku the latter. The tension created between the two is important it opens the door to new possibilities and solutions. Since Siemens is a large, global company, it was extremely important for the designers to remain open to these new possibilities. The commonality between the two approaches was order. The designers emphasized the delicate balance needed on order to effectively "make the human life human" in their designs. These analogue elements of life will never be replaced by the order of the digital, but new media and technology as a tool is useful in understanding and managing the growing complexities of life. Such is reflected in the brand of Siemens. (RZ)

Shin Matsunaga (Japan)

Starting from zero

Commenting designers Baumann's beautiful and well - organized presentation, Matsunaga-san apologized for his presentation and asked for patience from the audience. But there was no need as the images that followed in the 20 minute show were equally beautiful and well thought out. Matsunaga let his 36 years of work speak for himself. Images from his book, "Graphic Cosmos, the Work of Shin Matsunaga", danced across the screens in sync to the soundtrack, revealing a strong sense of simple shape, strong line and vivid use of color. Many of his designs, ranging from environments, products, sculptures, packages, books, and logotypes, can be found on the store shelves and homes of Japan today. After viewing the presentation he commented on how now, after years, he is able to look at his body of work and feel good. In his college days, his design program covered a wide spread of arts and crafts and looking back, appreciated the value now as a graphic designer. A little painter and a little artist is how he described himself. After 64 Olympics, he opened his own design office, beginning from zero. Risk was important, teaching him not to spare anything when developing a design. (RZ)

Katsunori Aoki (Japan), Kashiwa Sato (Japan)

Border breaking communication

Katsunori Aoki and Kashiwa Sato presented their stimmulating works to a fully crowded auditorium, which is proof of their famous image among the Japanese design society. Among their clients since 15 years work experience are outstanding names, e.g. Kirin Lager Beer, Smap , AIWA, Chibi Lemon drink, Shiseido, Parco fashion stores, and others. Both presented exciting creative solutions for commercials and other medias which documentate their belief that art direction allows experimental projects for outstanding communications. They also think that their way of creative art direction has more effects and better results than corporate identity or packaging alone. Aoki's and Sato's approach for company communication or branding comes from an integrated strategy to see communication and branding as a whole, which includes everything, e.g. identity, writing, packaging, ads, animations, posters etc. They perform all aspects of striking art direction, covering as well product development and space design. In their works they build a new relationship between products and art direction through versatile use of icons representing a clear, simple and therefore strong visual image in all phases of communication. They very much believe that creative art direction allows border breaking communication solutions. Not surprisingly they have won many high ranking awards in various catergories, e.g. Tokyo Type Directors Club Gold Prize or Japan Package Design Golden Award. (HL)

Dr. Robert Moog (USA)
Moderator: Ichiro Higashiizumi (Japan), Taku Satoh (Japan), Tom Vincent (UK)

Interpreting interactivity

In a room filled to capacity, moderators Ichiro Higashizumi, Taku Satoh and Tom Vincent began the session with a short discussion on what interactive design means to each designer. After setting the context, Dr. Robert Moog joined the three. Conversation ran the gamut, frequently touching base on the session topic 'Interactive design that manipulates the senses'. Meaningful was the joint interpretation on the definition of interactive design. It was a definition that weaves its way through various design disciplines, references 'interaction' and involves the five senses on an individual level.
Higashizumi's metaphor of a cat beautifully illustrates this: Imagine meeting a cat in the alley. When it sees you it runs away, stopping after reaching a safer distance. It turns to look at you. You stretch out your hand, it backs up. You move forward, it moves forward. You stand still, it stands still. That relationship is interaction design, a "tug of war" between person, animal, environment, and object. Interactive design though a popular term, is not specific to a certain design discipline. It has a reference to 'use' and therefore can be understood through various disciplines. Originally thought of in a PC "click-click" environment it is inherent in all types of design and its interpretation depends on specific individual experiences -a theme that is recurring throughout the conference.
Later, Dr. Moog talked of the challenge in developing the interface between the musician and the control panel. The final solution involved smart haptic feedback between the user and the knobs, patch cords, switches and dials. "Most of us react to objects on a level below the surface, how it feels, how it sounds, what it feels like-all these things together effect our perception. I don't think any one of these is more important than the other". When asked "why did you get involved in music?" he had an interesting reply: curiosity and a desire to animate electronic circuitry, to answer the question "What sound could this piece of wire make?" In this way, Robert Moog who describes himself as an engineer, is a designer as well.(RZ)

Bill Buxton (Canada), Anirudha Joshi (India), Steve Kaneko (USA), Takehiko Katsuo (Japan)

From Noise to Experience Design

All design is about creating experiences, whether you call it interface design, interaction design, product design or any of the other flavors of job title in the design field. Steve Kaneko's group at Microsoft starts by developing an understanding of who will use their product, then looks at the context in which the product will be used to help them create scenarios or storyboards of how a product will be used. Scenarios help them define what the product should do, which in turn helps them decide what form the product should take and what technology is appropriate. Starting from this point of understanding needs and context is crucial for any kind of design, including graphic design. Bill Buxton explicitly makes the connection between experience design and graphic design by pointing out that page layout involves the same principles of experience design: acting as a director of the reader's movement through an information space, the designer guides the eye to focus through a series of moments throughout the layout or document, using graphic language to control timing and emphasis, as well as the interpretive nuances that will support and enhance the message. Without such guidance, or sense-making that the designer contributes, what we are dealing with is not information, but mere data or possibly noise. Buxton describes five states that input can be at: noise, data, information, knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. Terms such as the information society, information superhighway, information technology are misleading: unless the visual and audio information we take in constitute something that a person can use to make an informed decision, then we are in fact talking not about information, but at best about data, and possibly just about noise, a condition that sadly describes our information society.(GW)

Masahiko Sato (Japan)

Graphic Sound: Sound Design and Sato

Sato Masahiko began his presentation by describing his life in the world of design.
He had a great interest in expressing things though was poor at painting. As a boy he collected interesting images of package design - attractive cardboard boxes, tickets, subway schedules, seat layouts but could not use a ruler well. "What am I interested in?" He would ask himself. What he discovered was his interest in a creating a method of creating. So what does that make him? What that makes Masahiko-san is a sound designer. His sounds always accompany imagery, specifically film, another childhood interest, yet it is the sound which creates the impact of the piece. In fact, the creative process or approach for each project (almost 300 to date) begins with the selection of sound. He refers to this approach as a method. Another method is his use of reductionism throughout his work. His commercials are quite simple in visual appearance, only partial elements or simple set ups are used. It is the addition of sound that makes them rich and appealing, specifically the rhythmic, catchy and emotionally familiar sounds he chooses. Masahiko-san's sound is symbolic, or iconic. It sits in a context, and needs a context to be understood. He is well aware of this context and uses it to create incredibly powerful commercial designs. He is now passing his 'methodology' down to his students. (RZ)

Writer:Kosuke Ikehata/Norimitsu Korekata/Junko Sakamoto/Nobuko Shimuta/Naoko Hasegawa/Osamu Hisanaga/Sakurako Muto/Naho Yoshioka/Helmut Langer/Maggie Hohle/Nicole Rechia/Trysh Wahlig/Gitte Waldman/Robert Zolna
Photographer:Yoshimitsu Asai/Yasuhiko Katsuta/Fumihiko Mizutani