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Yugo Nakamura is one of Japan’s leading web designers, who is getting recognized more and more from around the world. He has just won the Grand Prix of Cyber Lion at the 51st annual Cannes Lions Festival. The Shift cover design for this month is a clay animation piece by him! He always surprises us with his unique ideas as well as his distinguished programming skills. Where do the ideas come from? We seek the answer, by asking him about the background story of his projects.

First, could you introduce yourself?

Yugo nakamura. I live in Tokyo. I’m involved in a variety of projects on the web as a director, designer, engineer, and coder. In short, I do anything.

What are you doing recently?

As always, I’m involved in interface design here and there. Recently, I’ve got an interest in animation again so I started making it as well.

Congratulation for the Grand Prix of Cyber Lions of Cannes Lions with “NEC Ecotonoha“.

Thank you. I’m very happy.

Are you satisfied with this project?

Of course I’m happy to win such a prestigious prize but the best thing was that I was able to receive some very interesting reactions from various users. For me, it was very interesting that Ecotonoha was utilized as we expected, but that some unexpected reactions also came out.

would you tell me the concept of the project and the points of importance?

– A shape is formed by a group of people unexpectedly, and with fun. It’s a system where people enjoy the connection and the difference.
– It’s a stage to keep an entirely positive atmosphere. It’s a community orientation lead by a “shape”.
– Rythmn with which the web site works. Designing the time. A leaf can appear by a person each day. Habitualization as a daily task. It’s the design within the time at regular intervals, which can’t be realized with other media such as TV.
– To solve all the factors from the presentation of the entire concept to the details of “How to use” with one interface. To keep it strictly “simple”. To build a simple interaction with various facets.

Could you introduce the projects which you have done recently?

It’s a portfolio site of an architect design office “Intentionallies”. Super linear construction. Flexible interface with card metaphoring.

Nike Art of Speed
I contributed some artwork for the compilation DVD. It’s an interactive illustration taking relativity of “speed” as the theme.

It’s a web site visualizing the activity on the internet with focus on the blog. It’s the object connected with Aggregator.

Context Viewer for “Kanshin Kukan (Interest Space)”
It’s a visual browser which visualizes the context within registered “keywords” in Japanese pioneering contextual community “Kanshin Kukan” service. It’s still under construction but its beta version is now running.

Could you tell me your favourite project/web site which you have done so far?

Sony – Camcamtime
(This project has alreay closed but you can see the slide show demo from the above link) It’s a visual clock on the web which is generated from video contribution from users. I was losing my way not having the idea “what the design is” at that time but this project gave me an opportunity to find how to be with “my” design.

What do you care for the most when you work for a (cooperate) site?

To have a dialogue. I usually seek new motivation within a certain restriction so the dialogue is very important to me. Opportunities for various ideas come from casual dialogue.

Your web site always surprise us with not only the flash/programme skills but also your unique ideas. Where do you get such inspiration?

While at work, I find it out while I’m moving my hands. I treasure a flash which hits me while at work or a shape which appears accidentally because of a bug. It won’t be an interesting thing if every plan in my head is realized as scheduled. In a way, it’s “luck”.

Tell me the web designer/site which you are watching recently?

There are too much to pick one but I’m a big fan of Hooger Brudge from a long time ago. I like everything from their idea to its details. I want to create such non-logical simple “fan”.

What’s your future vision?

I want to make my own web site better. I’m always to busy, so my web site hasn’t been touched for almost two years. It’s so sad. I’m thinking to force myself to update it before this article is on Shift but I’m not sure how it would be… I want to create and mess the web site up just as I like and feel.

Yugo Nakamura

Text and Translation: Naoko Fukushi

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