The 18th Yusaku Kamekura Design Award MIKI Ken

Award-winning work: Publicity posters for solo exhibition “APPLE+” (cl: DNP Foundation for Cultural Promotion)(cl: Tokyo Design Week)

Message from the awardee

I was once asked what my favorite poster is, and I replied the official posters from the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games. I still feel that way. One consists of a huge red dot representing the Japanese flag combined with the five “Olympic rings” all in gold; another captures the instant sprinters spring from their starting blocks. Every time I see those posters, I’m always filled with joy, proud to be Japanese. Even today, despite the long passage of time since they were created, these posters still dazzle, never losing their luster. My own creations are quite different: as time passes, I often find myself reflecting ruefully over my earlier designs. It’s strange, I think, how it’s only after time has passed that I make such realizations, but I like to take a positive view and tell myself that perhaps I’ve grown a bit in the interim. Lately I have a powerful desire to create designs that can withstand long measures of time without fading.
AUDREY, featured in the works for which I received this award, is a brand of sweets made mostly of chocolate and strawberries. AUDREY’s first shop opened in the Takashimaya Department Store in Yokohama, and the second in the same store’s main branch in the Nihombashi area of Tokyo. Happily, both shops are so popular that before Christmas and Valentine’s Day, fairly long lines of shoppers form. When I was a child, I treasured the paper used to wrap candy and chocolates and the wrapping paper and boxes of the different department stores, all so beautifully designed. How happy it would make me if someone were to cherish the AUDREY package designs that I create in the same way. But what I always try to express isn’t just something that’s pretty, but something that stands on its own as a design. Mine is a job I’m truly grateful for. Making the client or its customers happy, and being able to create designs, makes me happy. On top of all that, now I’ve won an award like this. It will serve as an inspiration for me to strive to get more and more people to know about AUDREY. It will also serve as an impetus for me to reexamine my creations objectively. Whether walking at a leisurely pace or running, I’m eager to continue on my path forward.

Ken Miki

Yoshie Watanabe

Born in Yamaguchi Prefecture in 1961. Graduated from Yamaguchi University. In 1986 she joined the Satoru Miyata Design Office (now, DRAFT). In 2012 she established KIGI together with Ryosuke Uehara. Besides her graphic design work, Watanabe continues to serve as director of DRAFT’s “D-BROS” product brand. In 2013 she launched the “CACUMA” clothing brand together with Hobo Nikkan Itoi Shinbun (Hobonichi), an “almost-daily” newspaper published by Shigesato Itoi. In 2014 with Uehara she launched the “KIKOF” product brand – currently encompassing ceramics, furniture and cloth products – in partnership with artisans of traditional crafts based in Shiga Prefecture. As part of her design activities, she actively creates artworks and holds exhibitions. In 2015 Watanabe and Uehara, together with several creative partner businesses, opened OUR FAVOURITE SHOP, a shop & gallery in Tokyo’s Shirokane area that displays and sells products designed by KIGI. Watanabe’s publications to date include “BROOCH” (text by Yayako Uchida), “JOURNEY” (poetry by Hiroshi Osada; jewelry by Etsuko Sonobe), “UN DEUX” (text by Naomi Takayama), “Only yours: Little Red Riding Hood, The Nutcracker, and Alice in Wonderland” (text by Takashi Ando), and two collections of KIGI’s works: “KIGI” and “KIGI_M” (publisher: Little More). Awards Watanabe has received (chiefly as KIGI) to date include the Tokyo ADC Grand Prize, a D&AD Yellow Pencil (Gold Award), a Gold Pencil at ONE SHOW, and a New York ADC Gold Prize. (as of January 2017)

Publication: Graphic Design in Japan 2017 (June 2017)