About Masaru Eguchi

Masaru Eguchi started photography in 2002 and won domestic and foreign awards as a photographer. Design career is from 2006. As a designer, he has designed the world's No. 1 badminton racket maker, stationery brand design, traditional Japanese technology brand design, and social business design. Later he founded the design office "Sunpono" in 2016. He sees the "health of the business" as improving the profits of the business and improving the well-being of the workers and the people living in it.

Interview with Masaru Eguchi

Masaru Eguchi ("ME") interviewed on Friday, 8 May.

Could you please tell us about your experience as a designer, artist, architect or creator?

ME : I started taking pictures when I was a college student. I studied psychology in college and after graduating, I began my career as a photographer, winning national and international awards. Later, I also became a designer, designing badminton rackets for the world's number one market share and branding design for a social business, which won the Red Dot Award in 2019.

How did you become a designer?

ME : I thought if I understood design, I could improve the performance of the designers who were around me. Then I started designing. I had fun and I was good at it. Now I’m even better at it.

What are your priorities, technique and style when designing?

ME : It's about observing, thinking, doing, and improving. I want to make something that I haven't seen yet. And don't cling to past success patterns. If you want to create something new, you have to do something new.

Which emotions do you feel when designing?

ME : It's fun at first, but it's a long period of hard, painful trials because the constraints increase as the design progresses. I'm happy when it's finished, but that happiness doesn't last. Mass production produces a range of good and bad products, so it's not the best. So, the happy part is the first and the moment I get my reward.

What particular aspects of your background shaped you as a designer?

ME : Believe in myself, even if all the people in the world don't believe in my abilities. Especially when you live in Japan, individuality is suppressed. People who do design and art are considered to be dim-witted or high-handed. In order to continue being a creator in such a country, you need to have the ability to believe in yourself.

What is your growth path? What are your future plans? What is your dream design project?

ME : I want to design for people overseas. I'm tired of being in Japan now. Being a designer or creator in Japan is a lot of hard work. I'd love to go to a country that believes in the power of design. I want to feel that my work is contributing to people's happiness.

What are your advices to designers who are at the beginning of their career?

ME : If you want to be successful, you'd better read the classics, study history, and observe nature. I've talked to a lot of people, but the future is anybody's guess. That is, no one knows what their own future career will be. So, experiencing what has remained for hundreds or thousands of years is a sure step to success.

You are truly successful as a designer, what do you suggest to fellow designers, artists and architects?

ME : You don't want to take the easy way out. Always looking for the best will lead to success. The reason there are so many similar designs around the world is because designers around the world are choosing to do things the cheap way. That may be more true of countries with lower labor productivity. It's just that Japanese design sucks these days. We don't have the time or money to design. So there is no motivation to create new designs. If you want to create a new design without losing motivation, you have to look to history and find your people in historical figures. So, I'd recommend the classics. If you want to try a new design, read the classics.

What is your day to day look like?

ME : My day is so mundane that people might be surprised. You may be surprised to learn that I don't do much work. Wake up in the morning, have breakfast, study English, work, eat lunch, go for a walk, take a nap, work, go for a walk, eat dinner, take a bath, go to bed. For the most part, I live by a set routine. Now I've noticed something. Maybe it's the lack of harshness that allows me to try difficult designs. Making peace with your routine is the best advice for staying creative.

How do you keep up with latest design trends? To what extent do design trends matter?

ME : You can chase design trends, but don't let them dominate you. If someone can do the job, someone else can do it. But it's dangerous to not know the trends. If you don't know the trends, you won't be able to predict what kind of people will be happy with the products and services you're going to design, or who will buy them. No, you're not designing something that will be purchased by people a thousand years from now, are you? There's another dangerous reason not to know the trends. That is the danger of designing something that is already in the world. If you want to do a new design, you have to know the old one. Because trends are old the moment they become a trend. I don't want to make something like that.

How do you know if a product or project is well designed? How do you define good design?

ME : Every design must solve a problem. For example, a chair should have the ability to sit. However, there is one more important thing. It's a beauty to look at. Surrounded by beautifully designed things, one's mind becomes peaceful and enriched. If you lived in a wasteland or a ruin, your heart would be in a bad. Also, if you were living in a harsh environment, you would be a harsh person. Society is made up of design. So, when you live in a society that is poorly designed, its people get rough heart. Design is a way of developing human beings intellectually and enriching their minds. That's why good design is both functional and beautiful.

How do you decide if your design is ready?

ME : It's up to the deadline. By the deadline, the design had to be functional and figurative. And sold. Then, as the design can be improved, it will be improved. In that sense, there is no end to the design. The design goes on as society goes on. It never ends.

What is your biggest design work?

ME : This question is a tough one. I like every piece of design work, and I can say that it can be improved. The Yonex badminton racket, the branding design for the Satoyama Marugoto Hotel, The Japanese Forest, and all the other pieces are still in the process of being improved. That's partly because of my own growth and partly because of the changes in society.

Who is your favourite designer?

ME : Artists of the Renaissance. Especially Leonardo da Vinci. I like it a lot. The reason for this is that I can't imagine him. Maybe he was really there, maybe he was alone, maybe it was the name of the organization. I like people who are able to influence people even after they're dead. There were a lot of good artists and designers in Japan. Yusaku Kamekura, Makoto Wada, Jakuchu Ito, Korin Ogata, etc. Also, I was influenced by Helmut Schmid, Emil Ruder and William Morris. If you're a living person, I like Hedi Slimane.

Would you tell us a bit about your lifestyle and culture?

ME : I was born and grew up in Japan and I still live in Japan. I'm very influenced by Japanese culture. It's all about bringing in natural elements. Japanese people have a very sensitive image, don't they? But it's pretty decent. I've learned the art of tea ceremony and I've learned it. It' s too important to cherish the form, and the meaning of the form is not fixed. So people have their own interpretations of it. This is a country where it's allowed.

Would you tell us more about your work culture and business philosophy?

ME : Having a work ethic. What I design has to be a benefit to the client and to the user. This is very important, because if left alone, humans will only work for their own benefit. If a client is only talking about his or her own benefit, I'm scolding him or her. Also, when deciding on a design, there is no majority vote. There are times when I take advice, but it's up to me to decide whether or not to adopt that advice. And I also decide on the design. Without this, I know from experience that client-driven work will turn out to be a terrible design. So, what I design is my own decision.

What are your philanthropic contributions to society as a designer, artist and architect?

ME : We have a mission to pass on our history, to improve it, and to pass it on to the next generation. I see this as our mission as a human being. That's why I've been so generous with my knowledge and skills, and I'm trying to develop a younger generation of designers. In addition, I try to talk about the idea of design when I have conversations with people who are not designers. Because the idea of design is useful to society.

What positive experiences you had when you attend the A’ Design Award?

ME : Participating in a design award is a good thing. First, it allows me to test my abilities. It's important that what you design impresses people and makes a profit, but if you get the hang of it, anyone can do it. But in order to find out where you stand among designers and creators around the world, you need to put your work in a place where the world's designs are gathered. The second good thing is that I get to experience a world that I don't know about. We have better insight into the future than others, but the vision of the future that we see is different from the vision that other designers see. To figure out and learn about this difference, it's better to participate in a design award. Finally, there are other people around the world who are just like me. All creators, including designers, are lonely. They are often perceived by the public as high-handed and stubborn. But when you look at designs from all over the world, you realize that there are others who are struggling as lonely as you are.This is a great encouragement.

Masaru Eguchi Profile

The Japanese Forest Photography

The Japanese Forest Photography design by Masaru Eguchi


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