On Design for July 2012


Today is “On Design” day (the last Tuesday of the month), and that means that my monthly column is in today’s edition of The Japan Times, and online here.

What’s “On Design”? It’s a column that I’ve been writing for the JT for seven years now (this September will mark the true 7th anniversary). It has a pretty simple structure: each month I highlight — or recommend, if you will — five products. I have occasionally ventured outside of that template, but not often. It seems that people prefer a “buyer’s guide,” instead of a look at the design scene, which is in part what I originally envisioned for it.

Something that a lot of people don’t realize — and to be honest, that means that they don’t really read it — is that I only cover Japanese design. That means the product (or line) that I include is either produced by a Japanese company, or is created by a Japanese designer (it was possibly then produced by a non-Japanese company). Some would say that it limits me to do it that way, but Japanese design — specifically — is what got me interested in design in the first place, and I always felt that there wasn’t enough coverage in English — which I don’t think is the case anymore, what with the explosion of design blogs we’ve seen over the past few years, all hungry for content.

But despite that, I continue to do it, and it’s the only regular piece of freelance writing I still do (because of my full-time engagement with PechaKucha). I think there’s also a sense of “loyalty” or “duty” I feel in doing it, for whatever that’s worth.

Now go and get something nice for yourself.