Design Legends ("DL") had the distinct honour to interview legendary designer Masaru Eguchi ("ME") for their original perspective and innovative approach to design as well as their creative lifestyle, we are very pleased to share our interview with our distinguished readers.

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?

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.

DL: What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?

ME : I thought if I understood design, I could improve the performance of the designers who were around me.

DL: Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?

ME : I can't say either way. If I had met some very talented designers, I wouldn't have become a designer. It's that kind of environment that compelled me to become a designer.

DL: What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?

ME : I design social design, product design, branding design, graphic design, websites, applications, all sorts of things. These days, I'm also training designers.

DL: What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?

ME : Trying new things while learning from history.

DL: What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?

ME : A good designer should be able to solve the problem and bring benefits to the client. In addition to this, a great designer has to create new values and change the conventions of the past.

DL: What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?

ME : Be beautiful for hundreds of years. So, it takes time for the design to have real value.

DL: What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?

ME : That's the difference between an ape and a human. If you want to be a monkey, you don't have to invest in design.

DL: What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?

ME : In April 2020, we are facing a crisis like we have never experienced before. Everyone has to stay home. You have to be happy to stay at home. So, I've started distributing content for that on Youtube.

DL: What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?

ME : That's a difficult question to answer. I want to design something that moves me in a way that humans haven't experienced yet, but I don't know what it is. It's working for the time being, though.

DL: What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?

ME : Move! Trying new things. Don't stick to the must-win patterns of the past.

DL: Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?

ME : There are just too many to answer. Renaissance artists, William Morris, Arts and Crafts, Bauhaus, Helmut Schmidt, Emil Ruder, I'm influenced by a lot of people. In Japan, I am also influenced by Korin Ogata, Hokusai Katsushika, Yusaku Kamekura and Kenya Hara. Sorry, I can't even begin to describe it.

DL: What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?

ME : My latest favorite is the Swedish brand Jonas. The kitchen tools are amazingly good.

DL: What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?

ME : Nature. I can't think of anything so functional and beautifully shaped in a man-made object that wasn't designed for it.

DL: How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?

ME : I have studied history, observed nature and people, thought about it, executed and improved. It's especially important to learn the classics.

DL: If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?

ME : Psychologist.

DL: How do you define design, what is design for you?

ME : It's planning and execution. What is not designed does not exist in this society. However, all things are divided into "good design" and "bad design". A good design is one in which planning and execution are working effectively, and a bad design is one in which they are not working effectively. A good designer is good at planning and execution.

DL: Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?

ME : The greats of the past and ancient writings.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?

ME : My talent, my hard work, my luck, and my clients.

DL: What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?

ME : Kidney Disease. Because if I had died, I wouldn't have become a designer.

DL: How do you think designers should present their work?

ME : It's all about winning awards, using social media, and advertising.

DL: What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?

ME : It's a secret. It's something to be excited about.

DL: What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?

ME : There is always something new to discover.

DL: What people expect from an esteemed designer such as yourself?

ME : To sell the client's products through design.

DL: How does design help create a better society?

ME : It gives wisdom and inspiration.

DL: What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?

ME : Youtube and VLOG.

DL: Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?

ME : There is none. Because as time goes on, I'm discovering the bad points.

DL: What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?

ME : Raise the budget. And just because an app is convenient, there's too much for designers to do, too many bad designers.

DL: Where do you think the design field is headed next?

ME : To be able to deliver value even when it's far away. This is especially necessary in the tourism industry, where designs need to be created that allow tourists to experience tourism without having to go there. The destruction of nature in the tourism industry is horrible.

DL: How long does it take you to finalize a design project?

ME : It is up to the deadline.

DL: When you have a new design project, where do you start?

ME : Site visits and observations.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?

ME : Take history, improve it, and pass it on to the next generation. It is because of the greats of the past that we are able to design today, and as a member of history, we have to leave good design for the next generation.

DL: Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?

ME : Design sets the trend. A trend is a trend of the people. If something designed first (a product, an idea, a politics, a culture, etc.) doesn't influence people, then a trend won't be born.

DL: What is the role of technology when you design?

ME : It's about making production easy and making new discoveries.

DL: What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?

ME : Adobe CC, Apple, iPhone, Camera.

DL: What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?

ME : They work on the human senses and prompt action. A product or ad designed to say "I'm good," speaks to the user.

DL: What do you wish people to ask about your design?

ME : Nothing. If there's anything to be said for it, it's that the design isn't working.

DL: When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?

ME : Let ’s use! I'm just curious.

DL: Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?

ME : It's a person with whom we can influence each other and work comfortably. I believe in co-design, but so far, I haven't been able to.

DL: Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?

ME : Katsuya Kawata. He's my mentor. There are so many people I've never met...Renaissance, William Morris, Emil Ruder, Helmut Schmidt, Yusaku Kamekura, Kenya Hara, Korin Ogata, Hokusai Katsushika. There's more.

DL: Which books you read had the most effect on your design?

ME : “Dictionary of aesthetician’s” written by Kenichi Sasaki. “The Hojyoki” written by Kamo no Chomei.

DL: How did you develop your skills as a master designer?

ME : Observe, think, do, and improve. It's important to move anyway.

DL: Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?

ME : Leonardo da Vinci. He's the only one I can't imagine. He may have been stern, he may have been mischievous, he may have been one person, he may have been a collective. Maybe he didn't even exist, I don't know. Anyway, I'm very interested.

DL: How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?

ME : I consider myself fortunate.

DL: What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?

ME : Black, nature, water yokan (Japanese sweets), autumn.

DL: Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?

ME : I've never had a good time. Creating a great design is just a little bit of pleasure beyond the suffering, sacrifice and trials.

DL: What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?

ME : There is nothing but a sense of mission. We are striving to use our God-given talents. If you have to motivate yourself on purpose, you should quit being a designer.

DL: When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?

ME : I didn't imagine it, but I guess it was a no-brainer. I think I got lucky.

DL: What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?

ME : I think it's better than it is now. That's what we're designing for.

DL: Please tell us anything you wish your fans to know about you, your design and anything else?

ME : If you want great design, be kind to people, eat good food, take a warm bath, and get a good night's sleep.



The Japanese Forest Photography

The Japanese Forest Photography by Masaru Eguchi

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