Minoru Yoshida is the man behind design barcode, winner of the 2006 Cannes Titanium Lion prize. His company, d-barcode, is located in Tokyo. Aside from creating functioning barcode designs, d-barcode is also a creative advertising agency holding famous brands.
We had a chance to sit down with Mr. Yoshida and ask him about those barcodes of his, as well as his thoughts on advertising.
This is Part 1 of the interview – interview was conducted in Japanese
What was your first design barcode printed on?
It was on the launch of Suntory’s Amino and Catechin formula drinks. I simultaneously released our book, Barcode Revolution on the same day to kick off the design barcode project. I had 6000 copies of the book printed, telling myself each one was a salesman for d-barcode.
How about a classic design barcode story?
One of our clients got a letter from an employee at a convenient store that said “seeing a designed barcode from time to time at the register makes my normally boring job a little more fun!”
Another time, an acquaintance of mine came up to me and said, “you know, your recent barcode design for XX was boring” – proof that the expectation of the barcode had already begun to change. I couldn’t have been happier.
What takes the most sensitivity and concentration in your work?
The coexistence of being bold and being discrete. We constantly deal with the trade off between being as bold and unconventional as possible while also being discrete and prudent. This applies to design barcodes as well as the other work we do.
What do you think differentiates d-barcode’s work?
I think d-barcode’s slogan, “Big ideas are small.”
Ideas that convert in to value are “big ideas.”
In the advertising world, some people aim to hit the big idea by having big plans and big budgets, but that’s just a big campaign – not a big idea.
What led you to this career path?
As a kid, I was a soccer player. I even played in the All Japan High School Soccer Tournament and was serious about going pro. At the time, I hadn’t given a thought to what kind of work I would be doing in the future.
In soccer, I loved to dribble and feint (faking out your opponent through dribbling and complex footwork). The sensation of outmaneuvering an opponent on the field – the ecstatic feeling within, the shock of the opponent, the roar of the crowd – it’s very close to the relationship between creator and consumer in the advertising work I do now.
When I was a sophomore in college, I went to England to go try out for a professional soccer team. In the end, I didn’t make the cut so I came back to Japan and began thinking about what kind of career I was going to pursue. The advertisements and creative that came in to my everyday life as a consumer were exciting to me, so I made the best of the English skills I picked up while abroad and I started out in account management at J. Walter Thompson (now JWT).
What’s most important to you as a creative?
To create things that outmaneuver expectations, are full of wit, and delight.
Continue to Part 2 of the interivew
Original story in Japanese by Masashi Konishi
Translated to English by KM
VN:F [1.9.7_1111]Design Barcode: Outwitting the expected,