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Kotoshogiku ends 10-year wait for Japanese champion

» Japan, Sports


Ozeki Kotoshogiku, above, won the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament on Sunday to become the first Japanese rikishi to take the title since Tochiazuma won at the same tournament back in 2006.

Although he's been inconsistent during his nearly five years as an ozeki, his title and current form have raised the question of whether he could be promoted to the sport's highest rank of yokozuna after the next tournament in March.

The sport has been dominated by Mongolian fighters, especially yokozuna Asashoryu and Hakuho, the latter of which has become the greatest yokozuna ever and is still going strong. It's worrying for some that no Japanese rikishi has won the title since 2006, but only two Japanese born fighters have won since May 2003.

As former great Chiyonofuji said in an interview, "[w]e’ve waited a long time. (But) the ones giving the most in practice are the Mongolians, so don’t expect things to change much.”

How to respond helpfully to a "make the design pop" request

» Branding advice series, Graphic design, Work

"Make it pop" is apparently one of the most feared requests that graphic designers receive from clients, along with its variants. If you hear it from a client, you might be tempted to roll your eyes or start pulling your hair out. You might then start playing around with your design - making colours stronger, trying different "bolder" fonts, or altering the hierarchy - and send it back hoping it pops enough for the clients.

There's an easier and less stressful way of dealing with it, though.

What is "pop"?

Opinions vary on this and the main opinion that matters to clients is their own. After all, they're the ones who're going to have to use the design.

Continue reading "How to respond helpfully to a "make the design pop" request" »

Act in good faith, or don't act

» Branding advice series, Inspiration, Life, Marketing, Work, Zen

"Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire."

- Confucius


It's very easy to give advice when you're not the one who has to act upon it.

It's easy to point fingers, find fault and blame everything and everyone else, but it's also incredibly hypocritical if you don't follow your own advice.

Continue reading "Act in good faith, or don't act" »

Bad habits that destroy productivity and motivation

» Branding advice series, Inspiration, Work

Do you start projects full of motivation, but never get them finished (especially around this time of year)? Do you find yourself getting easily distracted? I do, and I've identified four big things that destroy my productivity and motivation and, more importantly, how to deal with them.

Continue reading "Bad habits that destroy productivity and motivation" »

Brand Glue coming soon

» Brand Glue, Branding, Studio

Brand GlueWe're happy to announce that our Brand Glue project is finally coming to life!

In case you haven't already read about it, it's a consulting and training program designed to help businesses and self-employed professionals create strong, cohesive brands.

It's released as a self-study program on a monthly basis, including materials, assignments, projects and case studies with the (paid) option of feedback and guidance. It helps you to take a fresh, detailed look at your business, whatever stage of the branding process you're at, and covers things like brand identity design, press releases, marketing and promotion campaigns, customer loyalty and copywriting.

Don't worry if you're unsure or can't pay for a subscription - a free condensed version will be posted on the blog at the end of every month.

Copywriting: Getting noticed the right way

» Branding, Branding advice series, Writing

Writing effective copy is about getting people to take notice, and it's not about just the words you use: It's how you use them.


For sportswear, you might want to use action words, or words that convey a sense of speed, agility, endurance or invincibility. For travel, you might want to invoke feelings of relaxation, freedom or escape. You'd tailor most of your copy around these themes, giving a growing sense that the customer would benefit enormously by buying your stuff.

Continue reading "Copywriting: Getting noticed the right way" »

Introducing our new logo

» Japan, Studio

We're starting off the new year with a slightly updated look in the form of our new logo, which you can see up above.

It's based around the idea of a Japanese inkan (印鑑) or hanko (判子) - a Japanese seal - because we're based in Japan, and have been for quite some time. Along with our name, it includes the kanji for storm, east, Japan and Tokyo, which should be self-explanatory. ;)

We like it, and hope you do too.

Happy New Year!

» Happy Monday

We're taking a few days off to enjoy the New Year and look forward to 2016. Next year is a big one for us as it marks the 10th anniversary of storm from the east!

Thanks to all who have supported us since 2006. We've got some big plans to mark the occasion and will be announcing more shortly.


Neo smartphone by NuAns

» Design, Japan

Neo is a very nice looking phone by Japanese brand NuAns. It runs Windows 10 and allows users to change the look using interchangeable wood and fake leather pieces and flip cases (see a demonstration here). It'd be nice to see other makers following suit and bringing a bit of personality to the bland things we use.

Neo by NuAns

Yves Behar's surf shack at Design Miami

» Design, Design for a difference, Happy Monday

Yves Béhar decided to show the folks in Miami more of what he does when not designing nice products: surfing.

He built a temporary surf shack during Design Miami to showcase some of his collection of surfboards and art. It's also made me a bit embarrassed to see my own boards right next to my desk gathering dust...


Seeing is not the same as noticing - so design for it

» Branding, Branding advice series, Design, Graphic design

The Apple logo is among the most recognizable in the world, yet in a study people had trouble identifying it amongst alternatives. In fact, only "1 participant out of 85 correctly recalled the Apple logo, and fewer than half of all participants correctly identified it".

The same was true for other very common items like pennies and a computer keyboard (try recalling either one accurately without looking).

How common something is could be part of the problem.

Continue reading "Seeing is not the same as noticing - so design for it" »

Olympic Heritage Collection by Hulse & Durrell

» Branding, Culture, Design, Graphic design

The Olympic Heritage Collection is a global program, due to launch in 2016, that makes the art and design of past Olympic Games available to international licensees like Nike, Adidas, Lacoste, and Ralph Lauren.

It's been made possible by the brilliant work of Hulse & Durrell who have faithfully recreated some brilliant design from past Olympic Games. See the project on the Hulse & Durrell website.


Zulu Alpha Kilo – Spec | #saynotospec

» Culture, Design, Fun

Funny and true.

"Who gives a shit about the future?" Creative ads highlight pollution

» Advertising, Design for a difference

A couple of recent advertising campaigns have found creative ways to highlight the problems of pollution, including this humorous one by bobble for the fictional water brand Once.

Another is the simple and effective Greenpeace campaign, shown below, which is discussed on Creative Review. It reminds me of this collection of powerful animal ads.


Liberty London for Uniqlo

» Design, Japan

Uniqlo has announced a collaboration with Liberty London to create a special selection of Liberty's iconic floral prints for the Uniqlo LifeWear line. The collection will be available worldwide in Uniqlo stores from spring 2016. This comes as it was announced that Uniqlo now has more stores abroad than in Japan.



We're a small Tokyo-based studio working with businesses, schools and nice people around the world. Our projects include brand alignment, education, writing, editing, graphic design, and promotion.

People we've worked with include:

Audio-Technica, Panasonic, Kumon, Facebook Japan, Creativeman, Sri Lankan Air, Wired, [and many more].

Get in touch to hire us, ask us a question or share something:



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This is our blog, where we talk about branding, design, architecture, marketing and things we like. We're planning a print publication in 2016.

storm from the east / Japan.


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