storm from the east

We write, design, edit and consult
for people all over the world.
We live and work in Japan.

Baskerville love

» Graphic design, Happy




I really like Baskerville.

I mean the font, not the chap who designed it - John Baskerville died a good 200 years before I was scuttling about.

I like it so much that it makes me happy to read things that use it, and that's why I've gone back to it. I hope you like it, too.

Jacek Utko on how design can change your company (and save newspapers)

» Design, Design for a difference, Graphic design, TED Talks

"[D]esign can change not just your product. It can change your workflow - actually, it can change everything in your company; it can turn your company upside down. It can even change you."

This is great talk with advice and good points that go beyond newspaper design.

The beauty of nothing

» Branding, Branding advice series


A while ago I was asked to redesign a logo for a small company in Japan whose owner wanted a new look. The more we talked, the more convinced I became that his current logo was perfect for his company and goals.

The problem was he'd started to compare himself to much bigger, completely unrelated companies and was convinced a new logo would make his company enormous.

Continue reading "The beauty of nothing" »

Improving three things that could annoy people on your website

» Branding, Editing, Writing

I got an email recently asking me to code a website from scratch (waaaayyyy beyond my capabilities) and also asking about three things on websites that "people find annoying".

The sender had asked people she knew about slideshows, sign-up advertisements and smart comments when choosing to opt out, because she'd heard these three things are annoying.

She asked how I'd improve them and I thought I'd share what I had to say. I hope it helps.

Continue reading "Improving three things that could annoy people on your website" »

TOKYO & 東京 by Kendall Henderson

» Design, Tokyo


Brooklyn-based graphic designer Kendall Henderson is planning a set of limited prints based on his trip to Tokyo. You can back the project on his Kickstarter page.

Should your designs 'conform'?

» Culture, Design

Fast Co. Design has asked what I think are two important questions about design in a recent article. Actually, one was in the article and the other was in the comments, namely:

1) Why should things look a certain way?

2) Do people really want the things you're designing?

Continue reading "Should your designs 'conform'?" »

Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness - 20 years on

» Culture, Happy Monday, Music


Crikey, the Guardian is making me feel old by reminding me that it's been 20 years since the Smashing Pumpkins released Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.

It's still a great record, though.

Book and Bed Tokyo

» Architecture, Culture, Design, Tokyo


Book and Bed Tokyo is a new hostel where you can literally curl up with a good book (or comic).

Designed by Suppose Design Office and situated in Ikebukuro, Book and Bed Tokyo has a large selection and Japanese and English books and will open its doors on Bonfire Night.*

*That's the 5th of November for non-British folk. :)

Some recent work and upcoming workshops

» Work

We've recently finished up a very big project which involved developing, writing, designing, illustrating and introducing the first tailor-made English language program for public elementary schools in Japan. It was literally a full-time job, so we took on almost no other client work.

That's changed now, and we're very happy to be taking on new projects and working with more diverse clients.

Continue reading "Some recent work and upcoming workshops" »

Suilven - The Trail Runner

» Happy Monday, Health


"My running provides a mental, if not physical, escape from the modern world – an opportunity to do nothing other than rhythmically place one foot in front of another. To become, almost meditatively, lost in the activity."

I enjoyed this article on Sidetracked magazine, especially as I've started running more again, with trails and mountains being my favourite places to run. Beautiful photography, too.

Benjamin Hubert founds Layer

» Design


Benjamin Hubert Ltd has expanded into Layer, an experience-driven design agency fuelled by a growing, multi-disciplinary creative team. Layer launched at London Design Festival in September.

The newly founded agency is focused on experiential design for both the physical and digital worlds. Led by Benjamin, Layer creates human-centred design to deliver experiences with meaning.

Colour theory for kids

» Culture, Design, Japan







Colour theory is all about how colours can - some say should - be mixed and how designers in particular use them to convey messages or effects.

A lot of colours and shades are said to be complementary, although I've found that's often a matter of opinion. I think blue and yellow go very well together (Sweden would probably agree) yet think orange and blue look pretty horrible together (Firefox would probably disagree).

Anyway, part of colour theory is how colours are made and how they mix. A new set of paints produced by Kokuyo has been popping up on blogs recently because of the way it presents colours. Rather than using the names of the colours, the tubes show how each colour is created. Called "なまえのないえのぐ" (literally "Nameless Paint"), the idea is to challenge perceptions by removing the "stereotypes" attached to colour, such as "leaves are green", and encourage a more perceptive approach.

Continue reading "Colour theory for kids" »

Autumn smiles and autumn specials

» Design, Editing, Japan, Writing


I love autumn pretty much anywhere in the world, especially here in Japan.

We can say goodbye to the heat, humidity, bugs and mould of the summer and enjoy crisp mornings, warm days and cool evenings. And no bloody mosquitoes. It's a brilliant season to enjoy the outdoors and exercise.

As the weather's changing for the better, I've noticed a load of autumn sales and special offers popping up here and there, and it got me thinking: I've very rarely seen designers, writers or editors offering special offers. They probably do - it's not like I search very hard - but I don't remember seeing it.

So, we've decided to. We usually charge by the hour (more on that in the next post) and until winter starts getting its frosty fingers into us, we're knocking a full 30% off our fees. That means we'll design something for you, write something, edit something or give you some advice for only 70% of what you'll pay when the snow starts falling. (I'm good at maths, me.)

We're keeping the offer opens until the end of November, and even if you ask us to start a project on November 30, you'll still get the 30% off. Send us an email now and let us know how we can help.

Happy autumn!

Feeling stuck?

» Culture, Inspiration, Zen

"You think this is just another day in your life? It's not just another day. It's the one day that is given to you today. It's given to you. It's a gift. It's the only gift that you have right now, and the only appropriate response is gratefulness. If you do nothing else but to cultivate that response to the great gift that this unique day is, if you learn to respond as if it were the first day in your life and the very last day, then you will have spent this day very well."

- Brother David Steindl-Rast

Tokyo's Hotel Okura closes

» Architecture, Culture, Japan, Tokyo


The five-star Hotel Okura officially closed its doors yesterday in preparation for demolition and a complete rebuild.

Although many people outside Japan have been angered by the closure and proposed demolition, the reaction in Japan has been more muted. A crowd gathered and applauded as the lights went off at midnight, and some shared their memories of either staying at or visiting the hotel. Many, though, understand that times change.

Continue reading "Tokyo's Hotel Okura closes" »

We work with businesses, schools and nice people on projects including brand identity design, writing, editing, business development and promotion.

People we've worked with include:

Facebook Japan
Sri Lankan Air
and many more.

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Editing for designers, schools, companies, students and academics.

Branding + communication training + consulting program.

storm from the east / Japan.

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