Graphic design is about more than just bright colors and cool fonts. At least that’s the case for Hitoshi Koreeda, President/Designer at onetothree design. He believes in using thoughtful design to evoke emotion.
We caught up with Hitoshi to learn what it’s like to work as the head of your own design agency and why he’s not a fan of fast food, fast fashion, or fast design.
Have you changed job titles since you started?
I started off by using the title “Designer” but switched to “President/Designer” a few years later. With the title “Designer,” people got the impression that I only did designs.
By adding “President” to the title I wanted to let people know that we are capable of handling design projects as a whole including consulting, planning, photography, and copywriting. As a result, I’ve been able to get bigger projects since the change.
What’s a typical day like for you?
As a freelance designer, there is no such thing as a typical day but below are some things I do during a workday.
Get up around 8 or 9 a.m. and prepare for the day by checking the schedule, to do list, and returning emails.
From noon to evening, I usually meet up with clients, printers, or business partners to discuss direction and progress of projects.
If I have some time between meetings, I am working on my MacBook at cafés.
There are other days where I am working all day on designs at my home office.
When I’m moving around on trains, I try to read a design or business book.
I do some work again after dinner and work late into the night if needed.
What are your favorite aspects of your job? What are the things you would change if you could?
I think the best part of my job is when I can evoke some kind of emotion in people through my designs.
I don’t think I would change anything about my job per se but I would like to try to bring the quality and craftsmanship back into the design industry. I feel that many of the designs these days are following the mentality of fast food and fast fashion where faster and cheaper is better. Hopefully I can help prove to people that quality design with a strong concept really does create a different result.
What did you study in college? How does your major relate to your current position?
In college, I took a graphic design/advertising course. Since it was a college it wasn’t a major, just a diploma. [Editor’s note: Hitoshi is from Canada, so the educational system is slightly different from the system here in the US. In Canada, the term “college” can refer to a community college or a technical, applied arts, or applied science school.] As soon as I graduated, I looked for a job in an advertising agency but didn’t get a placement for about a year. So I decided to go to Japan and taught English for about two and a half years. I started freelancing as a graphic designer after that. Although I originally wanted to get into advertising, after working as a graphic designer, I realized graphic design was more for me.
What advice would you give to college students who are interested in working in your field?
In the beginning, you might not be able to express your creativity freely with pressures from your bosses or clients, but if you keep at it and gradually earn the trust of the people around you, you will be able to have more creative control.
Homework time! Hitoshi talks about the importance of choosing the right title when you work as a freelancer. If you’re pursuing freelance work (or looking for a full-time job), how do you want to present yourself? If you don’t already have some, order business cards that you can give to potential clients or employers.
P.S. If this whole personal branding this is confusing you, check out this post on creating your personal brand for some practical steps you can take.