Duration: About twelve years; I set up Aishima in 2015.
Location: London, United Kingdom.
Education: I have a BA in economics and business administration from Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and a BA in graphic design from Central Saint Martins in London, United Kingdom.
Career path: After graduating from Central Saint Martins in 2005, I started working at agencies that specialized in branding, like CDT Design and Johnson Banks. I liked how the processes of developing brands are strategic as well as creative. The six years I spent at Johnson Banks were the most formative; we worked on brand strategy and design within the United Kingdom and internationally, including Japan and the United States. I also think that working with socially minded organizations and charities has shaped my thinking.
I realized how transformative branding can be for an organization, so when I set up Aishima a couple of years ago, I decided to focus on working with socially minded organizations and startups to help them amplify their impact with stronger branding and design. It is truly rewarding when you design something for these organizations, and the clients seem really excited to see their brand for the first time. Such organizations have also inspired my exploration into a multidisciplinary approach. Today, my work ranges from research to branding and design to some art direction and illustrative elements.
Cultural influences: Japanese, British and American life, design, art and food.
Work environment: I work between home, the studio and client locations.
Approach: Juggling the strategic and research-based elements of branding with the design side. Usually bigger agencies do this, but I wanted to work with startups that may not be able to afford getting help from big agencies, but are still doing important work and need support. If these organizations are serious about their business and at the right point in their growth, they are often ready to invest in their brands. Also, I have an understanding of three different cultures and two different languages, which makes my approach a bit different.
Aspirations: In five to ten years, I hope that socially minded companies and organizations will be mainstream. I would love for my studio to work alongside these social organizations as they grow into leading worldwide sustainable enterprises.
Philosophy: You’ve only got one life, so do something that you love doing that will make a positive impact. Be brave, connect with people and help each other out. Work hard, but don’t forget your loved ones.
Fun fact: I have a friend who always tells me to: “Keep going.” Sometimes, it’s tough setting out on your own, but if you keep moving, you are still moving towards what you are aiming for.