Thank you, 2011



(Top post for 2011, Polaroid iPhone Dock Concept)

The one concept I was preparing for as the last 2011 post couldn’t be in time. Sorry.

This is the second year since I started freelancing. Here are what I’m doing now and it could be an excuse for the fewer posts for this blog than last year.

Software

  • NCDC: working closely with this Japanese company for iPhone/iPad/Android apps
  • 1 Android related software everyone can use (and love?) and more in 2012 also on iPhone
  • A few other GUIs for some interesting futuristic platforms
  • A fashion website to go live soon

Hardware

  • A few thrilling smartphone concepts + tablet devices
  • Graphic designs for smartphone cases for 2 companies
  • Smart city architecture concepts

Others

I can tell 2012 will be one of the most exciting years in my life. Strongly believe many people around the globe will have chances to see what I make (not just concepts). Just can’t wait to introduce all the above products/services as soon as I can!

Thank you all for reading this blog. I’ve restarted blogging in Japanese on Blogger. I use Facebook for casual talks and Twitter for inspirations.

I wish you all the best in 2012!

How Social Network Sites Help My Freelance Business

I was asked to make a post on how social networking sites especially LinkedIn and Behance Network helped my freelance business, so here it is.

My blog is where I introduce my random thoughts and designs. I started it just for fun because back then I was working as in-house designer at a bank, where almost none of my works could be revealed outside no matter how good design I made, which caused a big frustration for a designer like me. I wanted to show something to the world and get feedback from people and then I found a great blog theme on WordPress for free. Back then I only had this WordPress account and Flickr. It was just for fun showing stuff I made, but gradually more and more people visited my blog and after about a year or so since I started blogging, I got job offers and project invitations. I was working for a bank and couldn’t receive any offers as long as I was there, so I declined all the offers. I finally quit the job when I was convinced to earn enough to support my family by freelancing (July 2011). And here I am.

Behance Network
I needed somewhere to organize my random designs on my blog. Luckily Behance featured one of my concept designs and I got a lot of traffic to the post. Smashing Magazine, Yanko Design and many other design websites featured it, too, so now the images of their sites appear very often on Google Image Search, which is one of the main source of visitors to my blog now. On the other hand, as I completed projects with my clients, I added my works on Behance as my professional portfolios.

When I receive calls via Behance, they are often interested in involving me as a designer in their projects. They have some particular tastes for their products/websites that match my designs on Behance.

Prosite is an online portfolio site where visitors can focus on viewing one’s works and profiles. Prosite and Flickr are the only social networking sites that cost every month, but I believe they are worth it.

LinkedIn
I started LinkedIn because I needed my professional network to see my profile and resume. My career is pretty weird and different from other designers and I thought it could be one advantage. Before LinkedIn I had joined some other Japanese only career sites, but none of them worked like the way LinkedIn does.

When I get connection invitations through LinkedIn, those people have usually already seen my works somewhere else, visit my blog and then find me on LinkedIn for a professional network connection. Many of them are companies and startups. Compared to Behance Network, clients read carefully my career path before calling me, which is a good sign because they don’t seek quick solutions but long term business relationships.

Flickr
I use this site as somewhere I can express myself more freely than on my blog. So I upload my everyday scenes as well as the images for my blog. For professional purpose, I take advantage of the Flickr’s sets and collections to organize my designs differently than Behance. For example on Behance images are categorized only by projects, but on Flickr you can put the same images on various sets. So you can freely create sets for visitors to be able to find photos easily.

I don’t get a call for a job through Flickr, but this site could be used for a quick view of my works, which sometimes I do.

Twitter
On Twitter I’m like talking to myself with trivial ideas and instant inspirations in my daily life that I don’t make a post of for my blog. By connecting it with my blog I’m gradually getting more and more followers, so recently I use Twitter for notifying blog updates.

Surprisingly via Twitter I have got projects a few times. But the most useful moment with Twitter was when I was visiting Cupertino, CA. I really liked the city and just tweeted “I really don’t wanna go back to Japan”, someone who read the tweet replied and I got an interview with her on the next day! I couldn’t make it in the interview, but I still get in touch with her.

Vimeo
Why not YouTube? I like the neater UI and the quality of the movies. Here I upload the movies/animation that include my futuristic concepts so that people can quickly view my works. I’m dreaming of a chance to design future devices for Hollywood movies, so sometime I get caught by their eyes hopefully.

Through Vimeo I never had a chance of a job, but as an introduction of your profile, it can be a great way.

Conclusion
Whatever you post on wherever social networking site, you represent nobody else. If you are a freelancer, you have to be a brand that stands out among thousands of other competitors. The rest of what I want to say is completely expressed in this Steve Jobs’ video, so if you have never watched it, just do it!

Works for Tokyo Motor Show 2011

As I tweeted, I worked on a lot of concept designs for the movies of AGC (Asahi Glass Company) and TOYOTA for Tokyo Motor Show 2011.


 

Movie by AGC: Glass Can Change The World

Concept Car

Dashboard UI

Smart House



UI for Glass Fridge / Energy Management Pane

Roll-up Newspaper / Newspaper Graphic


Robot


Car Dashboard Mockup Panel Screens

It was my first time ever to design a car and a robot, but I had lots of fun making them.
Asahi Glass now introduces their great technologies in a booth for “Smart Mobility City 2011” in Tokyo Motor Show.
http://www.agc-smc2011.com/en/

 

TOYOTA Smart Mobility City 2011 Concept Movie

(I’ll post the movie when it’s officially uploaded on YouTube. This is the old version.)

One of my mobile phone concepts “Glassy Glass” was again picked up and used in the movie.

Calendar Desktop Wallpaper: December 2011

“God is in the details.”
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

This wonderful model is done by Mr.Shoji Tsuchiya. Please visit his blog, too.

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iPhone & iPod Touch (w/o calendar) 640x960px

iPad (w/o calendar)