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Keep Going Regardless of Failure: Hisakazu Shimizu

Hisakazu Shimizu is a Japanese designer who during this interview with DUDYE explained why he became a designer and how he evolved in design, as he obtained a deeper understanding of the profession.

Hisakazu Shimizu was born 1964, in Isahaya City, Nagasaki Prefecture. As a little boy, he enjoyed a common hobby many designers share, which is drawing. When he began high school, he first became conscious of the word “design”. Shimizu entered high school to catch a major in art. “As I studied art and design in school I got the feeling that there were many things that could be done with design, and my interest grew over time.”

After graduation, the passion for design still maintained and Shimizu decided to join a design studio that some graduates from his college had set up. This lead to his first design: “I think my first design was the handle and hinges of a commercial-use refrigerator.”

Learn from your mistakes and make them your strengths. Shimizu decided to take his inexperienced design situation and make it into a learning and development process. “During my first three years of work I didn’t produce any good designs. All of the items that I designed in that period, when I was so young and inexperienced, became learning experiences for me. My advice to young designers is to keep going regardless. It takes a long time to get to the stage where you can design products.” You need to move on from your mistakes and take them as possibilities to further learn. “You have to develop a thorough understanding of the purpose or function of what you are designing.”

It’s important to work for people with values that are close to your own. Being called Sabo in his childhood, Shimizu decided to call his established studio the Sabo Studio. This studio, which is still running today, was founded in 1998 in Tokyo.

“Since I established Sabo Studio while also being an employee of Canon Inc. (where he had worked since 1989), it took some time to gain the understanding of my colleagues. In Japan there are hardly any full-time company employees who also pursue other works.”

From Sabo Studio we will in the future see strong designs that can be mass produced and serve as art pieces.


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