Design Connects East and West
When Graphic Design major Karin Kunori was looking for a summer internship, she contacted the counselors in RISD’s Career Center, who helped her write a résumé and cover letter and pointed her towards websites that list internships in Asia. She wanted to work in Japan because her parents live there and having been away for many years, she wanted to experience work life in Tokyo before making post-graduation plans.
“From my very first day at threewhite, inc. in Tokyo I was busy with all sorts of print and web projects,” Kunori recalls. This small graphic design studio is run by Miho Tanaka, who had worked as an intern herself while in grad school in Europe and wanted to make sure her RISD intern would see and learn as much as possible in three months. Day-to-day Kunori worked on photo editing, layouts, building logotypes and learning to work with Japanese typography. She also kept an Intern Diary on the studio’s blog.
“Tanaka-san took me to most meetings so I could get a feel for how designer-client relationships affect the final design of a project,” Kunori explains. Her mentor introduced her to the studio’s accounting process, the vocabulary used in the field and the details of offset printing and color proofing.
During her three-month internship, the Graphic Design senior worked with illustrators, food stylists, writers, paper specialists and photographers. But she says that “the most inspiring part was seeing the teamwork and collaboration at threewhite. In school most projects are done by one student from start to finish, but in the ‘real world’ the art director has to form a team and set a clear direction and common goals.” By seeing how Tanaka orchestrated all this, Kunori realized that “careful planning, open-mindedness and patience are definitely essential.” She also notes that the experience opened her to consider new directions in design. “All in all,” she says, “I loved meeting all kinds of people, and was surprised to discover how small the world is – and how much design connects us in so many ways.”
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