Midori Yamazaki came to Central Saint Martins (CSM) to study on the MA Communication Design in 2013, having already had a successful career. Since graduating she has gone on to become the Creative Director at Conde Nast Japan, as well as continuing her research into her MA project WAVE ARCHIVE.
We spoke to her about her time at CSM, and what advice she’d give to someone thinking of doing an MA.
What were your best memories of studying MA Communication Design at Central Saint Martins?
Friends. Everyone was lovely! We cooperated in a chaotic situation throughout the course, and it was a great experience to learn other ways of design thinking. I am very thankful to have spent a great time with such a diverse group of people in London.
What was it like coming back to study on an MA after working in ‘industry’? What advice would you give someone wanting to do this?
Firstly, I used to admire those who had studied at University, as I was a self-taught designer. Secondly, because of the recession in 2008, I felt the changes in the industry and thought that it was necessary to do something to confront this. I would recommend studying on an MA after you have worked for a few years, as it can provide you with the expertise to progress further in your career.
What are were the main ‘take-aways’ that you learnt from the Course?
Research-based creation; Asian design philosophy is different from this.
Tell us about your previous role as Creative Director at Nike Japan?
My role was a mixture of people management and creative management. I was in charge of exclusive creative projects, which the Brand Design department needed to execute only in Japan.
And now you are Creative Director at Conde Nast Japan. Tell us about how your current role and role at Nike differ?
I am working as an individual Creative Director now and I am not in charge of management. It allows me to try to work in different way than before. My MA project ‘WAVE ARCHIVE’, which I have kept working on even after finishing the course, is part of that. I am trying to bring this project into the industry by using research based design, which is what I learnt from CSM.
You have undertaken a number of Research Projects – can you tell us about these and how they have developed?
As I proceed with the project, the people who found a same issue, are interested, then the related projects increased.
How have you stayed connected/been involved in activity at Central Saint Martins since graduating?
I am trying to keep in touch with people who I like and respect. I believe that will work to stay connected for future collaborations.
Lastly, outside work you love surfing! What are the best places to go surfing in Japan?
It’s difficult to choose... I love a peninsula to the south of Tokyo called the IZU Peninsula. The water is so clear, so when I dive through the waves, I can see the sparkling bubbles in the blue-green water.