Today’s consumer doesn’t live in silos or executive meetings, in manufacturing limitations or in budget spreadsheets. They live seamless and globally-connected lives. To reinforce this notion I recently traveled to Tokyo, eager for the opportunity to “get lost” in one of the biggest cities in the world. As designers, living as our consumer does enables us to gain perspective, as we continue to dot true lines that connect brands to people to drive opportunities.

From blogs to media, it’s easy to get a bird’s eye view into anywhere in the world. However, what gets lost in translation is in the details; the micro interactions and the unexpected experiences that translate to meaningful connection. It’s the subtle nuance that can’t be captured browsing on blogs or conducting secondary research from afar. For this trip, I went alone with few preconceptions and a poor sense of direction, and came back refreshed, inspired, and overwhelmed by design at such a large scale.

A true design city, Tokyo is a city of contrasts; both delicate and bold, energetic and reserved. At ground level, it is seemingly chaotic, but in taking a step back, it is a beautifully designed and ever-evolving organism. Design rigor is applied to daily life, with function at the ultimate core. To me, Tokyo embodies the best of design and, amazingly, over time has remained just as fresh and exciting as it ever was.

INDUSTRY is constantly seeking to understand how design impacts culture, and what drives people’s experiences in the world. We believe in looking up and immersing ourselves in culture. In spending two weeks exploring and uncovering emerging shifts in Tokyo, this SHIFT report summarizes my findings: Embedded Mastery, Sensorial City, Culture Balance, Time As An Opportunity, Design Is A Bridge – enjoy!


Natasha Michalowsky
Strategic Brand Designer for INDUSTRY