Finally, our 2017 calendars and Creator’s Diary are now available at our Web Store. Every year, our calendar from our animal series is highly popular, with last year’s version selling out in November. In this post, we talk to art director Takuma Fukuzawa and designer Asako Koyama about their thoughts on the production process of this year’s animal calendar.
– The 2016 animal calendar was also very popular…
Fukuzawa: I’m glad.
– What kind of (animal) calendar do we have this year?
Fukuzawa: We have a 3D calendar where the animals seem to jump out from the calendar itself. Each year, we focus on one point when we design the animal calendar – for 2014 it was about the “eyes,” for 2015, the “face,” and for 2016, the “tongue.” This time, our theme was the “whole body.”
▲The focus was on “tongues” for 2016. The “trick” was that the tongues were sticking out.
– How did you come up with this idea?
Fukuzawa: When I was thinking about the calendar, I felt that last year’s calendar was cute, so this year I thought of making it a little “cooler,” and I was wondering if it could have some other use once it’s done – I’ve thought about this several times. I came up with the idea when I considered our target customers. The idea for “JUMP” came about because last year the tongues were sticking out, so I thought that the next thing to jump out should be the body. In the beginning stages though, I had different ideas.
– I see. I won’t give any spoilers here so I can’t talk about it in detail, but you came up with several ideas stemming from totally different viewpoints, right?
Fukuzawa: Yes. I presented all of them and each one was received well. But everyone thought that “JUMP” was the easiest to understand, so it was a unanimous decision.
– The direction that you were heading into was quickly decided on, but from then on, it took a lot of time. Which part did you have difficulties on?
Fukuzawa: Up until the very end, we had difficulties with the structure. At first, I thought that we could make the animals jump out by punching them out, which is simple and interesting.
– That way of looking at it was interesting.
Fukuzawa: But if we did it that way, we couldn’t consolidate all 12 pages in one booklet. We tried different approaches such as hooking the pages on a metal fixture, or sandwiching pages, but in the end, we thought about the user, and decided that it would be better to just consolidate all 12 pages.
▲The calendar is structured in a way that the animal pages are bound together in the back, and each one is to be turned and brought forward.
– Was there something that you were particular about?
Fukuzawa: I’m not sure if you can call it being particular, but I worked hard on the illustrations. Everything was drawn by hand. Every year, I draw them by hand, but this time, more than any other year, I drew the various animals in different styles.
Koyama: I think he filled 80 sheets of paper (laughs).
– You kept drawing for 2 months. During the final submission for printing, you even wrote the numbers by hand, right?
Fukuzawa: Yes, even the numbers.
Koyama: Everything was by hand!
– You even attended to those details! Why was that?
Fukuzawa: Because I drew all of the animals by hand, I thought that I should also write all of the numbers by hand.
– It’s true, the numbers are cute too. How did you choose the 12 animals this year?
Fukuzawa: I chose completely different animals such as a dog and a monkey because I thought it would be nice to see the calendar in a different light each month if there was a different animal for each.
Koyama: We only used one shape so we looked for animals that would fit the shape. Actually, in the beginning, we thought about using freakier animals such as a crocodile, an anteater, and a black panther, right?
Fukuzawa: That’s right. I thought it would be more interesting if we chose uncommon animals but Mr. Miyata asked if could make it easier to decipher, and include popular animals. So we changed the animals to major ones such as a cat and a panda.
– I see. Mr. Miyata also said something about the expressions of the animals, right?
Fukuzawa: He did. I noticed that these animals look as if they are stretched out, as if they are about to pounce, and they look neat – each one has the perfect bearing.
– That’s right, this panda looks like its drawn out (laughs).
– By the way, in creating animal calendars, have you begun to like animals?
Fukuzawa: I once went to the zoo for research. When I’m making the calendar, I can’t help but look at animals a lot. Cats on the roadside, dogs – these often catch my eye. It occurred to me that there are indeed a lot of animals in the world.
– Your observations were indeed fully utilized in the calendar. Lastly, could you both tell us which page is your favorite?
Koyama: I like the monkey. From the beginning, we were sure that we would include the monkey. But I also like the bear.
Fukuzawa: Oh, the bear’s nice. So I think I’ll choose the polar bear. It’s always in the animal calendar every year.
– I can’t wait for everyone to see it. Thank you!
Next time, we will post part 2 of this interview where both designers share their impressions about working on a D-BROS project, the differences with their usual work in advertising, and their thoughts on monozukuri, or making things.
>>Click here for “We Asked the Designers of the 2017 D-BROS Calendar “JUMP” About Their Thoughts on the Production Process (Part 2)”
▼You can buy “JUMP,” the 2017 calendar that they designed here:
▼Back issues about Takuma Fukuzawa
Presenting the “BEEH” Calendar of Adorable Animals: The 2nd Installment of D-BROS’s calendars for 2016!