The Life of a Designer, Vol. 4: Ms. Aya Iida Tells us About Her Everyday Life

10/25/2016 Aya Iida, Interview Last modified 2 years ago

In this series of “The Life of a Designer,” we ask DRAFT designers involved in the development of D-BROS products about their daily lives, in a Q&A format. In their answers to our simple questions, their daily lives are revealed. We talked to Ms. Aya Iida for the fourth volume in this series.

–In this fourth volume, we would like to talk to Ms. Aya Iida who works on D-BROS posters and other products. Thank you for your time.
Iida: Thank you too.

–What do you do without fail when you first arrive at the office in the morning?
Iida: I wash my hands and gargle. I’m not a clean freak, but I don’t want to catch a cold. That’s why the first thing that I do in the morning is go to the ladies’ room, wash my hands, and gargle.

–What’s your desk like?
Iida: My desk is always the same – that it doesn’t change is its characteristic. When my day is done, I clean up so it isn’t messy, and it hardly changes. I only have my desktop computer, sticky notes that have to be quickly accessible and eye drops on my desk.

–What drink do you have on hand while you’re working?
Iida: Basically, I drink soda, and I also like iced coffee so I drink coffee. I buy iced coffee in the morning, and I also drink it at noon, and even at night. Sometimes I drink too much of it that I feel queasy.

–What’s your desktop wallpaper?
Iida: It’s a neutral, gray wallpaper. I prefer a wallpaper with nothing in it, and even the wallpaper of my computer at home has been the same gray wallpaper for the past 15 years. It’s not bright so it’s easy on the eyes, so I choose wallpaper that’s simple without bright colors.

–What do you do when you take a breather at work?
Iida: I clean, and recently, I’ve been make ice at our office kitchen. I do it not just because I put ice in my iced coffee – making it is my break.

–Do you use a notebook at work?
Iida: Yes I do, and I also write notes in my iPhone. For my work for clients, I use a yellow notebook, and for D-BROS meetings, I use an old D-BROS notebook. I also use the memo column of my Creator’s Diary a lot. When I was a student, I used to carry a lot of pens to write things down that I needed to learn, but now I only bring one blue pen to write the important points of things.

–What do you always keep in mind (while working)?
Iida: Discovery and concentration. I constantly keep in mind wanting to create things that I think are new.

–What are you reading now?
Iida: I’m embarrassed to say this, but I don’t really read books – I only read magazines. I do a lot of “magazine zapping.” I used to read the articles at the back of “TV Bros.” late at night (laughs). My go-to magazine is “Casa BRUTUS.” And I also read magazines that are related to my work.

–What kind of music do you like? What’s in your iTunes?
Iida: There are many kinds of music that I like. I like “The Verve,” “Kraftwerk,” “Bloc Party,” “Kerri Chandler,” “U2,” “Bump of Chicken,” and “FreeTEMPO.” I listen to music from various genres.

–Is there any place that you always go to or any event that you always attend in a year?
Iida: Not every year, but I go to a hot springs in Chiba first thing in the morning, and to an oden (fishcakes in broth) shop in Shizuoka. I also go to the concerts of a friend who’s a musician. Basically, I have a lot of hobbies, and my interests are scattered all over the place so I go to all kinds of places, but this does not translate into my work where I’m the focused type who has good concentration.

–Who do you respect?
Iida: I respect the graphic designer Masayoshi Nakajo and the art director Kaoru Kasai. If they collaborate, I think they’ll create seductive design. While this may sound weird, I really hope they won’t die.

–What places in Tokyo do you like?
Iida: More than establishments, I like small towns – places like downtown with a lot of local flavor. Places like Kappabashi in Asakusa, and Nezu. I also like Sakurashinmachi, and I like walking up and down the hills of Shirokanedai and Shinagawa. I like Tokyo a lot.

–When do ideas come to you?
Iida: This is going to be an ordinary answer, but ideas come to me anytime, anywhere. Even when I’m lying in bed, I get up when an idea comes to me and I write it down. I also like sitting at my desk and say to myself, “ok, time to think!”

–What made you become a designer?
Iida: Um, when I was in elementary school, I wondered what would happen if we made our sports day poster in an asymmetrical way. It was fun thinking that way, and now I realize that that was also design. Being a designer is my calling.

–Design-wise, what kinds of things would you like to work on in the future?
Iida: My family is in the exterior landscaping and gardening business, so I would like to create an interior design that would match that.

–Has anything that Mr. Miyata said left an impression on you?
Iida: There is. When I think of it now, it all comes back with a thud. He was looking at me from afar, and he told me, “you’re sluggish,” and that really left an impression on me (laughs). I was like, “I’m sorry! I am trying my best but I am sluggish.” I guess that’s it. But he also says things that are correct, and things that are for my own good, but what really left an impression on me were those words.

–Lastly, can you recommend a nice place for lunch in Ebisu?
Iida: The food at YAFFA Organic Cafe is even more delicious now. The interior was designed by Shunju Yurari and Super Potato, and it’s a restaurant that offers an all-you-can-eat vegetable buffet during lunchtime. I also recommend the galette pancakes at KO-SO CAFE BIORISE. And the borscht at Kitchen BON, the well-established Western-style restaurant. There are plenty of small cafes in Ebisu, so I’ll let the next designer tell you about the rest.

YAFFA Organic Cafe

–Thank you!


Aya Iida
Born 1977 in Shizuoka Japan.Graduated from Tokyo University of the Art.In 2007, Joined Draft co,ltd.

▼You can purchase D-BROS products by Ms. Iida here.


▼”The Life of a Designer” archives
Vol. 1: Mr. Kouta Sugiyama
Vol. 2: Ms. Asako Koyama
Vol. 3: Mr. Yuichiro Katsume

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About the Author

Chi-na Lee

Born 1982 in Tokyo Japan.
Graduated from Hosei University.
In 2014, Joined Draft co,ltd.