MeMe Design School began in a corner of Aoyama Book Center on a Saturday afternoon. The school offers two courses: Design Basic and Book Design Classes, and they are taught by professionals who work in the frontlines of their respective businesses. We interviewed young designers who study at this school, and designer Nobuo Nakagaki who runs the school.
Class in the Book Design Course. Man in the far end is instructor Atsuki Kikuchi.
Design Basic Course
The class held on this particular day for the Design Basic Course was “Printing Techniques and Practice,” taught by art director and graphic designer Masayoshi Kodaira and printing director of Yamada Photo Process Co., Ltd., Katsumi Kumakura. Students learn how printing plates work by hand-drawing the four plates in a CMYK print using only a black pen, and printing it out.
Kohei Futakuchi, a student at this school, says, “I like the fact that by hearing the lectures of designers who actually work in the field and by doing the work by hand, I can systematically learn the foundations and concepts of design and acquire manual work experience.”
MeMe Design School also places importance on students connecting with their peers. Futakuchi is gaining stimulation through interactions with people from different areas of focus, as well as a friend from China.
Book Design Course
The class in the Book Design Course is a lecture by designer Atsuki Kikuchi on “Thinking of Books as Opportunities.” Today, students took turns introducing books they found interesting and proposing plans for new books.
Student Shizuka Muraoka talked about I LOVE TOKYO (Gakken Plus) by La Pina, a popular Italian DJ. Her plan for a new book is a compilation of creative new year cards she receives from friends every year.
“We get to have conversations up close with our instructors and receive thoughtful feedback from them.”
School director Nakagaki states, “Expectations for designers are to figure out how to build cultures.”
“Meme” that is part of the school name is a scientific term meaning “cultural genes” coined by British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. MeMe Design School, which celebrates its 11th birthday this year, will continue to create connections among the “genes” of design.
Katsumi Kumakura. The school brings in over 100 new instructors every year, who are professionals such as designers and art directors, as well as photographers, printing engineers, editors, and musicians.
Left: “Although, today, we can simply send in the data and have them be printed without the knowledge of printing, we lack the foundational knowledge about design,” says Masayoshi Kodaira.
Right: Kohei Futakuchi has been working as a graphic designer for on-screen media at a digital advertisement production company for about seven years. He learned design through work.
Left: Muraoka worked at a production company that does editing work as well as design and DTP, and later went on to become an in-house designer for a publishing company.
Right: “For the future, I want to pass onto the next generation the things our generation has carefully nurtured,” thought Nobuo Nakagaki, and this led to the establishment of MeMe Design School.