Toshinori Mori

Good in Graphic Design.

About Toshinori Mori

He is a freelance illustrator in Japan. He was born in Mitoyo City, Kagawa Prefecture and now live in Nagaoka City, Niigata Prefecture. He draws the "Tabineko" illustration series, which is modeled on the domestic cat "Guri" (10-year-old tabby cat) and an outside cat coming to the garden. The "Tabineko" illustration series depicts beautiful Japanese four seasons and a cat that travels, starting with the 12 pieces exhibited at the "Calendar Exhibition" in 2011, and has drawn 42 pieces to date. He sells calendars, postcards, art prints, etc. based on this illustration online at handmade marketplaces such as Etsy, pinkoi, minne, and Creema. Recently, a one-year-old cat called "Sabi" has joined the family.

  • Winner of Graphic Design Award.
  • Specialized in Graphic Design.
  • Original Design.
  • Creative, Diligent and Innovative.
  • All Designs
  • Graphic
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Interview with Toshinori Mori

Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
When I was a junior high school student, my teacher asked me to draw a picture for a New Year's card, and I drew a picture of "the mouse family". The teacher gladly used the picture for New Year's cards. At that moment. I think I wanted to be an illustrator in the future. When I was a high school student, I posted a picture of a motorcycle in the illustration posting section of a motorcycle magazine. I was so happy that I saw that page many times. At that time I was going to be a motorcycle illustrator. After all, I am now an illustrator of cats. ^_^
Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
My studio is on the second floor (4mx6m) of my home. There is a long table by the window with two Macs and two monitors. Next to one Mac is a Victor amp and an NHT speaker. Behind the Vitra chair are four EPSON printers PM4000-PX, two PX-SVs beside and one SC-PXSV. It's a studio like a printing workshop. The other table has a large cutter mat. This is a workbench for making calendars.
What is "design" for you?
Expressing the "abstract emotions deep in my heart" as forms.
What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
I like various designs. When I was a kid, I really liked Osamu Tezuka and Shinji Nagashima's comics. I also liked the tower of the sun of "Taro Okamoto seen at the Osaka Expo". When I was a high school student, I liked "Motorcycle Illustration" by Mr. Kimitoshi Honma who posted illustrations. At university, he is obsessed with "Bron Yoshimoto" and "Kazuo Kamimura". ince becoming a vocational school student, my favorite designs in graphic design, fashion design and architecture have increased. When I started working, I was influenced by cute character designs such as "Miffy", "Snoopy" and "Moomin". Also, I was greatly influenced by the movie works of "Studio Ghibli". Recently, I like Japanese painters such as "Ito jyakuchu", "Kano Eitoku" and "Ogata Korin", painters of the Edo period.
What was the first thing you designed for a company?
It is a small clock "Hacodokei" made of cardboard. Design your own and order punching from a contractor. Doing everything from assembling the box to attaching the needle, Do the silk print on the front dial yourself, The instruction manual was printed and sold as an original design product.
What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
I like paper. Platform is Mac & EPSON printer Technology is Amazon Music
When do you feel the most creative?
When deciding the color. I feel that my five senses are fully rotated.
Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
Is there a feeling of air you want to express? Is there love for the cats?
What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
An uncertain anxiety about whether it will be finished well. The fun that everyone will be surprised to see this.
What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
It's a pleasure to be released from the solitary and lonely work that has been done so far.
From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
Do not design for the benefit of clients. Keep in mind the earth-first design.
How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
The world will be closed due to COVID-19, and I think the next era different from the past will come. I don't know if it can be called evolution. I think that there will be a trend to cherish more human feelings rather than robots, and I think that the design orientation will go there as well. We need a design that expresses hope.
When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
The last solo exhibition was the “Tabineko Nagaoka Exhibition 2020” held in October 2019 at the soy sauce warehouse in Nagaoka City, Niigata Prefecture. Due to COVID-19, the next date is unknown.
Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
I often get inspired when riding a bicycle in nature. Also, I often come up with ideas while bathing.
How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
The design style is an illustration series depicting cats traveling in the four seasons. I tried to express the "feeling of happiness" I felt in a place I liked, and this was the style. It features a gentle color and the cute gestures of the cats. I use vivid colors that are not real colors to represent the wind, clouds, and light that flow in the space. We value the realities we feel, not the realities we see.
Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
I live in Nagaoka City, Niigata Prefecture, Japan. Nagaoka City is one of the most heavy snowfall areas in Japan and is the largest rice producing area in Japan (Koshihikari). It is also the region with the most sake breweries in Japan. In other words, nature is rich, the four seasons are clear, the rice field landscape is wide, and there are quaint sake breweries here and there. I often see landscapes of paddy fields, satoyama plants, old sake breweries, etc. in my illustrations of Tabinneko. The landscape of this area has been very influential. The advantage of living here is that if you ride a little bike, there is a satoyama blessed with rich nature. It's a motif for my illustration and it's a peace of mind. The disadvantage is that you can see a low level of ability because it is a rural area. I think there are only great creators in Tokyo. That's not true. The real creators are in the snowy countryside, which is rich in nature.^_^
How do you work with companies?
We collaborate with companies that make calendars, postcards and sake. We sell the "Tabineko" illustration commercialization rights to each company for a limited time.
What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
First, without mutual trust, the project will not work. Designers are not subcontractors of companies. You should think of it as an equal relationship. In the middle of designing, don't cut it because you do the rest. That's not a good product. The eyes that designers see are completely different from yours.
Can you talk a little about your design process?
1. First, select the photo of the scenery that is the background key from "iphoto". 2. Open it in "photoshop" and add the necessary things (such as interesting clouds and seasonal flowers) from another photo to solidify the image. 3. Decide what kind of pose you want your cat to look for in a close-up cat picture from your stock photos. If not available, we may search online or on TV programs. 4. When you have a rough completed image, print it out, make a rough sketch on the tress, and tress it while simplifying and draw a line drawing with a pencil. 5. Scan the completed line drawing and import it into "Illustrator" to make a line drawing. Color from the rough part. 6. Once the color is decided, apply the "rough" effect to the painted parts one by one to make the edges jagged. 7. Color the cat by tressing it. Complete the entire layout. 8. Print it on the printer and recheck the colors and composition. If it is not what you expected, adjust it by adjusting the printer color. 9. If you don't get the desired color after adjusting or you don't like the layout, go back to the original data and correct it. 10. Repeat this several times to complete.
What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
1 Vitra T Chiea 2 Sevenchi Air 3 The car Suzuki SX-4 4 innovator sofa stuns 5 Louis Garner Bicycle Trx-2
Can you describe a day in your life?
I woke up around 10am, washed my face, made coffee and went to the studio (on the second floor). Confirm the ordered product that was delivered during the night and reply. Produce (print) custom products. Write the address or print the address sticker for overseas and package. lunch Also in the afternoon, production and packing of custom products (calendars, postcards, art prints) Around 3 o'clock, drive to a nearby post office and ship. After coming back and drinking coffee, I took a walk on a bicycle. Ride the satoyama near about 30 minutes (about 12 km). Return to the studio. Check the SNS page. Write a reply or post a new article. dinner Check new orders to create custom products, create new product images to update your online shop, and start your next "Tabineko Illustration". Create block copy data for alcohol labels. Consider the layout of a solo exhibition. Consider the answer to this interview. Play with cats. Watch the Prime Video. Order unsatisfactory materials from Amazon. Around 2:00, take a bath and go to bed. At 4 o'clock, the cat wakes me up. Put cat rice and clean the toilet. Bread and cafe au lait breakfast that's all
Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
Life is shorter than you think. If I were still young, I was 60 years old. Do what you want to do now. Life is as long as you think. There are decades. How many days will there be? The day will continue to accumulate. In one day that seriously faced the design and one day that spent 40 years in the game, After 40 years there will be a big gap. If you seriously face each other for 40 years, there will be something that you can see. That is certain.
From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
Designers can own the copyright of their original work. Designers are not profitable for their working hours.^_^
What is your "golden rule" in design?
I don't think there is such a fixed golden rate in design. I think it is important to decide the design in consideration of the balance with the surrounding circumstances at that time.
What skills are most important for a designer?
Sense of color Ability to think and find answers, not knowledge
Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
LOUIS GARNEA Bicycle TRX-2 RICOH camera GXR APPLE Mac mini EIZO monitor Adobe Illustrator photoshop EPSON printer SC-PX3V
Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
I don't manage very well. ^_^ Prioritize and do what I can.
How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
It depends on the situation of other work at that time. Depending on the content of the picture, a complicated illustration will take about a month.
What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end? How much is the design fee?
What was your most important job experience?
When I was younger, I was designing toys at Design Production. Here, we design everything from planning to presentation sketching, product design of products, instruction manual design, package design, promotional material design, etc. from the beginning to the end. My work experience here has had a major impact on my subsequent design.
What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
I like crafts. So it's most fun to make a piece that you can cut and paste.
What are your future plans? What is next for you?
First, make an illustration calendar for 2021. The next step is to find out about selling A2 picture frame works by opening a store in Amazon.
Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
The illustration of "Tabineko" was used for the sake label. It is a sake named "Sake that travels the four seasons." Spring and summer liquors are currently on sale. Alcohol for autumn and winter will be released later this year.
How can people contact you?
Please contact us from the "Contact Us" page of the "Tabinneko" site, or contact us directly by email.
Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
For overseas, we sell our products on Etsy, a handmade market site. Please take a look at them once.

Extended Interview with Toshinori Mori

Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
I enrolled in the mechanical department of the university, but thought that it didn't suit me, dropped out and re-entered the graphic design department of a vocational school of design. I learned there for two years. So I haven't learned the specialized knowledge like I would at an art university. After purchasing a personal computer (Mac) personally, I learned how to use Illustrator and Photoshop from books.
What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
I've always liked drawing and crafting since I was a kid. I also understood that I had such a talent by winning prizes in contests. But I didn't think it would be a job in the future. One day when I was living a day-and-night reversal at university, I bought a book with a design that caught my eye, and I was impressed when he got a work of “Ayao Yamana” that had illustrations such as Shiseido drawn there. I entered a vocational school where I was the president. After that I got a job as a designer and became independent and worked on the project in front of me. I designed various things. However, from the age of 50, I started to question the idea of designing to help with consumption. So I started to draw original illustrations. I am currently drawing an illustration because there are people who are happy with this drawing.
Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?
I can't say either. I think there was a flow of both. I haven't worked in a blessed environment as a designer. I worked on various projects desperately thinking that I could only do this job to eat. Now I understand that I was born to paint. I was destined to do this job.
What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
I am currently drawing works that will please everyone, but in the future I would like to make more art-oriented works. I think it will be a more abstract work with a more personal theme.
What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
A good design cannot be done just by sitting in front of a desk. Opening the five senses in nature and feeling what it means to be beautiful and what it means to be happy. The role of the designer is to think about how to make people happy.
What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?
Good designers work for companies. Distinguishes designer works for the consumers.
What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
I think that a design that feels the designer's intention (I design according to this policy) is an excellent design.
What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?
I think this is because I feel "happy and rich" by being able to own these products. I think that "happiness and abundance" is different depending on the person...
What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?
If I have enough time, I would like to make an "artistic cat" by cutting out cardboard and assembling it. By being in space, it is a kind of object that can leave everyday life and make you feel "free" for a while. It's for myself, for cat lovers, and for art lovers.
What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?
I would like to expand the picture of Tabineko to the actual size, and make a three-dimensional work by arranging each layer with a gap. So to speak, a full-scale "Tabineko" landscape. One can then actually enter the world of "Tabineko".
What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?
The person making the product doesn't know whether the finished design will be finished as expected. Of course, I design with all the power I have, but there is no guarantee that it will get high marks. So, I spend most of my day in stoic. I don't want to waste my luck outside of design.
Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?
The manga by Osamu Tezuka, which I read when I was a child, was a big influence. When I was a high school student, I once posted an illustration in a motorcycle magazine. I was also greatly influenced by the bike illustration of "Kimitoshi Honma," who was the winner at that time. I was also influenced by the manga artists “Yoshimoto Baron” and “Kazuo Kamimura” who had become college students. After becoming a toy designer, I adored designers who draw cute characters such as "Dick Bruna", "Charles Monroe Schulz" and "Tove Marika Jansson". Also, I was very much influenced by the movie work of "Hayao Miyazaki". However, my current favorite is "Matisse". ^_^
What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?
I mentioned "Matisse" in the question above, but I can't say why I like Matisse's work. He says he likes the five senses inside me. I think he's in a "state" where a talented artist can make a tremendous effort and finally get to it. Isn't it because it comes from the work?
What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?
As I said, I am attracted to the work of "Matisse". That's because his work makes me feel the essence of art.
How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?
I worked hard on various jobs (illustration, graphic design, product design, package design, character design, etc.) each time. That's how I gradually expanded my skill range. I think that deepening various knowledge and experience in this way leads to the quality of the work.
If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?
I enrolled in the mechanical department of the engineering department of the university, but dropped out and re-entered a vocational school of design. Therefore, I think that when I graduated from university as it was, I became an engineer for a machine manufacturer somewhere.
How do you define design, what is design for you?
I think it's a work to create things and things that make you feel "rich feeling". It contains "love", "dream", and "hope".
Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?
I believed it was right to make a work that I was happy with. At one point, many people liked and purchased works that I didn't like. I realized that until then I was a lonely designer. I think that the person who bought it at this time made me who I am now.
What helped you to become a great designer?
When the PC came out into the world, I was convinced that I would use it for designing in the future. After that, I learned by myself how the PC works and how to use various software. Similarly, SNS skills now give individual designers a great deal of sales power and sales power. Designers in the future will not be able to design. How to send it is also important.
What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?
When I was in my 50s, I worked as a freelance designer. However, I realized that the requested work left me nothing. There was a lot of ad hoc design work that was quickly consumed. So I thought that I would make something I designed and sell it at an online shop to make a living. To do so, I saved the requested work and made my own work. I was very poor before I could live by selling my work. ^_^ I now think that period was necessary.
How do you think designers should present their work?
I am currently publishing my work online for people all over the world. For designers and illustrators, we are presenting at Behance. If you are a fan of "Tabineko" illustrations, we will announce them on the "Tabineko" official website and Facebook "Tabi neko" page, Twitter, Instagram, tumblr, and Pinterest. We also make announcements on personal Facebook pages and blogs for acquaintances in the area. Anyway, I thought that it would be possible for various people to see by making presentations in various places, and I have increased the number of presentation sites.
What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
The work of making detailed digital illustrations using a personal computer has become difficult due to age. From now on, I would like to make analog tableaus and prints using paintbrushes. I'm thinking of going from a designer to an artist in the future.
What people expect from an esteemed designer such as yourself?
Maybe you are expected to make a new picture calendar every year. First, it's impossible. ^_^
How does design help create a better society?
Now, under the influence of COVID-19, dark shadows are pointing to the hearts of people around the world. I think the role of my design is to brighten the hearts of those people.
What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?
In the spring of 2020, sake using the illustration of "Tabinneko" as a label is now on sale. In the future, a total of 4 liquors will be on sale, one for each of the four seasons in spring, summer, autumn and winter. I'm excited to see the four lined up.
Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?
After all, it is a "Tabinneko" illustration that continues from 2011 to the present. We have a lot of people who are fans and we also purchase works and goods.
What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?
From now on, I think that the number of individual designers creating works themselves and delivering them directly to buyers around the world through SNS will increase. Also, I think that the design will be more focused on the part of the person's mind, and the difference between art and design will disappear.
Where do you think the design field is headed next?
I think I'm heading in my heart. Design that makes you feel "richness of your heart" Designs that feel "love". Design of "emotion".
How long does it take you to finalize a design project?
In the case of Tabineko Illustration, it takes time to produce and ship the work, but it takes about a month to finish one illustration. It feels like it will be completed little by little every day. I can't force it. You can't do anything good even if you force it. I think I have the time needed to get it done.
When you have a new design project, where do you start?
First, select the original landscape photo. If not, shoot it and go out.
Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?
The feeling of living now determines the direction of design. In other words, I think trends determine design.
What is the role of technology when you design?
Currently, whether you make something or print it, the basics are exchanging data. Design expressions are now treated as data. The role of technology lies in the digitization of expressions.
What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?
Mac mini and EIZO monitor, EPSON printer PX5V &SC-PX3V Adobe Illustrator&Photoship
When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?
How is this made? Why did the designer choose this shape, color and material? Do not design like this for yourself.
Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?
I haven't met such a wonderful partner yet. ^_^ I think co-design will be especially necessary in the coming era.
Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?
Maybe my brother. It was my brother who brought me a new culture from my childhood. I often imitate what my older brother started, and in the end, I tend to be deeply absorbed in it.
Which books you read had the most effect on your design?
A comic for adults called "Cohabitation period" of "Kazuo Kmimura" that I read when I was a college student
How did you develop your skills as a master designer?
When I received a job request, I offered a service with more proposals than the other person requested. In other words, there are many wasteful parts. However, I think that this useless part has accumulated for many years, which has led to improving my skills.
Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?
When I was a university student, there were many students of the same age in the apartment I rented, and I often gathered in someone's room and played mahjong until morning. After that, I dropped out and went to a vocational school in Tokyo, and I never met the members at the time. If possible, I would like to play mahjong again with the same members and in the same apartment.
How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?
I applied for this award with the intention of becoming famous and getting people all over the world to know me. For now, it doesn't seem to be famous in Japan yet.^_^
What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?
My favorite color is a little orange-yellow. The place is quiet Yamazato. Foods include tofu, eggplant, sweet potatoes, Japanese sweets, and coffee. The season is May of the fresh green. Do you like summer too? Items are bicycles, cars, motorcycles, computers, cameras, chairs. Brands are Apple, EPSON, Nikon, HITACHI, SUZUKI, IKEA.
Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?
When I was working in toy design production, a request from a major motorcycle manufacturer came to me for a job called "Toy Designer Thinking Bike". At that time, I proposed a weakman type moped that runs while playing music, but I liked it and decided to make a full-scale mockup of only the outer shape. Before ordering the measures, we first made a simple mockup ourselves. I scraped Styrofoam, covered it with paper, painted it with gesso and colored it with acrylic paint. In the final prototype, a large dummy tape rotates and music plays. It was more of a big bike toy than a moped.^_^
What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?
The music you listen to while you work, the cats that ask for rice, and the bicycle that frees you from work.
Please tell us anything you wish your fans to know about you, your design and anything else?
You can buy my work at this store.

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