Kumiko’s Love Letters

Hey Kumiko, how are you? How do you feel after your exhibit at Matchbox in Wellington?
I am so happy I got positive feedback about my LOVE letters project and glad that I was able to join that awesome exhibition. I was impressed by other exhibitor’s works. They are really inspirational!

Where are you from originally?
I’m originally from Japan and have been living in Wellington four years.

Why did u choose Wellington?
Many people ask me that question (laughs). My answer is…..I don’t know!
But one thing is for sure: I feel like something good is going to happen in Wellington.
And I want to be able to say YES, I WAS RIGHT!
I love Wellington. People are awesome, I enjoy multi-cultural atmosphere. I LOVE the friends I met here!!

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Why design? What’s your story?
I always loved seeing beautiful designs since I was a child. But I had no art background and no idea how I create a design.
Also I’ve been dreaming to live in another country.
So I decided to study a new subject (and my dream subject) : graphic design.
When I was a graphic design student, I struggled to communicate in English as I’m not a native English speaker.
One day, my tutor told me “Problem is beautiful.” That was my wake-up call, I thought I would change my problem into an advantage. I don’t speak English as a native speaker, but I can communicate through graphic design which conveys my idea as a visual language. Since then I was absorbed in graphic design more.
Graphic design brought me a lot of opportunities to meet new people. It makes me happy, and I want to share that love for Design.
Graphic design is my life!

Do you feel that your culture influences your designs?
Yes, definitely!
I have learned graphic design and got skills in New Zealand, but my design is spiced with Japanese culture,
People don’t  always realise it.

Love letters! Congrats, what an awesome project, how did you come up with it?
Thank you! I have been away from graphic design for several months because I was busy, and I really missed doing it.
So I decided to task a new typography project on my own. I knew it would be challenging to design 26 letters with different styles, but I thought it would be fun too.

Which letter is your favorite?
It’s hard to choose one letter as my favorite, hehehe.
But I love M, because it reflects well what I want to do in this project, mix “Typography”, “Art” and “Culture”.

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You brought ethnicity in some of your letters and different culture and stories together, why is that?
Words exist as a communication tool, and they are composed of letters. But letters don’t have any meanings by themselves.
I wanted to communicate to viewers through letters. Because they are beautiful, they always fascinate me.
By adding a cultural element, a letter was developed into an art, and it tells the story as a communicator.

Did you use different techniques for each one?
Not all of them. Some letters were created by paper illustration, hand lettering, photo collage etc.
But I created them by different styles. I really like to combine digital and handwork.

Is the I a collage? Love it 🙂
Yes it is, thanks! I started to create I by paper illustration, and then added some texture.
Roundish shapes were placed wobbly, but still balanced.

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What’s next for you?
Hiragana (Japanese character) art!
We have three characters, Kanji (similar of Chinese letters), Katakana and Hiragana.
I especially like Hiragana because their shapes are unique and cute.
Want to design Hiragana typeface, and then want to expand it into pattern, educational cards, logo etc…
Yes I’m totally crazy about Typography!

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Find Kumiko’s work on 100percent-kumi.com

Photography by Lizzie Snow @lizziesnowphotography
and Kumiko

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