Spending time in Japan during Design Matters Tokyo gave us the unique opportunity to explore the Japanese design scene and build new valuable relationships with other designers. Not only did we mingle with local designers, we also discovered new designers, artists, studios, and agencies.
Japanese web design is unique. In fact, because of the complexity of the Japanese alphabets and, more in general, the visual complexity Japanese are used to navigating on a daily basis, adapting to global web design trends or standards has taken a little more time. But today UX plays a much bigger role, and there are plenty of websites with mind blowing visuals.
So, we decided to create a list of our favourite Japanese studios and agencies that truly broadened our horizons, in the hope that you will find precious inspiration and the same level of excitement we experienced when we first came across them.
1. IN FOCUS
IN FOCUS is a design studio in Tokyo centered on the fields required for digital contents such as web, graphic design, video and photography. Their work focuses on crossing different digital experiences to generate new perspectives.
UltraSuperNew is a global creative agency born in Harajuku. Their work is entirely targeted for Millennials and Gen Y, and focuses on everything related to digital, social, activation and emerging tech. Their mission is to create something that doesn’t just move past traditional marketing, but also moves people.
This Design studio takes its name from the phrase “God is in the details”. Their mission is to deliver quality design work finding their intent in details, but without getting caught up in them.
S5 Style is a Studio focused on Art Direction, Interaction and Web Design, Photo and Movie Direction, and Front-end Development. Shogo Tabuchi, its founder, is one of The FWA judge, and is active in a wide variety of fields, including UI design and space design.
Whatever is a creative studio that aims to conceive unexplored ideas, and bring them to life by whatever means possible. They are based in Tokyo, as well as New York, Taipei, and Berlin. They produce innovative work in a plethora of creative fields, like brand design, content production, service and product design.
CINRA is a multilingual design agency based in Tokyo, that consists of expert planners, directors, designers, editors, and developers with a solid network of leading creators and established corporate partners. From music, art and design, and literature, to theater, film and television, CINRA cover almost every everything in the entertainment industry. They meet all bicultural communications needs thanks to their expertise in digital marketing and website production. Their range of services include building websites, copywriting, visual and print content, desktop publishing, video making, and event organizing.
Uniel is a branding and design creative studio whose work thrives on empathy, cherishing a positive mindset. They take pride in always following the creative process from the very start to the very end, to make sure they have complete control and supervision of the projects they work on.
8. GARDEN EIGHT
Garden Eight is a creative digital production team based in Tokyo. They are a team of seven people creating unique digital experiences through Visual and Web Design, and Web Development. What makes them really stand out is their elegant style and sapient use of animations and effects.
The Japanese artist unit “exonemo” (by SEMBO Kensuke and AKAIWA Yae) was formed in 1996 on the Internet. Their experimental projects are typically humorous and innovative explorations of the paradoxes of digital and analog computer networked and actual environments in our lives.
Shiftbrain is a Design Agency with a versatile strategy that uses the power of creativity to create strong emotions to remain better imprinted into the viewers’ memory. Their clients include THE GINZA CO., Denso Corporations, Starbucks, etc.
Zizo is a Japanese award-winning creative company creating captivating content with the perfect blend of technology planning and design. Their vision is to offer some fun to the world and to add passion to their job. The headquarters are located in Osaka, but they also have an office in Tokyo and Barcelona.
Ai.step is a performance unit consisting of Kakuya Shiraishi and Scott Allen. They do audio live coding and data visualization, which is performed by an AI based on machine learning and a human live coder. In their performance, deep learning is used for the code generation and writing of the sound synthesis programming language TidalCycles. The AI generates the code to be displayed in the editor on the screen and the performer selects the tone generated by the AI. This way, mutual complementation between human and AI is realized through live coding.
Party is a creative studio based in Tokyo, characterized by strong and vivacious aesthetics that captivate the youngest. They provide a wide range of services within Product and Service Design, Branding, and Entertainment. Clients include UNIQLO, Narita International Airport, Expo 2025, Wired, YAHOO Japan and many more.
14. DOT BY DOT
Dot By Dot inc. is a design and innovative technology company that creates and delivers across platforms, multi-media and multi-field projects for both national and international clients. Their team has been at the forefront of award-winning works for several years, dedicating themselves to web and mobile design, prototyping, as well as entertainment.