Manager of the Communication Design GroupDaizo Sato
Working at Yamaha
The balance between logic and passion
Although I had majored in spatial design, I finally decided to join Yamaha, and the company policy of requiring even the new employees to be fully responsible for overseeing the design of an entire product right from the outset was a true trial by fire for me. In the course of working on several products, I realized that industrial design was about offering objective solutions to a range of such problems as the limitations imposed by specifications, manufacturing capabilities, and the needs of the market. However, one day I was asked to work on the design for an instrument called the PSR-18. The instrument had some unique specifications and it was a product that I wasn’t able to make attractive simply by looking at it as a problem to solve. I hit upon the idea of trying to design the instrument as a physical representation of how good it would feel to play. I gave curves to the body and keyboard ends, and added other touches to the speaker grills, resulting in a design that was extremely well received, and which was the start of a long line of successors. This experience taught me the importance of providing emotional value as well as logical solutions. Although I switched to designing sports products with the Sports division after working on this product, I found that the concepts of being inspiring to the player and of always being reliable were also extremely significant with sports design. Sometimes I went to watch matches where professional players were using the rackets I had designed, something that made me as nervous as if it were me out there on the court. In imagining how the products I had created were to be used, I think that I was able to understand players' feelings to some extent. I moved on to design a variety of tools such as PA systems and synthesizers for professional use, which, as solutions, are functional tools that require the deciphering of extremely complex equations. At the same time I tried to inject a little extra into the design through the use of colors that had never been used before, in order to bring some passion to these products and make them more attractive. I think that solutions are representative of a logical problem; if you keep thinking of them as a puzzle to solve, you will eventually arrive at the answer you want. Conversely, when you're creating an emotional product that inspires the player, one that is exciting to those who own it, there is no limit to the expression you can use. I believe that balancing both of these factors is important in design.
PSR-18(Keyboard), 900-series(Ski Boots), PROTO-FX-TP(Tennis racket), MOTIF-XS7(Synthesizer), CP-1(Stage piano), DM2000(Mixer)
Communication design that conveys the values of attraction
Currently I am mainly focusing on communication design. This field is an initiative for improving the qualities which organize information logically for communication, and which convey the originality of emotional values to our customers effectively. We continue to participate in both international design competitions and Yamaha-sponsored design exhibitions, and in the creation of design-oriented websites such as Yamaha Design "Synapses" in collaboration with our Corporate Communications Division has proved to be a significant step for communication design.
Design does not end when a product is completed. We also design the process right up to the moment when the product arrives in the hands of our customers—the attraction of the product has to be conveyed in a consistent manner in international trade fairs and exhibitions, store displays, product catalogs, and on websites. Our customers first see our products in advertisements and on the internet, and they also see our brand. We design everything, beginning from the first instance in which our customers touch a Yamaha product. That is a major theme for branding, which includes such concepts as CI (Corporate Identity) and VI (Visual Identity). We now believe that we need to be involved from this point onwards, and are now working in cooperation with many different divisions to make this reality. Recently we changed the English name of our design department from "Yamaha Product Design Laboratory" to "Yamaha Design Laboratory." This change reflects our determination to go beyond straightforward product design to design Yamaha itself, including the company's communication.