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Designing Orthodox Styles

Munakata himself creates features he wants

Munakata himself designs features he needs for his daily life and creates objects he can be content with, so he spends holidays in his work room. "I am preoccupied with pieces of furniture lately", he says. He designed a door that leads to the corridor by himself, so that "fresh wind passes through it in summer", however he states "my cat does not go out when I open it". Choosing the material fit to the room's atmosphere, he strove to design a well-built sliding door. He is stubborn in his work and never compromises, so he paid great attention to the details and continued to refine the door until he was satisfied with it. His achievement was a fine lattice door. As a result, fresh wind can pass through it and he has obtained a comfortable space. The door is so smoothly built that his cat can open it and go out. Munakata thinks “I’m happy with this.”

Superb tools shorten working hours

Munakata has various tools to enjoy designing in his room at home. He loves to use screwdrivers made by his favorite manufacturer. When he selects a new screwdriver, he handles it first to see if he likes it, and he only buys one at a time. Special characteristics can be found in the head of the screwdriver. The head is a different component and made of steel, and it is welded unevenly. They are tools where ease of use is considered and much care is put into making them. “The head component has nearly no angles, and it is easy to exert strength when turning the screwdriver,” he says. A good tool is made through various design processes. Using a good tool does not require excessive strength, meaning speedy production is possible. In short, good tools are considerate of the user's needs. “A good tool is an ally which makes production comfortable,” Munakata continues.

Achieving "never-ending operations

The newest product Munakata led and designed is a production printing machine. The customers are professional printers. These customers print large numbers of ordered items in short periods of time. Their clients are so demanding that bad print quality cannot result in new orders. Thus, it is necessary to design a machine that does not place a burden on customers who require fine print work. What is required of Munakata and his team is to provide “a printer that does not stop and lessens the burden on customers, so that users can trust the machine for printing operations” -- a design requirement that considerations on styling alone cannot satisfy. Munakata aimed for a design in which the functions give the outward appearance its characteristics. The main feature of this design is the operator call light, which extends vertically from the machine and indicates the machines current state. One of the characteristics of the design is to allow users to check the status of the machine even they are away from the machine.

Everyone shares the same image

Users will trust a machine and regard it as a “professional tool” if it communicates a sense of robustness. As the leader of the team, Munakata placed importance on getting all of the design team to share the same image of what a sense of robustness should be. When Munakata experienced a "sense of robustness" in everyday life, he took a picture and conveyed to other members. “Rather than making time especially for communication, we communicated all the time and shared even the smallest information with each other.” Through doing that, “Teamwork improved, and gradually the members begin to share the same idea of robustness, thus everyone contributed to create the design we aimed for,” Munakata says. By selecting two new dark colors and creating an outer appearance whose shape is like a dense “single cluster”, the team created a machine with solid impressions. Accordingly, the machine has acquired a distinguished design status among many machines in a print factory. Munakata will continue to maintain his way of thinking, and further develop his orthodox design into the future.