Category: Uncategorized


Think Like A Tourist: Deconstructing Danish Design

The island of Christiana situated in Copenhagen.

The island of Christiana situated in Copenhagen.

We headed out this summer for what call our Oishii design expedition. These trips help us to refresh, shift perspective, and perfect our practice. Around the office we ask everyone to “Think Like A Tourist” and purposeful travel is the best way to realize our recognizably lofty ambitions.

Going out and exploring is not simply about seeing what others are doing, although that’s always useful and fun. These trips are for us, about immersing ourselves in how other cultures think and work and create. So this summer we packed up and headed to Denmark, one of the centers of iconic Scandinavian design.

Design is everywhere in Denmark and Copenhagen; it infuses daily life, and not just architecture, industrial design, furniture or fashion. For well over 300 years, Denmark has been universally recognized for design and craftsmanship. And we are familiar with the modern designs of Bang & Olufsen, Kaare Klint, Arne Jacobsen and the Jans J. Wegner chairs. For us, we wanted to experience and understand the power behind Danish design, and capture thinking in action. We wanted to spend time in Bregade and the Design Museum and wander the city.

It became clear quickly to us that the power of Danish design is what happens before an object becomes physical and real.

Danish design captures a thought process, long before the iconic lamp, chair or building takes shape. Like good design thinkers, Danes create things for people, to use and maybe make their lives better and more comfortable. And fun, too. Perhaps it’s the history of Denmark; they endure long winters with only a sliver of sun, the many fjords and waterways cutting cold into bare skin. This is design thinking, solving our problems with a solution that brings light and air into routines. After all, that is what the best design is, problem solving on a grand and neverending scale.

You see design thinking obviously in architecture and urban planning. One example is a “city” in the middle of Copenhagen called Christiana. It’s not a “city”; it’s more of an urbane modern commune smack dab in the middle of a bustling metropolis. In this “city space” on a fjord, was once a 700-year-old military barracks. The Danish government was in the process of abandoning the property in 1971 when locals quickly marched in. They set up a semi-autonomous city with housing, public services and a public garden and architecture codes. They called in celebrated graffiti artists to paint murals, they set up food markets and industry. Lots of thought and experimentation has gone into all facets of the garrison-city, what the early founders wanted residents to experience.

The flag of Christiana.

The flag of Christiana.




Welcome and well-placed firewood

Welcome and well-placed firewood

Entering the gate into Christiana.

Entering the gate into Christiana.


The fjord looking onto the bridge. Note the new architecture emerging in the background.

The fjord looking onto the bridge. Note the new architecture emerging in the background.




A typical “vacation” house on the island. All houses must adhere to strict regulations.

A typical “vacation” house on the island. All houses must adhere to strict regulations.



#WTFuture Looks Bright: Branding PromaxBDA: The Conference 2014

We’re still in the thick of it, but we’re having a blast working with PromaxBDA on branding  The Conference 2014, which takes place June 10-12 in New York City. This year’s theme is #WTFuture.


Out of chaos comes beauty, out of disruption comes opportunity. Building on this idea and “embracing the mayhem,” we played on the cheekiness of the #WTF hashtag in order to promote the event and encourage engagement across social platforms, as well as tie in social medias’s relevance to discussions at the conference.

The campaign starts with website takeovers, digital banners and email newsletters – all of which were designed behind the concept of a “window” into the future. From here, the design will be rolled out over the entire collateral for the conference, from room signage and banners to The Conference program. In an attempt to unify the ancillary events that happen in conjunction with The Conference, the flexible design has provided the perfect template to make the Promo Boot Camp and the Elite Member Events feel like they are an integral part of The Conference.

Images are central to the way we communicate in today’s media landscape, and that’s why our branding package for the conference depends so heavily on symbolism. So, rather than provide a single piece of hero key art or simply variations of it, we conceived a graphic framework which opened our design to various interconnecting images within the #WTFuture theme in inspiring and unusual ways. Creating a visual nomenclature was also key to getting our intended audience to participate in the construction of the meaning of the campaign itself, to encourage them to help construct what the future may be.

With changes in our industry, such as more ad dollars going to digital than broadcast, it’s an exciting time to see what emerges. Our view of the future is not dystopian, but rather that it holds many exciting possibilities, and we encourage everyone to optimistically embrace it. Aesthetically, our designs suggest as much with bright colors, while digital noise in the overall graphic overlay reminds us that the future is ever coming into focus.

The design package ultimately served up a dose of inspiration for the intro video that we’re also producing for The Conference. We can’t wait for you see it, so stay tuned!

Never ones to turn down an opportunity to soak in as much creative inspiration as possible, we’ll be at the conference to cheer on our colleagues and clients as well as learn from them, including keynote speakers Tom Freston of Firefly3, Shane Smith of VICE, and Robert Rodriguez of El Rey Network.




Seeing the World Through Kubrick’s Eyes

Inspired thinking starts with looking at the world differently. It can come from within ourselves, but it’s often more fun when it comes from artists — visual artists, such as Stanley Kubrick, for example. Kubrick invites us to see our daily lives by way of visual cues and patterns. It’s always a jolt to the system and at the same time, a hilarious (and enlightening) way to feel and experience.

Kubrick’s creative visionary mind and methods of thinking are akin to some of today’s tools:

• Boxes are a tangible version of Google and other search engines.

• His photography requests resemble Google maps.

• His late night memos resemble texts or tweets.

Just watch this documentary on Kubrick to see what we mean. And let us know what you think. How are you seeing the world in a different way?

Stanley Kubricks Boxes from JAVARING on Vimeo.


The New York Times Refresh Is About More Than Aesthetics

NYT redesignThis week, one of the world’s most respected newspapers, The New York Times refreshed and re-launched their digital platform to mostly positive reviews. Fast Company characterized the visual refresh as somewhat exciting compared to the previous decade-old design. Others pointed to the back-end changes, re-styled pages and “sections” and navigation adjustments as necessary moves to moor the company in the rough waters of decreasing sales, increased competition and slackening advertising rates for digital newspapers.

We generally like the design and navigational changes. The look and feel of the refreshed home page is less like the “swarm” of ink of the old design and presents a clean, measured and even engaging experience. With the new navigation features, scrolling through an article no longer requires clicking and reloading into new pages, which made for a choppy reading experience. But beyond the aesthetic, and even the functionality improvements of the refresh, what we find most interesting about the new site is what the changes say about the status of The Times in our culture and the newspaper world.

“We are seeing a company retool and experiment in the laboratory of design, media and branding, and in the end, this is about larger strategic issues,” Kate Canada Obregon, Oishii’s Head of Research and Strategy explained. “The New York Times is actively pursuing its once coveted leadership role in our changing world, and is using the discipline of design to get there.”

Oishii’s President and Chief Creative Officer Ish Obregon agreed, pointing out how even small details like the new smooth integration of the comments alongside the articles, which he says creates a “rich and textured” feel to the reading experience, is all part of a bigger news delivery goal. “From a design perspective, this is a very small step toward a blog look, without losing the power and stature of the new,” Ish said. “And great design strengthens the delivery of news.”

The Times has arguably been one of the most important leaders in the distribution of news. As it wields such formidable power, it also creates and shapes expectations about reading, how we get our news and how we recognize what’s important.

The New York Times redesign is a way for it to once again be a leader in reimagining news, reading and information delivery. Its role has always been to report facts, tell stories and inform us about our world, but in this new digital era, it’s also subtly taken on another role – to deliver “all the news that’s fit to print” through a fresh, innovative and powerful design harnessed through the most creative use of technologies.



We’re deep in the holiday season! Parties, lists, gift giving and receiving and plenty of ways to jangle your fa-la-la-la-la’s We’ve asked licensed therapist Nicole Shannon to give us her expert advise, her time tested ways to celebrate and stay creative and productive during the season.


Happy and Delicious New Year!

At the end of the year, lots of deadlines are upon us. What are the best ways to balance work and personal commitments this time of year?
The best way to stay balanced during the end of year hustle and bustle is to be mindful of what you’d like to accomplish and how you want to feel when you’re ringing in 2014. If you want to ring in the new year the same “exhausted” and “busy” way you watched it roll out then continue doing what you’re doing, but you can remain connected to yourself and others even though there are deadlines and commitments up ahead. The number one pitfall we all make is to over commit ourselves and in the process we disappoint ourselves and others. Don’t over commit, ask for help, and start by getting comfortable with the word, “no”. Balance is a state of mind we achieve when we’re being true to ourselves.

Holiday parties means lots of shmoozing and socializing. What suggestions do you have for having fun while still being professional at the work events? Depending on your introvert or extrovert status, holiday parties can be fun or torture. Either way, you can have your type of fun and feel comfortable come Monday. First and foremost, keep it classy. Choose your outfit wisely and keep in mind you’re headed to an office party not the nightclub. Self-monitor as much as possible or hang with a friend who can assist you with that if you feel the temptation to indulge will be too strong. Keep the conversations pleasant and upbeat and have a time limit in mind. Typically, nothing good happens after midnight.

How can people enjoy the holidays and get everything accomplished on their “to do” list? If your “to do” list is reasonable then you should be able to enjoy the holidays and get everything done. It’s always important to have realistic goals though. Look at your to-do list and ask yourself a few questions, 1) Do I really need to accomplish everything on this list? 2) What will happen if I don’t get everything done? 3) Am I too focused on checking things off my list that I’m forgetting about the important things? Nothing feels better than checking things off our list, but we sometimes focus on the “lists” more than our time connecting to those around us.

What are some good ways to stay creative and productive during the holidays? Stress and overwhelm are two sure fire ways to zap creativity. In order to keep your creative juices flowing during the holiday season make sure you’re creating space both internally and externally. The internal and external space need to be congruent. So many times I have people telling me that they don’t understand why they’re not feeling inspired and once we take a peek at their internal and external worlds we can see why it’s so uninspiring. If you’re just rushing from place to place and not creating space for self-care then I’m sure you’re not creating space in your life for inspiration. Connection to self and others is what inspires creativity as well as taking the time away that you need to be quiet and thoughtful.


(A)typical Day At The Office

Oishii Office 2013


Imaginative Spaces: How To Do Your Best Work

Featuring Dan Walkup

As professionals in the design and branding industries, we’re always thinking about our creative surroundings as generative environments. Generative spaces – or imaginative habitats — allow ideas and people to flourish. Bold, radical and intentional, they empower culture, sensory experience, habits, mindsets and thinking patterns. Imaginative habitats help generate curiosity and respectfully blend people of vastly different viewpoints working for a common goal.

What’s your company’s imaginative habitat? Does your space attract the kind of talent you want? Does it inspire you and those around you?

At Oishii, we are lucky enough to work with academics, storytellers, producers, visual and spatial dreamers. Featured here is Daniel Walkup, Executive Producer at Oishii. He is someone who thrives in an imaginative habitat, seamlessly working in a culture that uses his talents in research and creative, the left and right hemispheres.

Dan Walkup_3

What was your first paying job doing what you love?

I try to approach everything I do so that it’s doing something I love. My career trajectory has many deeply interesting and often unrelated branching paths. The one thing that connects them is my desire to work independently and with a sense of purpose. My first “favorite” paying job was probably working in a neuroscience lab doing my own research on song learning and acquisition in zebra finches.

What inspires you in your work?

DW: I’m inspired by the breadth of things we do and the depth of creative, strategy and understanding we put into it all. This inspires me to figure out the best approaches to ensure our people in the trenches have the resources they need, while keeping clients informed, happy and as much a part of the process as makes them comfortable.

What are your favorite type of projects?

DW:I like all kinds of projects. That’s what makes being at Oishii so special. There’s never a day where we’re doing the same thing; we’re always looking to expand what we do and how to do it more efficiently.

For me personally, I like solving puzzles that require quiet time, research and creativity. These kinds of projects come in many forms, from creative to growing a business. I’m lucky I’m at a place where I can try my best at both.

What is your ideal working environment?

DW:One where everyone has ownership of what they do and everyone’s input is valued. I can be a bit intense and impatient, so I work better independently – it’s also where I can make strange connections in developing different solutions. I have to be secure in my steps before I can bring someone on the journey with me.

What artists inspire you?

DW:Too many to name really … and it depends on the day of the week and my mood and what I’m doing. I guess my greatest hits list might be Marcel Duchamp, Andy Warhol, David Wojnarowicz, Xavier Dolan, J. M. Coetzee, Matthew Bourne, Alexander McQueen, Sadie Benning, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Dante. I know these are all pretty classic, but I’m always looking for new inspirations.

What companies do you like to work for?

DW:I like working for companies that care about the people who work there – not just seeing them as cogs in the wheel. One that not only allows a life outside of work, but encourages it. I love possibilities of being challenged and really pushing the way I think.


Einstein Creative: When Two Brains Unite

Everything we do, from logos to branding to energizing company cultures, stems from the confluence of the brain spheres.

From left to right, our eclectic team of designers, directors, researchers, consumer insight strategists, art theorists, storytellers and social scientists yield a unique mix of capabilities and depth – separate but interconnected perspectives.

Good design for us is the interdisciplinary merging of business, art and science, taken together. As our alchemy of strategy taps the right brain and the logical left, we were encouraged by the recent findings of Florida State University Anthropologist Dean Falk and East Normal Chinese University Physicist Weiwei Men.

Einstein’s brain showed physical signs of “inter-spheric communication” between his corpus callosum. In other words, Einstein was able to connect and utilize the powers of both brains. He was not only remarkable for pushing the boundaries of scientific knowledge, but also for connecting and cross-pollinating them to challenge the status quo. He was aware of the ways society separates thinking and processes. He even went so far as to suggest the imagination is more important than knowledge: “For knowledge is limited to what we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world…”

No doubt, Einstein, without the practical work of the imagination, the impractical work of science could not happen.

Have you reached out to your corpus callosum lately?


SXSW V2V: Day 1


We love SXSW not only because of the parties and people (although we should note both are excellent), but also because, on a more earnest note, we at Oishii love participating at SXSW V2V and the community of like-mind entrepreneurs and creativists who experiment with the order of things.

Building on the SXSW experience, SXSW V2V is a four-day event in Las Vegas with an emphasis on the creative spark that drives entrepreneurial innovation.

In the days ahead, the 1,500 attendees will participate in informative panels, mentoring and coaching programs, intense workshops, pitch competitions and exhibits of startup innovations.
Here are a few highlights from today’s sessions:

America’s Entrepreneurial Spirit: The Case for Fixing our Broken Immigration System
Alex Torrenegra, CEO of VoiceBunny
Andrew Crump, CEP of Bluefields
Mark Falzone, Deputy Director National Immigration Forum
Rep. Joe Heck, US House of Representatives – US Congressman
Scott Allison, CEO of Teamly Inc.

This panel discussed what lies ahead for immigration reform, and what the tech industry can do to fix the broken system.

Key takeaways:
• Like a bad football team, we’re training the players with the best strategies and sending them out to work in other countries because of immigration.
• It’s necessary to bring (the right) talent to startups.
• There’s need to be a balance between bringing international talent and national security.

Founder’s Guide to Securing First Round of Funding
Alex Mittal, Co-Founder & CEO of FundersClub

In this session, Alex Mittal outlined the fundraising process for first-time founders, focusing on whether fundraising makes sense, best practices for securing their company’s first round of capital, the role investors will play in their company’s future, and things to consider before agreeing to investment terms.

Key takeaways:
• Try not raising money. 2/3 of IPOs are not from VC money.
• $25-50k can start companies. Go with your family and friends.
• Then raise about 18 months’ worth of money.
• Spending doesn’t equal results.
• The key to success: don’t die!

Not Just a Pretty Profile: Building Online Persona
Brett Martin
Christine Herron, Director of Intel Capital
Peter Kazanjy, Founder of TalentBin

This panel discussed the importance of cultivating the online persona, provide concrete examples of what has and hasn’t worked, and help you understand the challenges that come along with that creation.

Key takeaways:
• How a person can act like a brand and vice versa.
• Everyone has an online persona. Be proactive about managing it.
• Venture groups and employers will look at your online persona.
• Authenticity has to be proportional to what you share. Personality is what attracts people.
• Create goals and objectives around your online persona and build a content strategy for it.
• Purpose needs to be defined:
o Build professional credibility
o Professional engagement (personal)
o Create connections
• Address mistakes head on
• Your online identity carries over into the real world (examples: Uber, Lyft, etc.) Rating each other furthers that identity.
• First step to engage (if not already) is to signup, consume and learn.
• Good analytics tools: Reporative, Twitter (analytics) & Sprout Social

Keynote: The City as a Startup
Tony Hsieh, Zappos

Culture is to company as community is to city; it’s about values, innovation, serendipity, and attraction of smart startups and the creative class. Tony applies his Zappos corporate culture to build the most community-focused big city in the world, in Downtown Las Vegas.

Key takeaways:
• Tony invested in Zappos… and then joined the company because investing was boring.
• He invested into customer service instead of marketing.
• Culture is the most important thing in order to deliver happiness.
• The values can be anything; it just requires company alignment.
• There needs to be a higher purpose beyond profits.
• Brand and culture are different sides of the same coin.
• A great brand is a story that never stops unfolding.
• Zappos moving past its four walls and into community as well.

Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh

Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh

Learn How Top Brands are Succeeding by Being Transparent
Jeff Rosenblum, CEO of Questus

Jeff discussed how advertising is the connection point between consumers and corporations and that the industry can be the linchpin in a revolution that enables corporations to earn billions while moving the planet forward.

Key takeaways:
• Advertising is going through a revolution. Social media and technology are forcing a paradigm change.
• Advertising can save the world.
• Trust is at an all-time low. The authenticity of a brand is so important to building that trust.
• Because of technology, transparency is forced. If you don’t participate in the conversation, people will have it around you.
• As branders, we have to help companies be great. We can inspire a new generation of branding where authenticity drives consumers, not false messaging.
• Digital natives are now taking over the workplace. What happens as transparency natives come into the workplace?
• Advertising has to make a fundamental shift from “interrupting us” to adding value to our activities.

Warning: A non-numeric value encountered in /nfs/c05/h05/mnt/16967/domains/ on line 63