storm from the east

Norway banknotes by Snøhetta and The Metric System

» Branding, Culture, Design



The designs for Norway's new banknotes have been attracting a lot of attention, and for good reason: they're awesome.

Designed by Snøhetta (top) and The Metric System (bottom), the new notes blend Snøhetta's stunning pixellated views of Norway with The Metric System's equally stunning depictions of Norwegian nature and culture.

The designs were chosen from a selection submitted to the Norges Bank, all of which you can see here.

Join us for our alwe pry? A quick lesson in colour choice

» Studio


Although you can't really see from the photo, the homemade letters in the window of our studio are meant to be letting people know about our upcoming Halloween party. Due to a slight tint in our window and lighting, the black letters are all but invisible, which tells people we've got an ALWE PRY coming. (The back to front Y is a different matter. Good job we're not editors or anything...).

Embarrassment aside, it was a good reminder of how important colour choice is, and how equally important testing is. It's up in orange now, making it all legible.

If you're in our neck of the woods on the 31st and fancy joining us, get in touch.

Happy birthday to the Shinkansen

» Culture, Japan


The Shinkansen (Bullet Train) turns 50 today.

Japan’s public transportation is the cleanest, most courteous in the world, run by uniformed, be-gloved men and women who still epitomise a hallowed Japanese work ethic that most companies struggle to maintain in an economy that has remained sluggish for two decades.

Read more in The Guardian.

Designers Apartment

» Culture, Design, Japan

A quick introduction to the amazing work of Takeshi Tsunehashi, aka Designers Apartment.

Live branding case study: Watch our new business grow (hopefully)

» Branding case study

We're in the process of starting a new business based on language education and, to give people an idea of how we go about branding for clients, we've decided to show how we're going about branding ourselves.

As we're just opening our doors, it's pretty much a live look at building a brand from scratch.

Along the way, we'll show you how and why we:

Chose to form the business in the first place

Came up with the name

Designed the logo

Went wrong, got lost, and found our way back

Wrote and edited any copy we needed

Marketed and promoted ourselves

and more

To be honest, it's pretty nerve-wracking, but we prefer to be honest and open. We hope you enjoy it.

Jon Stewart on creating for audiences

» Culture

Very interesting quote from the Daily Show presenter Jon Stewart in this interview in the Guardian:

So much is done with a contrivance to attract young people. There’s a news magazine show in the US called 20/20. They decided they were going to do an edgier version cos the kids, you know, they love edge. So the 20/20 youth version was called 20/20 Downtown because kids live downtown. It was the exact same show, with the exact same anchors, but they wore leather jackets and stood outside. There’s not a moment on the Daily Show where we think about whether this would appeal to a young person, an old person, a tired person, a liberal person. If you do, you become someone who is working backwards; someone who is attempting to achieve a goal that you’ve identified rather than creating something because you think it’s good.

Apple Watch design and branding

» Branding, Design

Apple Watch. Not iWatch.

That's not an iWatch.

Apple hasn't launched and iWatch, as expected, but the Apple watch. And it's pretty underwhelming.

From a branding perspective, I don't understand the move away from using the lowercase 'i' when it's so hugely recognisable. People have been talking about this for ages, and have been calling it the iWatch. People probably will still call it an iWatch. So why didn't Apple?

Continue reading "Apple Watch design and branding" »

House in Ohno by Airhouse

» Architecture, Japan


Japanese architect Keiichi Kiriyama, of Gifu based Airhouse, has created a house where private rooms are 'hidden' while floor to ceiling windows create a bright, central area.

See more on the Airhouse website and find out more about the project on Dezeen.

A lighter shade of beige

» Branding, Design, Studio, Writing

We're currently working on brochures and, as it happened, brochures for similar companies popped under the door of our studio.

We had a look at them and were struck by how similar the ones we received were to each other and how they seemed to say a lot without saying anything. There was tons of fluff and little substance. In fact, they were so strikingly similar we could have just swapped the names and nobody would have noticed.

Continue reading "A lighter shade of beige" »

Who is your competition?

» Branding

In the past I've used ten questions to help people think about their branding, which you can see here. I've modified them quite a bit, and as a partnership we tend to use much more targeted questions. The reason I mention them is because one of them always generated a lot more information than the rest:

Do you have any competitors? Who are they? How are you different?

I've been constantly surprised by how some people could go into minute detail abbout a variety of competitors, yet give vague, bland answers to question like What exactly are your products and/or services? What qualities do they have? or What is your speciality?

I think people have got it arse about face, but perhaps it's no surprise why.

Continue reading "Who is your competition?" »

Hello and thanks for popping in. We live in Japan where we make things, design things, and teach things.









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Hello. storm from the east is about branding, design and communication. We live in Tokyo.

If you're stuck on how to improve what you've already got, you want to start something new, or you're sick of seeing people doing worse work for more money, maybe we can help.

Get in touch:

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What we do

From our workshop we help people understand their business better and make everything run much more smoothly. We help with design, marketing, language and more.
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We're also the founders of Compass Language Studio focusing on language and education.