Our latest product for April is ‘Notes For Tokyo’, a unique interpretation of Tokyo’s complex visual landscape. To coincide with the launch we caught up with Kendall Henderson, the NYC based designer behind the set of notebooks – check out our conversation with him below.
Hi Kendall, can you introduce yourself to our readers
Hello, I am Kendall Henderson a graphic designer currently based in Brooklyn. Originally from Birmingham, Alabama.
So what was it that attracted you to Art Direction/Designing in the first place? And is there a particular ethos that shapes your work?
During my time in college learning the ins and outs of layout, typography, and design I picked up something my professor Henry Kim would always say. It would eventually be a key part to my design methodology: “everything designed should have a reason. Without reason we have visual rubbish.”
I have adapted this when I approach my projects in order to have a clear outcome but also end up with a sophisticated piece of design.
What influences do you draw from?
This is always interesting to think about. I usually tend to draw my influence from more abstract places vs the more tangible things. I’d say those abstract areas are mostly lyrics and conversations about lifestyles. There is something about talking to a person about the way they see the world and how they go about their day dealing with life that opens new perspective and helps me draw some sort of purpose for my design.
Can you explain a little about Notes For Tokyo to us, what kind of reaction has it received?
Well the initial idea came from sitting in my airbnb in the Shinjuku district trying to imagine a way to take a little piece of Tokyo back with me. As an English reader being submersed in Tokyo it is a bright, loud and busy world, but at the same time I couldn’t read any of the Hiragana or Kanji. So ultimately everything was reduced to shapes and color in my mind. Which gave me the idea to simplify these visuals into what you see on the covers of the notebooks.
[The reaction has been] Super positive, I feel like there were a lot of people who were hype on the idea of having visited Japan or were planning a trip for the near future. I sent one of the prints associated with the project to Owen Pritchard, an editor at it’s nice that, only to find out that he was roaming the streets of Tokyo during the same month I was. He was also stoked on the print.
And can you tell us about your creative process? did it differ at all with Notes For Tokyo?
Simply writing down an idea or talking it through with a friend often helps me flush out an idea. The process and approach changes for me per project. I try to approach every project differently just to try, ya know. See what the outcome could be.
My previous travel project was photo based and this one ended up being a complete departure. Its more interesting to me if the approach is different every time and hopefully ends up being more interesting to others and my potential clients.
Lastly, what kind of work should we expect to see from you in the future?
I am really trying to start working with some local cats here in NYC to hopefully make the right connections and work with people who really have a grasp on enhancing culture for us and future generations.
However, I am currently ideating an ongoing project that deals with my hometown, racial tension and slow progression. I am also trying to work with in a more traditional graphic design sense with some good people down south that are making the place feel more relevant.