#TBT: SPD-U Throws It Back to 1995 Student Competition Winner So Takahashi

#TBT: SPD-U Throws It Back to 1995 Student Competition Winner So Takahashi 50th-Small.jpgAs part of SPD's 50th Anniversary celebration, we're looking back at our past Student Competition winners (see galleries of past winning work here on the blog each Wednesday). A few of them were kind enough to speak with us about what they've been up to since their wins and how the competition affected them. 

Back in 1995 in our very first Student Competition (featured in Pub31), So Takahashi won a Silver Medal for his publication design while a student at the School of Visual Arts (see his award-winning work below as well as in the full gallery of winners here). Since then, his dynamic work has spanned mediums and international countries alike. 

He started the Heads Inc design studio in 1998 and currently lives and manages his company in 4 different countries (his native Yokohama in Japan, New York, Oslo, Norway and Yangon/Myanmar). Global influences are quite apparent in his design work as he engages the viewer while still pushing boundaries. We caught up with him to see where life has taken him since his SPD Student Competition Silver Medal win in 1995...

Image above: Packaging System for WITH & WESSEL

So Takahashi's Silver-Medal winning work from the 1995 SPD Student Competition
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SPD-U: How can you best describe your work?
SO: The basis for my design practices has been to combine commercial work with an ongoing exploration of design that floats between the different dimensions; 2D, 3D, audio. Whether it is an identity project, a book cover, a chair, an album or a performance, it is all part of the same exploration and creative process of designing outputs - experience and expression.

5S Basic Solution Visuals
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SPD-U: What would you say are the greatest achievements thus far in your career?
SO: I have been able to build my aesthetic that spans different genres as well as being able to define my audiences. This is echoed in my life as well. Especially in the management of my design practices in 4 different cities across the globe. 
    Another huge highlight happened a year after my relocation to Myanmar Yangon. It was the first year of the Yangon Heritage Trust's heritage building plaques, and I designed/installed my work in front of Yangon City Hall. These building plaques will be installed at the important buildings and historical sites all around Yangon city in hopes that visitors and the city residents will appreciate the rich and dynamic history of the city. The project was praised by Myanmar president U Thein Sein in his monthly radio speech on August 14, 2014.

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Shiseido Makeup Press Kit
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SPD-U: What advice would you give someone trying to get into the industry now?
SO: It is one thing to become a designer, but it's another to be a designer throughout your career. 

SPD-U: Anything further you'd like to add?
SO: I would like to thank SPD for giving students the support and opportunities to be able to showcase their work in these world-class events. To me, it was one of the first introductions to the professional design world as well as the opportunity to meet other design professionals who I had admired. As a design student at SVA, receiving the student award of excellence from SPD in '95 (only 3 years after I had moved from Japan to NYC) meant a lot to me. Mirko Ilic gave me an opportunity at his studio during that same summer in '96 which was another exciting opportunity.  
    Congratulations on the 50 years of achievements! I'd like to cheer for another 50+ years for The Society of Publication Designers! 

SPD award.jpg
So's SPD Student Competition award certificate program from the 1995 Awards Gala. 
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SPD-U: A huge thanks to So for talking with us! You can see more of his work at www.headsinc.com

Be sure to check back in with us every Wednesday this fall for more galleries of past Student Competition work, and every Thursday for more Throwback Thursday interviews with past winners.

#TBT series produced and edited by Jamie Feld and Alyssa Clare Hoersten
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