Designing the Future: Mari Hosho’s Profound Impact on the Graphic and Interactive Design Industry

Designing the Future: Mari Hosho's Profound Impact on the Graphic and Interactive Design Industry
Photo Credit: Mari Hosho

The world of graphic and interactive design is a dynamic realm where creativity, innovation, and strategy converge to create meaningful and visually captivating experiences. Mari Hosho, a seasoned graphic and interactive designer based in New York, is a testament to this convergence. Her journey from an Information Science major to a successful career in design is a story of passion, determination, and a keen eye for the intersection of technology and aesthetics.

A Creative Journey

Mari’s career in graphic and interactive design is marked by her transition from an Information Science background to a thriving design profession. Her initial interest in technology and coding, cultivated during her college years, led her to work as a project manager in one of Japan’s largest advertising agencies. However, the allure of design had always been present in her mind. Mari took the leap of faith and decided to apply to art schools in the United States. To her surprise, she was accepted into Parsons School of Design, a decision that would reshape her career. In 2021, she relocated from Tokyo to New York, embarking on a new journey as a designer.

The Spark of Inspiration

For Mari, the inspiration to pursue a career in graphic and interactive design is deeply rooted in her experiences as a world traveler. Having lived in five different countries, she developed a fascination for the diverse cultures and their reflection in everyday design. During her time in the Netherlands as an exchange student, she explored Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, collecting posters, tickets, pamphlets, and packages from each city she visited. This curiosity about how design encapsulates history, culture, and aesthetics ignited her desire to create her own designs.

Key Milestones and Turning Points

In her journey as a designer, Mari identifies a pivotal moment that changed her perspective on design—her introduction to coding and design at Parsons School of Design. It was during her first interactive class with a teacher at Parsons School of Design, a renowned designer known for her innovative approach to combining coding and design, that Mari’s eyes were opened to the possibilities of melding technology with aesthetics. This transformative experience not only revealed the magic of blending coding and design but also allowed her to merge her technical and creative skills in a unique way.

Staying Ahead of the Curve

To stay updated on the latest design trends and technologies, Mari actively engages with the design community. She attends in-person design events like TypeThursday, not only in New York but also in other U.S. cities. She keeps an eye on design trends through newsletters, social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, and online videos from Adobe Max. Mari’s approach to staying updated also involves a continuous exercise of design thinking, where she reimagines everyday objects and considers how she could redesign them to be more intriguing.

Memorable Projects

One of the most memorable projects in Mari’s career was a branding endeavor during her internship. The task was to create a new visual system for a mental healthcare company. The challenge lay in shifting the brand from a technology-centric and serious tone to something more organic, humane, and approachable. The outcome, a soft and human-centric brand, was a hit with the client and continues to shine today.

Overcoming Challenges

Every designer faces challenges in their career, and Mari is no exception. She recounts two significant hurdles she encountered. First, translating concepts into visuals was a struggle, given her background in project management. Second, the inevitable comparisons with other designers’ work often led to self-doubt. To overcome these challenges, Mari embarked on a journey of self-discovery, emphasizing her uniqueness and finding inspiration in her individuality.

Crafting Creativity

For Mari, creativity begins with immersive research and personal experiences. When tasked with a project, she dives deep into understanding the client or topic. This understanding informs her initial impressions and the subsequent sketching and iterative process. It’s through this process of verbalizing and sketching that her designs take shape.

Essential Tools and Techniques

Mari’s strength lies in branding and interactive design. She employs a range of software tools, from Adobe’s suite—Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, and After Effects—to Figma. Notably, she also incorporates coding tools, employing HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to bridge the gap between design and technology. Her process often starts with hand sketches, which she iterates digitally, depending on the project’s requirements.

Fostering Harmony: The Essence of Collaboration and Effective Communication

As someone with prior experience in project management, Mari is no stranger to collaboration. However, she acknowledges the importance of communicating the value of design to non-designers. At the International Rescue Committee, where she currently works as a Graphic Design Consultant, her team continuously emphasizes how design can enhance the communication of messages and achieve the desired results.

Evolution of the Designer’s Role

Mari observes a significant shift in the role of graphic and interactive designers, where versatility and multidisciplinarity are highly valued. She believes that designers today possess a “T-shaped” skill set, meaning they have a core expertise but also branch into various other fields. She strives to adapt to this change by further developing her branding design skills while staying abreast of coding, generative design, and emerging technologies.

Words of Wisdom

For aspiring designers, Mari imparts two valuable pieces of advice. Firstly, she emphasizes the importance of recognizing one’s strengths and not succumbing to the pressure of competition. Self-discovery and an understanding of what makes one unique are key to navigating the competitive design landscape. Secondly, she advocates enjoying the creative process and finding inspiration in the everyday.

Future Trends in Design

Mari envisions two exciting trends in the world of design. The first is the integration of data and digital generative design into branding. She believes this approach can add interactivity and flexibility to visual systems while maintaining brand consistency. The second trend involves maintaining a unique and human touch in design, as automation and generative design become more prevalent.

Influences and Style

Mari finds herself drawn to two contrasting design styles. One is a clean, geometric, and digitally inspired style, exemplified by designers like Philippe Apeloig and Ikko Tanaka. The other is a more humane, illustrative style, inspired by artists such as Marc Chagall and Christoph Niemann. A blend of these styles, as seen in Giorgia Lupi’s “Dear Data,” serves as a significant source of inspiration.

Exceptional Design

For Mari, exceptional design is defined by its ability to evoke an “Aha!” moment. It occurs when a design interprets a problem uniquely and communicates it in a simple and universally understandable manner. It’s the ability to make complex concepts accessible to all.

Finding Fulfillment: Sources of Inspiration and Motivation

The most satisfying aspect of Mari’s career is the creative process itself. The journey from conceptualization to execution, where ideas come to life, is her ultimate satisfaction. Additionally, the ability to make a tangible impact on others through her design work keeps her motivated and passionate about her chosen field.

Striking the Right Balance: Marrying Creativity with Practicality

Mari acknowledges that practicality sometimes takes precedence in professional projects. In such cases, she strives to inject a touch of creativity, proposing alternative design options that vary in practicality and uniqueness. By presenting a spectrum of ideas, she navigates the balance between creativity and practicality.

Personal Projects and Aspirations

Mari has been involved in several personal and school projects that reflect her interests and aspirations. One such project was a rebranding effort for National Geographic, where she incorporated daylight data into the brand’s logo to emphasize the global diversity of climate and natural environments. Additionally, her extensive collection of two-dimensional designs from cities she has visited has inspired personal initiatives, such as her capstone thesis project digitizing part of this collection.

Long-Term Goals

Looking ahead, Mari envisions merging her strategy background as a project manager with her design expertise. She aims to create a unique niche for herself, inspiring people regardless of their location. Her desire is to become a global force, influencing and innovating in the world of design.

Overcoming Creative Blocks

When confronted with creative blocks or moments of inspiration drought, Mari takes a step back and indulges in non-design activities like watching movies, reading books, traveling, or going for a jog. This break from design-related tasks often unlocks fresh inspiration and innovative ideas.

The Significance of a Portfolio

A well-crafted portfolio is the gateway for potential clients and collaborators to understand a designer’s skills and identity. Mari emphasizes the importance of showcasing one’s uniqueness in a portfolio, presenting work in a distinctive and enjoyable manner.

Mari Hosho’s journey in the world of graphic and interactive design is a testament to the transformative power of passion and perseverance. Her career serves as an inspiration to aspiring designers, emphasizing the significance of self-discovery, creativity, and a deep understanding of the ever-evolving design landscape. As the design world continues to evolve, Mari remains at the forefront, shaping the industry with her unique blend of strategy and creativity.

Connecting with Mari Hosho

  • Mobile: +1 -718-954-1675 
  • E-mail address: 
  • LinkedIn: mari-hosho 
  • Instagram: @mari_hosho 
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