Staff Reporters
Nov 11, 2021

Creative Minds: Yukai Nishimura's destiny in art direction

We get to know the art director at TBWA Hakuhodo and Media Arts Lab through her answers to 11 questions. Learn why she never considered any other career, why sushi is a nearly spiritual experience for her, and how she has to remind herself not to be too serious.

Creative Minds: Yukai Nishimura's destiny in art direction
In Creative Minds, we get to know APAC creatives through their answers to 11 questions, ranging from serious to silly (Why 11? Just because). Want to be featured?

Name: Yukai Nishimura

Origin: Tokyo

Places lived/worked: Tokyo, Chicago, and New York

Pronouns: She/her


  • Art director, TBWA Hakuhodo / Media Arts Lab, Tokyo (2016 - present)
  • Senior designer, Interbrand, Tokyo (2011 - 2016)
  • Designer, Taku Sato Design Office, Tokyo (2010 - 2011)
  • Designer, Tycoon Graphics, Tokyo (2009 - 2010)
  • Design intern, COOP Brand Partners, New York (2008)

1. How did you end up being a creative?

I was naturally born by creative parents and surrounded by creative relatives where I only had one option of my career to become some sort of the creative and I never wanted or thought of doing something else. That led me start learning about art and design since when I was a little and went to art schools from the high-school to Uni. So I could say my path to here is pretty straightforward.

2. What's your favourite piece of work in your portfolio?

The first ever Apple Watch origination campaign that Media Arts Lab won, since all the past campaigns were created by [Apple in] Cupertino. This campaign is for the Japanese consumers who don’t yet understand how a smartwatch can change their lives. In Japan, being healthy is all about “maintenance” versus the “no pain, no gain” mentality of the west. We needed a different approach from our existing works to create relevance. The key idea is that “Apple Watch motivates you to live a healthier life. Make it your new health habit.” In the execution, we visualized the small nudge that we receive from Apple Watch. The left hand wearing the Apple Watch has a life, nudging the owner towards the right path and away from the temptations.

3. What's your favourite piece of work created by someone else?

I like the works done by Hiro Murai, a Japanese-born LA-based film director. It’s difficult to choose the best works from him but what I recently liked the most is the music video for Michael Kiwanuka,  'Black man in a white world'.

This great black and white film is appealing us about Black Lives Matter in sort of different way, more subtle and poetic way while the other films or any related works had more strong tone. The visual created by Hiro Murai is just really strong that stays in my mind for while.

4. Who’s on your dream dinner guest list (alive or dead)?

John Lennon and Yoko Ono. I would love to have a dream dinner with them and want to ask them about their life, music, art and love.

5. What advice would you give to 10-year-old you, if you could?

Be kind to yourself. I’ve often become too hard or strict to myself and sometimes even to others. So I would like to tell 10-year-old me, “Relax, it’s not the end of the world if you screw up.”

6. What really motivates you?

Seeing any works that are well-thought, well-crafted and I think, 'This can’t be done more beautiful than what it is'. I usually get motivated and inspired by outside of advertisements, more from photography, fashion, music and novels.

7. What’s your guilty pleasure?

Eating chips and gummies on the bed while Netflix-ing.

8. What food can you not live without?

Definitely sushi. It is my country's traditional food and I have been loving it since childhood. Eating sushi makes me the most happy among all the food. It also makes me feel the spirit of the sushi chef, rice farmers, fishermans, etc.

9. Do you have a catchphrase?

'Have a fun' is sort of my catchphrase that I tell myself when I get too serious or focused on one side whenever I plan, work, play, etc… It’s actually a challenge to just 'Have a fun' for person like me. It’s more like my life challenge.

10. Early riser or night owl?

I tried to become more to early riser while the pandemic and I think I became one. I spend the morning jogging about 5 to 7 km everyday when it’s not too hot in the summer, and also try to eat breakfast, which I used to skip before the pandemic.

11. What’s your favorite GIF/meme, and why? 

It’s not really a GIF/meme, but this is the one I’m using with my boss recently. We used this one a lot recently during the Tokyo Olympics this summer, and this one has humour that anyone can enjoy the sports! We often used for work-related.


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