What's it like working for Nozomi Entertainment? What do you do on the production team? What was your favorite project to work on? We're putting the magnifying glass over our production team to give you a closer look at what happens behind the scenes! This time around, we will be interviewing Kyla, a graphic designer for Nozomi Entertainment~
Q: Who are you and what do you do within Nozomi Entertainment?
My name is Kyla, I’m the graphic designer for Nozomi’s anime releases. I design everything from art books and ultra edition boxes to disc art and Blu-ray covers – even the menus you see when you insert a disc.
Q: Tell us something interesting about yourself - any hobbies, favorite color, fun fact?
I’m very interested in art. Over the years I’ve learned several art forms, some of which include painting, ceramics, stained glass, sculpture, photography, glassblowing, and printmaking. I love learning different art forms because they improve my graphic design abilities, and vice versa.
Q: How long have you been with the company?
I’m on my fourth year.
Q: What got you interested in doing what you do?
When I was 13 I was desperate to customize my MySpace profile. I became incredibly frustrated when I couldn’t find what I was looking for. I taught myself just enough coding and web design so that I could make my own custom styles. I really enjoyed it, so the next year I took a design class that created the school yearbook. The class was consistently the highlight of my day. At the end of the year I received a creativity award for my efforts, which I still have. It may seem silly, but I knew then that I wanted to be a graphic designer. That’s how I ended up where I am today.
Q: Could you give us a quick rundown of what you do on a day-to-day process?
I start my day off on my highest priority project. Normally I’ll make menus first so that the producers have outputs ready to go when they need to start building menus. After that’s finished, I’ll move on to Blu-ray covers and art books, then whatever unique items are going into an ultra edition, like keychains and lanyards. After all of that, I’ll design product mocks and social media advertisements so that consumers know what the sets will look like and when they’ll be available.
Q: What was your first project?
My very first project was Martian Successor Nadesico. I had no idea what I was doing. I had never worked with Blu-ray menus before, so it was effectively a test run. It turned out well in the end, though. People seemed to like it and it actually out-sold a Gundam title one week. I would re-do it a little differently now, though, having more experience under my belt.
Q: What has been your favorite project to work on so far?
My favorite project so far was The Adolescence of Utena Ultra Edition. It was my first ultra set. At first, attempting to keep the design consistent for every little piece was stressful. I felt an extreme sense of responsibility to the fans to make something worthy of their love for the show. I even watched the show on my personal time to get a full understanding of it. Once I had it wrapped up and the pieces started arriving one by one, I couldn’t contain my excitement. I was constantly checking social media, waiting to hear the opinions (good or bad) of the fans. When people started pouring out love for the set, I teared up here and there. I was so happy that they were pleased.
Q: The # of times you’ve watched something over and over for a product check?
I’m actually not required to watch anything before I design for a show. However, I like to watch the shows before and while I work on them. It helps me design better when I have an understanding of what the show’s attitude is and why people love it.
I do, however, design several versions for each show. Normally I make several thumbnail designs, pick the best ones, and revise those. I’ll take good elements from the bad designs and keep building on top of the best designs until I reach the final product. It’s tedious but it ensures that I’m not producing low-hanging fruit.
Q: What was your longest project and why?
My longest project was between Mobile Suit Gundam 00 and G Gundam – there was a lot of content to design in both of those sets.
Q: Could you explain the process from how the materials you receive becomes the final product that we see on store shelves?
It all starts with receiving artwork and translations from Japan. I designate what artwork goes where (menus, disc silks, covers, books, etc.) and then begin designing each piece. After several revisions, I’ll wrap the project up and create outputs to send to Japan for approvals. If there are changes Japan requests, I’ll update the project to reflect them and send them updated versions for approvals.
Once approved, the printing files are sent to manufacturers to be produced. We often receive product samples to make sure that everything is up to standard. If the product is an ultra set, an assembly company receives all of the pieces, plus an assembly sheet I create for them, and puts them together following the instructions.
Q: Favorite Nozomi title?
If it has to be a show we have the rights to, it’s a tie between Revolutionary Girl Utena and ARIA. Both shows are amazing. If it can be any show we’ve released, it’s A Silent Voice. It’s a truly heartwarming film. I was thrilled when I was told I was going to get to design a set for it.
Q: Favorite Anime? Are you watching anything currently? (Outside of Nozomi)
My favorite anime was probably Death Note. I’m currently watching Dr. Stone and Demon Slayer, both of which I'm enjoying.
Q: If you had a super power what would it be?
I’d want to be able to ease people’s pain, physically and emotionally. It’s a bit sappy, I know, but I always tend to play healing classes in games. I probably would have been a nurse if I hadn’t been a graphic designer.
Q: What is your favorite animal?
My favorite animals are dolphins🐬