Announcing the Winners! | My Site Design Awards 2012

|  Competition Overview  |  Finalists  |  Winners  |

What site won and got the glory? Announcing the five winners!

“My Site Design Awards 2012” is the only award spotlighting Web sites used by people in the creative professions.
We enjoyed a great deal of participation from not only Web designers, but artists, illustrators, graphic designers, and many more creatives — thank you so much! Every site was full of its own unique charm, and the judges commented on how hard it was to narrow down their picks. Ultimately, what determined whether a site was grand prize material was not only its design sense, but whether it met its intended objectives and whether it took efforts to appeal to overseas visitors. Of the more than 100 submissions we received, what site shone in the spotlight? Below, we introduce the four special prize recipients and the grand prize winner.

See the winning entries


Born in Tokyo in 1973. Graduated from Musashino Art University’s Department of Japanese Painting. He studied traditional techniques of Japanese painting under the tutelage of Gyokkou Tanaka. He showcased his work in an exhibition held at Nihonbashi’s Mitsukoshi Department Store in Tokyo in 2003. He emerged as a street fashion illustrator in 2006, and now also is the CEO of AYANE International, Inc. He is actively involved in all areas of illustration including book publishing, as well as event and exhibition planning both in Japan and abroad. He has successfully planned and rolled out many events and exhibits in NYC and LA.

Tsuyoshi Nakatomi
Born in Osaka in 1985. He started 9bicDesign, a web design group. He has an established reputation for elaborate design including UI. He is also active in making videos, organizing events, and DJing. http://mag.9bic.jp/

Ed Thompson (Marketing Consultant / Founder)
Originally from Dallas, Texas, founded Concept Design in 2000, and has actively worked since then as a global marketing consultant based in Japan. He assists clients in flexibly coping with the rise of new media and technologies through developing comprehensive marketing strategies, leading development of campaign planning, and improving internal processes and workflow. He is active as a lecturer at colleges and corporations, and serves as an advisor specializing in branding and communication with Temple University.

Mitsuhiro Suwa (Designer / Founder)
He was born in San Diego, US, in 1971.After graduating from Keio University’s Faculty of Policy Management (SFC,) he took part in the start-up of the FM radio station established by JapanTimes, “InterFM” (FM Inter-Wave Inc.) He contributed to the radio station as the first creative director. After this creative task, he went to the US in 1997, and after majoring in Digital Arts at the School of Digital Arts, worked as a designer in New York. He established Loftwork Inc. in the year 2000.

Grand Prize

Creator: Reishi
Portfolio URL: http://www.awrd.com/portfolios/reishi

A word from Reishi
Hello, my name is Reishi and I’m based in Yokohama, Kanagawa. I produce work like web sites, illustrations, and ink drawings. I am truly honored to receive the “My Site Design Awards 2012” grand prize — thank you very much! I created this site to get a wide range of people to know about my work, and I remember putting it together with a Japanese aesthetic in mind, since I enjoy that style. I want to use this win as a jumping-off point to get back to my roots and work on site design and other creative pieces.
Finally, I want to express my deepest gratitude to the team and the Loftwork office, who put this campaign together and gave us the opportunity to participate. Thank you again.

Judge’s Special Prize

Creator: Yuko Rabbit
Portfolio URL: http://www.awrd.com/portfolios/yukorabbit

Judge Xi’s comments
Yuko Rabbit’s site not only offers high-quality illustrations, but the way it streamlines its approach to presenting information is superb. These days, using a range of web services to target interested parties is a must for creative professionals. The downside of this is that managing so many services becomes cumbersome, and the cost of upkeep becomes a huge issue. Yuko Rabbit’s site functions as an information hub — the clever design lets new visitors see the latest updates from her across different web services, without the need to actively maintain the page or check each service one by one. This way of building sites may become a new trend among creatives in the near future.

A word from Yuko Rabbit
Thank you for this wonderful award!
Well-respected creators’ sites tend to be built around CMS like WordPress and other services to create a custom design. I was very interested to see how, amidst that, my site would be received. As a recipient of this award, I feel a newfound confidence in the direction I’m taking the site. Going forward, I plan to keep developing it further, teasing out the different strengths of each web service and using them effectively to update viewers on my activities. I think it’s going to be a process of trial and error. There’s no “perfect” site, since they constantly evolve, so I’m going to put my all into making it continuously better!

Judge’s Special Prize

Creator: TRIAND Inc.
Portfolio URL: http://www.awrd.com/portfolios/triand

Judge Tsuyoshi Nakatomi’s comments
You’ll know why this site was picked once you try it! The scrolling functionality is different on each page and is a delight to explore and try. The mouse:on effects are also super satisfying. The playful design is truly charming and evident throughout: if you scroll past the OTHERS section, the last page, you’ll loop back around to the top. The actual layout is simple and designed for ease of use, but the concept has a huge impact and lets you see the whole site at a glance. The design is extremely engaging and makes you want to click and interact with the site. Once you do, you get pulled in by the effects. This site really uses the power of the web.

A word from TRIAND Inc.
Thank you, we are honored to receive this award.
Our company has three core members, one technical member, and a support staff. Our site was created when our new technical member joined us, so it’s a real milestone for us. We split the design, motion, and coding aspects of the work, then stitched the HTML together and adjusted it as a team. We went through numerous trials to get the movement and effects just right, finally arriving at the finished product. The top image was created for us by a photographer. That unusual image features a backdrop of solid-colored business cards, into which the organic element of a cat’s paw is seen entering, lending it a sudden warmth. The cat is our office pet, by the way.

Judge’s Special Prize

Creator: urushizaki
Portfolio URL: http://www.awrd.com/portfolios/katsuyaurushizaki/archive/343616

Judge Ed Thompson’s comments
The best thing about this site is the way that portfolio items, well-done individually by themselves is combined into the overall layout. There is a strong sense and awareness of typography and layout aesthetics that is utilized to structure a diverse range of works in an unified, easy-to-navigate format.
Many of the portfolio items also include photographs of finished works. This adds tremendously to providing additional visual and emotional context telling a story for each item. Those elements all combine to make a strong narrative story as a website.

A word from Urushizaki
I’m extremely honored to receive the special Judge’s Prize from Ed Thompson. I generally do editorial work and book designs, so when it came to the web, I wanted to find a way to combine attractive photos of my work with typography to achieve something special. I felt that a portfolio like this was best if it could be seen on a single page and browsed in a speedy fashion. The fade-out/fade-in effect makes a clear distinction between different projects, and the lightbox-style effect darkens the surrounding images to shine a spotlight on the one in focus. I collaborated directly with the coder to adjust the speed of the fading and make small adjustments to the layout until we got to a satisfying final product.

Loftwork Award

Creator: Mai Takahashi
Portfolio URL: http://www.awrd.com/portfolios/maitakahashi

Judge Mitsuhiro Suwa’s comments
Although this site just launched in July 2012, Ms. Takahashi’s worldview is brilliantly on display. (Her Loftwork.com portfolio is also excellent: http://s.awrd.com/qieifb) Her site has English-language functionality, so I would love to see work from around the world steadily reach her so that more people can enjoy her unique talent. Visitors can readily see from her blog that she’s engaged in both print and web work. The overall effect of this site is encouraging: it makes me want to see her works in person and collaborate with her.

A word from Mai Takahashi
I consider it a real honor to receive this award from Loftwork. Thank you very much. I just launched my site this July, and my career as an illustrator also began right around this time. I think having a space to present one’s work is incredibly important. A website is almost like a home — a place where you can hang your artwork and welcome guests — so in that sense keeping it tidy and up to date is very important. The figures seen on the top page scroll automatically. This idea came courtesy of Higuchi at gracilis-works, the one who created the site for me. I was mainly focusing on figure drawing at the time, so the idea was apropos. I’ve now started introducing new figures dressed seasonally. I plan to work hard to keep the site relevant and up to date so that visitors will always be greeted with new info.

>Browse all the submissions
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