Interview: Ayako Nakamura


Aichi Prefecture

Job Title:

Project Coordinator

Favorite Hangout in Japan:

Shimokitazawa, because I like the atmosphere. It’s not too crowded compared with other districts, and it has many shops that aren’t chains. There are lots of different restaurants, so I never get bored there.

What do you do at Custom Media?

Quite simply, I help coordinate projects. We kick off projects by briefing the team based on what the client has asked for, and assign tasks so everyone knows what is happening. My job also involves keeping an eye on the budget, schedule, and deadlines.

Tell us about your background.

I started off by studying design in Kyoto for my bachelor’s degree. After that, I went to London to study for my master’s. During my time in London, as I got involved in different kinds of projects, I found that project management was quite appealing to me.

I wanted to do something that did not just focus on design, but instead on the business itself, seeing projects through from start to finish. So I applied for the role of project director at my first job, through which I learned a lot about project management.

What skills do you need for your job?

Right at the beginning, I need to figure out and understand what the outcome of a project will be. If I don’t know this from the start, I won’t be able to manage the project successfully. For example, in any print project, we need to know how many pages are needed and what colors the client wants to use. Missing details will cause problems further down the line, so it is very important for us to know everything about the project up front.

It’s also important to understand both the views of the client and the capabilities of our creative studio. In addition to my experience as a project director, I have a good knowledge of Adobe applications and the way the design process works. It is always better if a project coordinator understands the needs of each team.

What do you like about your role?

I like the fact that I hear different perspectives. It’s great when you get good feedback from different teams, saying they are happy with the way the project was handled.

What word or phrase do you overuse at work?

Yay! I like to celebrate when things go well.

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