Today allow me to share with you an inspiring individual I came across recently, meet Duncan Shotton. I first came across Duncan’s work via my friend and fellow Art Director Paul Parolin, who sent me this super cool kick-starter for something called “Rainbow pencils”. I did some digging up and found out the cool guy behind the project. I just had to have a few words with him.

I: Let’s start by giving a brief introduction about yourself and background.

D: OK, well, my name’s Duncan, I was born in London but grew up in the west of England in a little town near Bath. I graduated from Brunel University (west London) in Industrial Design and Technology in 2008. After that I worked for a design consultancy for four years, whilst developing my own design projects as ‘homework’ in the evenings. Then only last year I moved to Tokyo to set up my own design studio.

I’m allergic to cat’s, prefer the adverts to the programmes on TV, and my favourite food is probably yorkshire puddings.

I: Great, from the UK to Japan, that’s quite the transition! What would you say were the motives behind moving to Tokyo? and how easy was the transition itself?

D: Mainly, a beautiful girl, but I’d always been fond of Tokyo.
It’s a modern city. Whilst everything’s the same, everything’s different. That’s what makes it surprising, inspiring, and sometimes a little tricky.

I: Ahhh, women, the things they do to us men :) Now that you’ve been in Tokyo for a while, how have you found the language barrier? What would you say is one of the main differences between living in Japan and the UK?

D: I get by, but it’s difficult to express my personality because my Japanese is still pretty basic. The thick, humid heat of the Japanese summer is unlike any I’ve experienced in Europe.

I: So, what is your earliest “Creative related memory/activity” that you can recall?

D:  Maybe in a school play. I must have been about 15. I played a character whose costume included a top hat, which I snuck a white rabbit teddy bear inside of on the night of the performance. In the middle of my part, I paused, took my hat off, chucked the rabbit into the audience, saying something like “I should stop wearing magicians’ hats”, then carried on with the set script.

I: Hahahhaha, spoken like a true artist. And what would be your most recent creative foray?

D:  I did my first pop-up shop this year, it was in a tree. Recently, I’ve been designing and making a new one, which is even more ridiculous, but yet to launch.
My latest live project is Rainbow Pencils, recycled paper pencils that make rainbows when you sharpen them (currently funding on Kickstarter.)

I: Yes, a friend of mine actually sent me a link to your kickstarter, which is how I came across you. You’ve spoken a lot about that on the kickstarter website, I enjoyed reading it and think it’s a tremendously inspiring project. Where do you see yourself in 5 years time, physically & career wise?

D:  Cool, thanks to your friend for sharing and to you for reading, I’m glad you like it! I’ll be in either Tokyo or the UK. I hope my brand, range of projects and products will have grown, but not so much that they lose their ‘specialness’. Someone once commented on my work “It’s nice to just do a few things, really well”, and that made me really happy.

I:  And finally, Inspiration, who? what? where?

D: In 2007, when .mp3 players became the norm, the tape cassette became a nostalgic item, because everyone was sad to say goodbye. It was at that time I came up with Tape Dispenser (a sticky tape dispenser in the shape of a tape cassette). Similarly in 2011, everyone was talking about cloud computing, which is perhaps what made me think of Cloud Keyholder (a wall mounted cloud that uses magnets to hold your keys underneath to represent rain). I think icons and topics ‘of the moment’ inspire me and help make my products easily understandable by others.

I: Name 5 websites that you check often.

Kaboomi Studio
Design Boom
That Should be mine!



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Hi, I'm Ibraheem Youssef
I'm a Creative,
currently based in Toronto.

Welcome to my blog.

Art Direction / Alignment / Colours
Cooking / Design / Folding
Illustration / Paper / Printing
Ping Pong / Type / Walking

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