Tokyo-Based 3D Illustrator Ryogo Toyoda on the Importance of Being Different

Japanese designer, Ryogo Toyoda creates visually electric 3D illustrations in bright, pop colours that illuminate the screen.

It’s a striking, vivid aesthetic he was able to develop after making the decision to step away from the other areas of design in which he had been working to make the kind of vibrant imagery he had always wanted.

Giro d’ Italia Promo from Onesal on Vimeo.

Ryogo worked as part of a design studio for six years but felt that he had been starting to lose some of the initial passion that video game design had fuelled in him while growing up.

After finding inspiration again in modern 3D design, he set out on his own and now works on projects with international clients.

He talks to us about this process and some of the cultural differences between the design industries in Japan and the West.

Above: TV Advert for J Sports ‘Giro D’Italia’.

Please tell us about yourself, the work you create, and your background as a designer.

Hello! My name is Ryogo. I’m a freelance 3D illustrator living in Tokyo.

Currently, I’m work on commercial projects, such as 3D visuals, animation, and interactive content. Previously, I worked on design productions as a graphic designer until a few years ago. Then, 3D illustration was just a hobby for me.


Above: Still from TV Advert for J Sports ‘Giro D’Italia’.

When I was a child, I wanted to become a cartoonist since I loved Japanese cartoons. After that, in 2007, I came across graphic designers such as Airside, Vault49… and so on. I was interested in producing graphics because I can communicate with people through the graphic! So I went to design school and started working on some design production.

The main thing that motivates me would be playing video games such as nintendo. I identify myself as a 3D illustrator because 3D tools are just tools (such as a pen) to express graphics.

I am influenced by 3D artists such as Beeple, Serial Cut etc. … but the strongest influence is Nintendo’s classic video game ‘Earthbound’. Poppy color palettes and plastic textures in my work come from the experience of playing that game.


Above: Part of Youtube Art Night exhibition 2015.

You’ve worked in web development agencies and advertising agencies in the past. How does that compare to how you work now as RyogoTM?

Exactly, I was working in production for six years as a designer. Then, I always wanted to make something new, but my work routine in production was boring….

After that, I came across 3D artists such as Beeple, Serial Cut etc….—so I started making 3D illustration, it was just a hobby then.

Now I’m a 3D illustrator, not a designer. It’s far from that I was used to doing in production.


Above: Epson Aqua Park, Shinagawa map design.

What advice would you give to someone unsure whether to try and join a studio or pursue more of a freelance route?

‘Be different.’

If you want to make a living as a creator, it’s important to differentiate yourself from others.

My best advice to those starting out as designers would be to seek your original style. For that, make work that you love doing because the thing you love is your originality.


Above: TV Advert for J Sports ‘Giro D’Italia’.

You have a strong presence on Behance and have even won several awards from them. How useful do you think these kinds of competitions are for furthering a creative career?

Thanks to Behance, I was able to get many inquiries from many people.

The turning point was when I won an award called ‘Featured on Behance’. If you get an award on Behance, a bunch of people will see your work.


Your previous clients include companies from all around the world as well as your native Japan. How does your relationship differ, if at all, with companies within and outside of Japan when working on projects?

Sometimes I’m anxious because I cannot meet clients since they live far away from Japan. Also, sometimes it’s not easy to built trust with them.

However, there are not so many chances here in Japan since it’s a small country. So I think working with foreign companies is a positive thing!


Do you approach self promotion differently at all when trying to market your work abroad?

Basically, I direct self-promotion only abroad.

Actually, Japan is different from other countries. There are many agencies in other countries. But in Japan, only two huge agencies control major projects. (Dentsu and Hakuhodo.) So there are few opportunities for young designers.


Compared to other forms of visual art, 3D design is relatively new. What other new design technologies are you excited by and see as something that could change art and design in the future?

I don’t know a lot about new design technologies. One thing I can say is that everyone can easily make design these days with Photoshop or Illustrator. So it’s important to make something with a high level of skill that other people cannot make.


Where would you like to take you creative business next and how would you like to see it grow?

I want to do more 3D animation since almost of my works are stills. Also, I need to study English to work on more projects from abroad!

Do you have any new projects coming up that you’d like to tell us about?

I am going to launch some projects at the end of the year:

‘Dentsu Public Relations/Season’s Greetings’. TV commercial for Japan’s advertising agency, ‘Dentsu’.


‘Toy Town’
This is my new series of 3D illustration. I will publish more 3D cities from now on!



All videos and images © Ryogo Toyoda

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