Hi! I'm RJ.

Actually, my real name is Ryan James. My mother always told me she chose Ryan because it was a name that couldn’t be shortened, like Christopher or William. Perhaps subconsciously seeing this as a challenge, albeit a minor one, I set out to find a way.

As a designer, I try to apply this same method to all my projects…take something that is commonly perceived as absolute, modify it, and in the process, simplify it.


Having discovered a knack for art at an early age, my passion led me to earn my BFA at the Illinois Institute of Art in Chicago. What started off as a childhood love of drawing has developed into a fulfilling career pushing pixels half a world away.

Since leaving the cornfields of rural America for more concrete environs, I have been fascinated with urban existence. As a designer, the city’s layers upon layers of life, both old and new, modern and classic architecture and typography and sheer diversity and culture, continues to be my main source of inspiration.



ILLINOIS INSTITUTE OF ART/イリノイ州美術専門学校  |  Chicago
BFA, Visual Communications/学位:BFA ビジュアルコミュニケーションズ


NIKKEI ASIA REVIEW日本経済新聞   |  Tokyo
Art Director/アートディレクター
With Nikkei’s acquisition of The Financial Times soon after my arrival, my main duty has been the implementation of the company’s new “digital first” policy. In addition to a cosmetic redesign, templates and page reductions have improved the print edition while decreasing production time. This has allowed us to redirect our focus to online content and improved data visualization with the use of D3 coding. Duties beyond managing a team of eight designers include, website and system redesign, modernizing software and processes, ensuring deadlines are met and daily communication with those involved in the editorial process. 

現在、私は2015年秋公開予定のNikkei Asia Review(日本経済新聞社の週間英字雑誌)の新デザインに取り組んでいます。業界内でNARは未だ、アジアに特化した専門出版物とみなされていますが、新たなデザインにより、長文形式の記事を増加し、記事全体をより読みやすく、理解しやすいもにすることで、さらに 広い層からの支持を得ることを目標としています。この目標と、ビジュアル改善、双方を達成することで、NAR が、弊誌の持つグローバルな読者により適した存在になることを期待しています。

MATCHA LATTE MEDIA (YUNOMI)/株式会社抹茶ラテ・メディア (YUNOMI)  |  Tokyo
Brand Manager/ブランド・マネージャー
My role at Tokyo-based tea-exporter, Yunomi began in August as the company was participating in a startup incubator program with Digital Garage (a program which we successfully completely and were voted best startup). As Brand Manager I was responsible for the company’s rebranding effort to capture a wider demographic. This included a shift away from focusing solely on tea and instead more on the lifestyle surrounding tea. Redesigned items included logo, packaging, website, direct mail and social media content.


MEDIA SENSE KK/株式会社メディア・センス  |  Tokyo
Freelance Graphic Designer/フリーランス・グラフィックデザイナー
Under exclusive contract with Coca-Cola Japan, my role at Media Sense KK was to design material for the executive team, investor relations department as well as graphics for the numerous distributors in and around the Kanto region. In addition to design, print production and photography, it was my responsibility to ensure consistency with Coca-Cola’s global identity while at the same time creating eye-catching original graphics.


TOKYO AMERICAN CLUB/東京アメリカンクラブ  |  Tokyo
Senior Graphic Designer/シニア・グラフィックデザイナー
As senior designer at Tokyo American Club, I was tasked with overseeing production of the monthly lifestyle magazine, iNTOUCH, the creation of marketing material and maintaining the club’s website. I also had the opportunity to work on the opening campaign for the club’s move back to central Tokyo. It was also my responsibility to manage and divide daily duties among four designers, art direct photo shoots and coordinate with outside venders. 


TOKYO NEWS SERVICE, LTD/東京ニューズサービス株式会社  |  Tokyo
Graphic Designer/グラフィックデザイナー
Design, print production and management of online content were among my duties at the maritime daily, Shipping & Trade News. Being a small team, constantly under tight deadline multi-tasking was a must. I communicated with reporters daily to generate content and story ideas as well as managing online content.

Shipping & Trade Newsという日刊船舶新聞のデザインと製作の仕事を通し、仕事に対する忍耐力や安定感を培いました。常に厳しい締め切りのある中、日々、積極的にリポーターとコミュニケーションを図り、記事や特集を作り上げていました。それと共に、季刊誌であるAutoLogisticsAsiaのアイデンティティやレイアウトも考案していました。

SKYLINE DISPLAYS MANHATTAN/スカイライン・ディスプレイズ・マンハッタン  |  New York
Graphic/Exhibit Designer/グラフィック/展示ブースデザイナー
Working directly with clients, both large and small, I created eye-catching graphics for tradeshow events. Based on each client’s needs, we were able to deliver a custom and easy-to-understand marketing solution in order to give them an upper hand in a sea of competition. Here, I was lucky to learn early on the true meaning of the expression, “Keep it simple, Stupid.”

スカイライン・ディスプレイズ・マンハッタンでは大規模なクライアントから小規模なクライアントまで、様々なクライアントの直接監督の下、ぱっと人目を引くような展示会用グラフィックの製作に取り組んでいました。多くの競争相手の中で際立つために、各クライアントのニーズに特化した、分かりやすいマーケティングソリューションを提案することが私たちの任務でした。私のキャリアにおいて、この早い段階で、“Keep it simple, stupid” 「シンプルにしておけ!この間抜け」という表現の本当の意味を学べたことは幸運だったと感じています。


Japan American Chamber of Commerce Japan/在日米国商工会議所 (ACCJ)
Australia Society Tokyo/オーストラリア協会・東京
Coca-Cola Japan/コカ・コラ・ジャパン
College Women's Association of Japan (CWAJ)
Diners Club International/citi Japan/シティバンク•ダイナースクラブカード
Hilton Tokyo Bay/ヒルトン東京ベイ

Samples of freelance work available upon request.