Japan-Based Graphic Designer, Miss Nobuko, Is Paving Her Own Path

2nd of October 2020

Shauna Nobuko, known professionally as Miss Nobuko, is an Australian-born, Japan-based graphic designer. Inspired by music and movement, her work is bold and illustrative (and honestly...just plain cool). 

We had the pleasure of sitting down with Shauna to learn about her journey. And she even ~blessed~ us with a video that shows her signature collage-style design process. Enjoy!

How did you get started with graphic design? 

I started learning about street art and from there went into watching videos on YouTube, like hypebeast and streetwear videos, and was like oh my gosh these designers are so cool, and they're all graphic designers, and I honestly had no idea what a graphic designer was until I watched these videos. During that time, I was homeschooling as well, and would be studying and trying to go to class but also have these videos on in the background. Then I realized I could study graphic design as well, and didn’t know anyone who did it or how to begin the process. So I posted on the Design Kids FB page, and asked if anyone knew about Graphic Design (which obviously everyone did), and I met a friend for coffee to discuss the best options for me. I actually ended up quitting uni and switched to a fast track course that you get thrown into, and that worked a lot better for me.

What programs do you use? 

I always use Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, if I'm doing something with typesetting but trying to learn all of them. I’m also trying to learn After Effects at the moment.

What drew you to creating album concepts? 

With album concepts, I’ve always been inspired by music. I used to dance back in the day, and I really love music, that whole world is so interesting to me. I got so inspired, and I just wanted to show love to my favorite artists in the best way I could. When I moved to Japan, I was forced to do my own design, and so I decided to try to do album covers and see how it goes. I love doing album covers, they’re so much fun. There are so many ways to express someone’s music. 

If you could design an album cover for any artist, who would it be?

Oh that is so hard! Hmm... There are so many artists I really love right now. I really love Jhene Aiko. If I did it for anyone, I would do it for her for sure! 

Have you picked up any new hobbies while quarantined? 

I’ve been upcycling old t-shirts, taking old shirts and cutting them up and sewing them back together with my sewing machine. It’s a really easy way to start sewing because there's no pressure to make it look perfect. It’s something that I’ve really loved doing. 

Something you know now that you wish you had known when you started out in graphic design?

This is kinda what everyone says, but I wish I had known that everyone’s journey is different. It’s super easy to compare yourself or get anxious about sharing your work. But I just remind myself that no one is going to design the same thing as me. When I got to Japan, all my friends were starting to get jobs while I’m still at a cafe doing album covers (laughs) but it’s fine, everyone’s path is different!

3 favorite songs right now?

Super hard question! I really like Jaden Smith’s album, Cool Take Vol. 3, and the song Falling for You with Justin Bieber is sooo good—such like an old school kinda vibe. I also like the song Aqui Yo Mando by Kali Uchis, and I’ve been obsessed with the Brown Skin Girl visuals by Beyonce. I’ve been listening to that a lot. 

Anything you wanna let the BFROW community know? It could be anything!

If anyone wants to collaborate, hit me up

Watch Miss Nobuko design an album cover concept for Kali Uchis

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