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Generational luxury, logo slapping & an interview with Haruko Hayakawa

Busy week for the HYPER team, Oren was at Canva Create checking out the latest design releases on the platform, and Clayton dove into logo slapping and primary colors on IG.

This week, we’re excited to showcase a new creative interview with the amazing Haruko Hayakawa, debut a new survey, and more!

If you’re new here from social looking for our recent promotions, (or in case you missed them)

Let’s get into it.


We've gotten a number of questions about the graphics on our luxury report, including this super fun cover.

All the graphics inside for our cover and section headers are all from Death to Stock - which coming from someone who creates a lot of media online, is just such a useful tool for $15/m (of $59 a month for agencies with fully transferable rights). Whether it's for report content, Youtube thumbnails, email graphics, or social media backgrounds, they deliver consistent, new imagery that is relevant to what's actually happening in culture, and stands out versus all other unlimited license imagery options.

Why we love it:

The team really thinks into what’s visually trending to make images that resonate, there’s unlimited downloads so you can experiment at will, and there’s new shoots and content twice every month.

A quick look at three of their most recent shoots.

And a sneak peak at some of their upcoming, unreleased imagery 👀

It’s perfect imagery to make graphics like Oren’s Youtube thumbnails come alive.

Use code SOHYPER for 15% off for 12 months!

This segment is in partnership with Death to Stock.

The Luxury Survey

In March we released the results of our latest HYPER survey, a deep dive into packaging and what the creative consumer notices, acts on and cares about.

Now we’re back with another look, this time parsing out thoughts on luxury by generation, to begin to understand the cultural shift in how luxury is thought of, enjoyed and consumed. This is a nuanced topic with lots of angles, and we’ve started here with a few straightforward questions and notes to begin to unpack it. We’d love your participation with the SurveyMonkey link below, and will share all the results here in the coming weeks!

INTERVIEW - Haruko Hayakawa
Independent 3D Artist & Creative Director

We’re excited to present the third in our interview series, after Tim from Bandit and Sam from Vaan! Haruko is an incredible digital artist and creative whose work is just incredibly visually inspiring. We’re excited she took the time to share her background, toolkit and thoughts on creative work below.

Tell us a bit about your background and how you ended up in your role!:

I was a stereotypically creative kid who really loved computers and digital art. I taught myself Photoshop and 3D when I was thirteen back in the early 2000’s.

Professionally I have a background in advertising, branding, packaging, still life photography, food styling and 3D. I later spent a good chunk of my twenties in an existential crisis trying to figure out what career path I wanted to go down. The creative industry is fast paced and high pressure and I think you need to find what you enjoy to truly thrive and I was seeking a career that I would wake up feeling excited about every day.

I went to The School of Visual Arts initially for 3D and dropped out the program and finished with a BFA in Graphic Design. I started my career out at Anomaly and then spent a few years freelancing at a variety of ad and brand agencies in NYC as well as in house with Chobani. At the same time I meandered through the photo industry as a food stylist based on everything I learned from working at Chobani.

I later took a job with WPP’s Superunion (RIP) where I stayed until I was an Associate Creative Director. I left literally right before the pandemic hit with aspirations of starting a branding and photo studio. I wanted to be able to see brand building out from start to finish including production.

Once the pandemic hit, my packaging clients weren’t able to get do any manufacturing or source samples from factories so I went back to 3D as a way to visualize custom bottles, caps, product finishes etc. That ended up taking off and I pivoted my career out of design and fully focus on 3D.

What does your creative team composition look like?

I operate mostly as an individual and scale and build teams depending on my projects and budgets. I have learned over the years that I’m at my happiest when I maintain a certain amount of freedom which allows me to create my personal work that gets me hired on larger commercial projects. When I’m hampered down with too many commitments like multiple team heavy projects, I quickly loose my ability to creatively free think and experiment which makes me feel pretty miserable.

I will bring on animators, generalists, modelers, assistants, etc depending on the project needs. For large scale projects, I try to get certain tasks off my plate even if they’re easy so that I can focus on the bigger creative ask.

Do you usually come in and work with bigger existing teams, or do you have a team yourself?

I hire based on the project so I may have a modeler, animator or a generalist working with me throughout different phases of a project. I have also considered bring on producers, project managers or potentially an agent if it’s a complex project which requires a lot of client and/or ad agency management.

How do you think about the difference between being an individual designer/creative and a creative director?

They are two completely different skillsets in my opinion.

An individual designer most often is self operating or operating within an existing team. A Creative Director is ultimately building a team and driving projects. That may or may not mean they’re doing the actual creative. It’s more about understanding how to guide work, manage your team and clients depending on your team structure and knowing how to sell through work and address concerns that have wider implications than just marketing and creative.

What was the most interesting project you’ve worked on in the last year?

I worked on the art for Cometeer’s packaging revamp for Costco, Whole Foods and Sprouts. Moving into retail presents it’s own challenges compared to the DTC space - there’s a need for products to stand out on a busy grocery shelf and for products to be “quick read” and it's form and function understood at a glance. I iterated on this quite a bit with Cometerr’s partner design studio, Creech.⁠

I had never seen anyone successful create a coffee and milk swirl in 3D so this took many hours of R&D to create this effect. I’m really proud of this work because it’s like coming back full circle and using all my skillsets from 3D and understanding packaging and retail from my agency days.
Show off a bit for us!

What's your current toolkit for creative work? Project planning, moodboarding, presentation etc.

Admin and Project Management:
Calendly: scheduling intro meetings (probably my biggest life and time saver)
Eagle: saving video inspiration
Miro: moodboarding for myself and working collaboratively with my clients
Google Slides: not my favorite but often preferred for collaborating with clients
Slack: communicating with my team
Figma: Presentations and client collaboration

Creative Toolkit:
Cinema 4D, Zbrush, Redshift, Octane and Substance Painter. I heavily use Photoshop and occasionally Adobe Illustrator.
Macbook Pro 16 2021
Main PC: Threadripper PRO 5965WX, dual 4090 GPU and 128GB RAM
Secondary PC: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X, 4090 GPU and 64GB RAM
Wacom Cintiq 22

What creatives do you look up to and find inspiration from currently?

I’ve been a long time fan and follower of Hajime Sorayama. I became obsessed with his work when I was a kid after learning he designed the Sony Aibo.

Bobby Doherty is the photographer of our generation. I have such a huge amount of respect for him and his work. I don’t exactly know how he works, but I get the impression that he’s constantly tinkering and experimenting and I really admire that.

How do you currently organize your projects and assets?

I organize all my files on Dropbox so I can sync it across a Macbook Pro and two PC’s.

Where do you find yourself turning for inspiration?

I hate to say it because I find it so basic but Pinterest. I have tried Arena and Cosmos but I find that Pinterest has a well developed algorithm that just understand what I’m looking for.

I also look at art books often at museum or places like The Strand. I like to look at inspiration outside of my area of creative like traditional Japanese wood block prints, illustration, photography, sculpture and fine art.

And lastly, this might be a weird one, but I like going to Japanese grocery stores and food markets. I like to see how food is depicted in other cultures as well as what’s generally going on in the consumer product world.

Any tips for creatives trying to get better at creative operations?

Be observant. Whenever I worked at an agency, I would analyze their SOW’s, how the best CD’s pitched, timeline building and generally how projects were run and priced. Early in my career I wanted to be on client calls and in rooms during pitches. I wanted to run a design practice so I would soak up whatever would be useful for that.

Find a mentor if you can. It will help you immensely.

Experiment to figure out what works for you and your business. Try using admin tools, hiring a virtual assistant, read books on this (there’s a ton) and talk to other creatives running their own studios. Expand your network and seek out what you’re unclear about.

Lastly, remember what it was like to be briefed by a good and bad Creative Director. I think about this when I brief my teams and try to give them everything they need to run with the work. Some of the worst briefings I’ve received over the years have been nebulous, unclear and contradicting so I try to be clear and give structure without being overly prescriptive depending on how far a creative is in their career.

Where can people find you online?

Hyper Reports

Check out our market reports. We spend many hours researching markets, categories, and brands & products within the consumer space–all so that you don’t have to.

  • How to Source Blanks 101 — HERE — a guide to finding and producing your own merch

  • Reports on Running, Golf, and Tennis — HERE — a guide to each sport, the market opportunities, and how to launch your own brand

Inquiries? Shoot us a note here: [email protected]

We’d love to chat!

Oren & Clayton ❤️ you