Interview: Adrien Sanborn

Adrien Sanborn is a Nagoya-based web designer from Boston who has lived in Nagoya for 8 years. He started out as a teacher and then worked designing RAN magazine for its first year. Throughout his time he has constantly studied web design to keep up with ever-changing technologies. In February 2014, he finally decided to become a full-time freelance web design. We asked Adrien about his work.

Tell us a bit about your design work. What kinds of design do you do?

I do layout with careful consideration for color and typography. The use of a grid helps me keep content clear and organized. Colors affect mood and context. Certain color arrangements say ‘yummy!’ while others say ‘you can trust us with your money’! Effective use of color helps guide the eyes to meaningful content and interactions.

Good typography is comfortable, communicates the tone of the content, and helps users orient themselves.

Who is your typical customer?

So far, I’ve designed mostly for independent business owners with small teams. People with art or portfolio pieces to display, people with a message or information to help them make a choice (“vote for me” or “take our lessons”). I’ve made sites for English teaching businesses, a politician, an artist, and an architect.

What aspects of web design do you like the most?

I studied media and graphic design in college. While that was interesting and stimulating, it didn’t seem fulfilling to me.

I love web design because you create experiences that people use, you craft the flow and relationships of information throughout the site to help people find information and accomplish tasks. A good web designer can make a site smooth and comfortable, and I love challenging myself to achieve that with each project.

What is the number one mistake people have when setting out to have a website made?

When I got married, we had this little rinky-dink fridge that came up lower than my hips. Food was rotting in it because it was too much of an effort to sort through it every time we cooked. The menu was determined by the items closest to the front. We had to get a bigger fridge. We started looking through product fliers and picked one out that served our needs.

Do you know how much we paid for our fridge? About ¥150,000! For a fridge! I was blown away, to be honest. We simply couldn’t find one that was family-ready for less than that.

So, interestingly, many people think a site should cost a fraction of that. A well-built website can do so much for you and your business. So I think it’s a mistake to hold it to lower standards than a fridge.

Can you assist with the technical aspects of hosting and setting up email etc?

Absolutely! I can help you decide and register a domain name, choose hosting, set up email, register your Social Network accounts to interact with your site, etc. For the computer illiterate, I will set up your site from the ground up.

Do you also do logos and brand design?

Heavens yes! My wife handles every aspect of branding in print. She will start by getting a clear vision going for a brand, and she can design just about anything one might need for promotion ( logos, flyers, illustrations, ads, buttons & fans, etc. )

Interested in Adrien’s work?
Contact him via his website at:

One response to “Interview: Adrien Sanborn

  1. Very cool! Thanks NagMag! By the by, I’ve recently joined the ACCJ and plan to keep moving forward and make a meaningful impact on the businesses and the scene in Nagoya (and the world)!

    My most recent project launched was a client in America. Check out Platonic Architects:

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