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Site of the week: Ondo

A colourful and mysterious showcase site reveals hidden projects from one of Japan’s most prominent digital design studios



Hopefully it isn’t  disrespectful to admit certain cultural clashes between here in the West and the Far East. Referring specifically to Japan, many feel equally perplexed and fascinated by the very different sensibilities for fashion and design emanating from this part of the world.

One of the most prominent web agencies here is Tokyo’s SONICJAM, noted for playful, fun and ‘Wow!’ URL experiences like this one since 2001. Named Ondo, which apparently translates as ‘leading’, ‘temperature’, or ‘rhythm’ in Japanese, the site feels rather anonymous and mysterious.

Bringing together experiments and non-client work from the SONICJAM studio, the byword is colour and a constantly revolving palette of RGB schemes. Project thumbnails waft vertically through space, prompting visitors to almost catch them before each escapes out of view. What looks like a geometric mirror ball perpetually shimmers neatly inside a background <canvas> before various 3D effects punctuate subsequent exploration.

“In Japan, people are sensitive to trends, and people easily get bored,” explains the team. “So in many cases an instant buzz and speed of spread are necessary. We are required to keep implementing new technologies, ideas and creativity with the sense of ‘Ondo’ – so this is why we built it!”


Each of the floating project thumbnails is a rollover, revealing a dynamic label and gridded overlay


Inside you’ll find more depth and explanation for each featured piece, yielding more colour and effects