What Designer Do You Admire? – Kenichiro Ashida

Kenichiro Ashida

Honestly, I don’t think about who designs a lot of what we see today; cars, buildings, phones, etc.; and I think it’s because there aren’t too many unique designs nowadays. But every now and then, there is a design or two that stands out to me. Another “but”, but there is one company that does stand out to me, in terms of design: Nintendo. Specifically, there is one man that designed two of Nintendo’s most successful consoles: Kenichiro Ashida. This man is responsible for designing the Wii and Nintendo DS.

Nintendo DS

I grew up playing a lot of Nintendo games, so I’m a little biased as a huge fan of the company. But Kenichiro Ashida definitely rocked the industry with the Wii and Nintendo DS, with Wiimotes and dual screen hand-held gaming. The Wii’s compact and minimalist design allowed it to fit in any household without disrupting the interior design. The Wii’s controller design allowed it to fit into anyone’s hands with its buttons easily accessible to anyone’s fingers, and the use of the infrared sensors and accelerometer made in intuitive to use as a motion controller, since it was just like pointing the TV remote at the screen. The same hand-held-friendly design is present in the DS as well; it’s size was perfectly suited for anyone to use. It’s screens were small to allow this small package, but big enough to allow for decent detail. Additionally, it had two screens, which allowed for a wider range of UI/UX designs.

Today, while both consoles are more than 15 years old (reaching almost 20 years old), they are still recognizable by many, which shows how influential the design was.

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3 Comments. Leave new

  • I think the design of the Wii remote is brilliant! I’m curious to see if you found any pictures of prototype versions of this design? I’d love to see how Kenichiro Ashida settled on the design we’re all familiar with. I’m curious what determined that specific shape and form factor, and especially how the button configurations were determined to be the most optimal.

  • Ali Alfares
    March 5, 2023 8:58 pm

    Hi Josh,
    Thanks for the great post. Ashida is definitely an under-appreciated hero, the foldable, dual-screen DS design was revolutionary for its time and brought a whole new dimension to handheld gaming. The Wii and DS were both big parts of my childhood, it was fun to learn about the man behind them.

  • Aidan Shelburne
    March 5, 2023 12:27 pm

    Thanks for sharing, I hadn’t thought about these consoles as design elements but you’ve made really good points in emphasizing how the design in each of these maximized the effect of their functions: the usability of the devices and the enjoyment of the user.


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