Update: The original video was blocked by NHK. Watch a Design Ah! promo video, above, and a longer video below. You can now find Design Ah! episodes on Thirteen.org, too.
In 2011, Japan’s NHK public television network began broadcasting Design Ah!, a Peabody award-winning children’s educational program that explores different types of creative thinking for viewers of all ages. With an “Ah” that stands for that Ah! moment, as well as for あ, the first character of the Japanese alphabet, the program is full of minimal, rhythmic, well-crafted short clips that don’t shy away from sophistication.
We first heard of Design Ah! when Tinybop sang its praises in 2013. Since then, we’ve scoured the web for videos, but they are few and far between and often disappear. We’re guessing that these two clips might not be available for too long either, so be sure to watch them sooner than later.
Above, a beautifully hypnotic segment for Mandarin-speaking audiences: design observations of a soy sauce pourer. Some of the phrases read, “Hold, Press Down, Tilt, Pour, Stand Upright…” The video then asks about your observations, and suggests pouring at home to study how it works.
Below, a collection of short segments that observe everything from the diverse forms of chairs, to a deconstructed inventory of comic book elements, to a simple and catchy counting clip:
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