AQ is a team of designers, developers and researchers building products that help people do great things and learn from the world around them.
Founded in Tokyo, 2004. In Paris since 2014.
After studying graphic design and Japanese language and aesthetics, Chris moved to Tokyo in 2001 to begin his design practice. He co-founded AQ in 2004.
As managing director, Chris leads the design process, working with teams to clarify ideas, and transform them into beautiful, hard-working products.
Eiko co-founded AQ in 2004, and leads user research and workshop facilitation in Japan. She believes all good relationships start from listening, and strives to always keep her ears open.
Drawing from her roots as a communication designer, Eiko works with clients and designers to ensure that products and services have the right message and feel.
Tomomi is a project director and partner at AQ. She started as a junior project manager in 2009, making endless to-do’s and bug reports, before embracing facilitation skills and the practice of UX and service design as key to delivering useful tools and services.
After building up our UX consulting practice, Tomomi moved from Tokyo to Paris in late 2014. She focuses on expanding our opportunities for experimentation and growth, while working closely with the team to maintain the health of our project portfolio.
Ryan Ruel is creative director at AQ. After studying design and developing an interest in Japanese culture at the University of Illinois, he spent five years in Chicago designing for clients like NYSE and AIGA before moving to Tokyo in 2009.
With a love for UI and identity design, Ryan has led many of AQ's web service and application design solutions. When he’s not rounding corners, he can be found co-hosting our Ride the Lightning events with Marion or facilitating the game design workshop series, “Press Pause”, he helped found with gaming cohort — Jean Snow.
Michi is a UX researcher with a focus on fieldwork, coordinating and facilitating interviews for the team to better understand the users that we design for. Her ability to build rapport with just about anyone serves her well in this role, and she delights in coming up with unexpected solutions for clients and her team.
Before joining AQ, Michi spent a few years building and operating educational software for SMBs.
Johnny is a project manager at AQ. Back in 2009 he left his California lifestyle and IT work at Apple in search of adventure in Japan. He spent four years cultivating creativity in cities and running operations at the PechaKucha organization, all the while setting aside time to study iOS development and run Swift workshops.
He can be seen running to the office or on Japan's picturesque trails with Hit the Road (AQ's monthly running club), and it is statistically likely that he is, at this very moment, poring over AQ's latest design prototype, a kanban board, or eating a burrito.
Em is UX Lead at AQ. Originally hailing from the US, she moved to Tokyo at the beginning of 2018 after working at ustwo in Sydney, Australia. User centered design is her passion, and she has shipped many successful products, including the launch of inflight wifi with the airline Qantas.
In her free time, Em enjoys playing video games, studying Japanese, and cuddling with her two dogs. In a past life, she traveled the world with a professional choir and played the part of a turnip in an Opera.
Davide Petrillo is the tech lead at AQ. Starting his career as a full-stack developer, he worked in and with international companies leaders in their industries. Understanding that best development practices alone are not enough to lead a digital product to success, he moved into Product Management and started advocating for Agile, Lean and cross-disciplinary collaboration.
Davide studied Computer Science and Japanese in Italy before developing his career in Germany, UK, and finally in Tokyo from 2017.
Yumi is a UX researcher. After studying user centered design as a student, she specialized in research and has conducted usability tests and user interviews for more than a decade. She sees her daily work as a way to make it easier for people to grasp the essence of the products and services they encounter.
Yumi is also a passionate dog lover. She volunteers at a shelter and is studying to be a dog trainer, in a quest to complement her command of UX with DX (dog experience).