Oliver Reichenstein is the founder and director of Information Architects, the Tokyo, Zurich, and Berlin-based design agency. iA's usual trade is website design and consultancy along with the odd concept like the Twitter strikethrough, but the company has also found recent success in iOS and Mac app development. Writer for iPad is a pioneering minimalist text editor, and its focus-enhancing combination of sparse visuals and refined typography has since made the leap to OS X and the iPhone.

Reichenstein recently took the time to answer some of my questions on design and development. Since iA's work is informed by its presence in Europe and Asia, I wanted to know his thoughts on the differences between the two, and in particular where he sees the state of Japanese design right now. After all, for anyone who's visited a cluttered Japanese website recently, the tasteful and restrained work put out by iA would seem to be entirely out of step with the agency's Tokyo base. Read on for Reichenstein's thoughts on why this is, as well as typography, user interface design, influences, and more — he has a lot to say.