Graphic Design Pieces from Japan in the 1960’s and 70’s

I’m fascinated by the Japanese culture with their incredible attention to detail and precision when it comes to learning and perfecting their craft. I think too many people in this world celebrate mediocrity – in the class room, in the work force. It’s almost as if it’s an attempt to create a population of people that just blend in with each other… sheeple, if you will. But, that’s a whole other topic I will save for another post in another blog some day. Back on the topic of design, the Japanese, their culture and strength in tradition… Here’s a group of people who strive on a daily basis to stand out from one another. The competition is so great they have to make their mark, get noticed, be unique. It was true back then, and it’s even more true now. As an Ikebana artist myself, I can only hope that I can honor their traditions with each arrangement I create. As a graphic designer, let me start by saying I am in awe just by looking at each of these pieces, their composition, style of illustration, use of color and technique. Hence, my second post to showcase these designs.

To follow up to my previous post – which focused on showcasing designs from the 1920’s and 1930’s – I’d like to jump ahead and show some of my favorites from the 1960’s. In other places around the world, graphic design was being represented by some of the legendary greats. From Saul Bass, creating those various movie posters – to Paul Rand’s LSD-inspired psychedelic designs for concert posters and album covers. From the type of music people listened to, to the style of film that captivated viewers, experimentations with psychedelic drugs crossing over with bright colors in fashion – all of these influences both visually and audibly helped to shape design around the world, and design work in Japan reflected this as well. Take a peek at some of these design pieces…

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If you’d like to see more, visit the Gurafiku site. It contains an extensive collection of Japanese posters and other graphic design pieces that can be previewed by selecting the various decades. For example, browsing through the Japanese movie posters, for instance, is an incredible way to spend your lunch hour. Just an FYI, I’ve also included a few of my favorite (and more recently designed) posters within the slideshow of images… for your viewing pleasure of course. Enjoy!

 

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Showcasing Each Letterform in 3D ::: Architypo ::: The Final Alphabet

Johnson Banks is the firm that took on this request from a suggestion made from their client, Ravensbourne. The request was to see if they’d take their 3D prototyping skills to the next level and create a 3D expression of the current alphabet. Each letterform is showcased in a different expression of itself – repeated, stacked, rotated, scaled, skewed, while still maintaining parts of its recognizable shape. Not only that, but each font or typeface they used – whether they chose to use the lowercase or uppercase letterform – each detail in these 3D constructions was carefully considered and reflected in the description as well. This is Arkitypo: The Final Alphabet.

Take for instance the letter “H” for a moment…

The Letter H | Helvetica

Helvetica
Originally designed in 1957 as Neue Haas Grotesk, its 1960 version was renamed Helvetica. Given that its name was based on ‘Helvetia’ (Latin for Switzerland) it was no surprise that it became the vanguard of the Swiss style, and the typeface of choice for corporations across the world for the last fifty years.

Now, having read that – look again at their approach. They incorporated the letterform that’s made up of all of these recognized names who use “Helvetica” as their chosen typeface for branding the company. (Nestle, Blaupunkt, Basf, Target, Kawasaki and more…)

Let’s look at the letter “C” now…

The Letter C | Courier

Courier
Courier was originally commissioned for 1950s IBM typewriters, but soon became the standard font throughout the then-emerging industry. As a nod to the torturous days of jammed machinery, this ‘C’ is built from a small forest of typewriter keys.

This being a little more literal in its translation is still quite clever in its expression. The execution of these typewriter keys, overlapping, stacked, rotated… they create interesting angles and shadows upon one another. They mimic the true shape of the letter, while tying back to the history of the font. Impressive interpretation!

Here’s what they created for the letter “I”

The Letter I | Industria

Industria
Originally designed for The Face in 1984 by Neville Brody, Industria was released publically as a font in 1989. It has a mechanical structure of straight strokes, rounded corners and square inner spaces that refer back to Art Deco and design pioneers such as Ladislav Sutnar.

This could be a sculpture I’d feature in my living room! To take a letter, observe its rigid form  and then create a piece that not only adds movement… this piece also ties back to its Art Deco movement with this ultra thin case used in this industrial interpretation.

The result can be seen in this video – which shows 360 degree renders of each letter sculpture.

No More Candy for These Drunken Toddlers!

JACK DANIELS WHISKEY-INFUSED, CHOCOLATE-EATING… BABIES???

This is definitely one of those instances where the style of advertising and the cultures between agencies around the world differ and push boundaries. At first glance, I immediately thought, “Oh that sleepy baby is so cute!!!” Then, when I saw what the ad was for (whiskey-infused chocolates), the image had a totally different connotation. Let’s just say that my secondary reaction was a bit more surprised they took it there. Then, after collecting my thoughts, I gave the entire campaign another look – and well, it’s really freakin’ cute. Not everything you see is “real.” I’m pretty sure parents aren’t going to be “swayed” into getting their children drunk. More importantly, I’d be willing to bet there aren’t any toddlers that will be lured into the deep, dark realms of whiskey-hood either.  It was effective in making me look… and look back, and look back a third time!  On a side note, I wonder why no female toddlers were used in the making of these ads… Is this hinting that advertising is still a man’s world?  (Just kidding… calm down… no need to have a hissy!!)

In this hilarious print ad campaign by Dentsu South America, adorable images of “drunken” toddlers are used to sell chocolates infused with Jack Daniels whiskey. L’Univers de Chocolat is a highly regarded French confectionary in Sao Paolo, Brazil, started by Chef Nicolas Galland. Dentsu has been the world’s largest single-brand advertising company for almost 40 years and this “Funny Baby” campaign won the creative directors, Felipe Cama and Alexandre Lucas, a Gold Outdoor Lion at Cannes National Advertising Festival 2010. These charming pictures were photographed by Rogério Miranda, who was voted the 13th best advertising photographer in the world in 2004, by Archive magazine. While some may find the inebriated baby ads controversial, I can’t help but wonder where I can get some of these chocolates.  — Visual News, article found here.

Hand-drawn, hand-cut type in this beautiful letterpress poster

Created by Darren Newman, this poster was created to promote the “Typeface” film for its premiere in Manchester. The film itself showcases a print shop located in Two Rivers, Wisconsin – a small rural town where most all of the factories have shut down and businesses are struggling. This film also pays homage to this incredible print making craft which peaks the interest of so many design enthusiasts. Personally, I love the style of these letterforms – they remind me of something you would have seen Herb Lubalin pull off back in the day. The curves and variances in the line widths are just so beautifully constructed!

::: Viktor Hertz ::: Honest Logos :::

… or what they really should say! I find this series by Viktor Hertz to be a hilarious take on these familiar identities that most definitely spill the honesty up front!

 

Kudos to mymodernmet.com for posting his work. I found it to be an entertaining and inspirational end to my day, so thanks!

tristan eaton | 3D art book just released


Tristan Eaton | 3D Art Book

 

Tristan Eaton… here’s a guy who’s really carved out a niche for himself. From his association with Kid Robot to getting his permanent collection in NY’s MOMA… with titles from street artist & toy designer to president & creative director, his range as a creative leader’s nothing shy of impressive. Take a peek at his latest release, the 3D art book. Grab your glasses peeps – it’s worth a peek!

Here’s more pics from the book, or check out Tristan’s site here.