Category Archives: Japanese Graphic Design

No Nation is an Island (Even if It's an Island)

The aesthetic congruity between Japanese and Scandinavian design is self-evident. Both traditions hold a similar attitude toward nature and natural form, both tend to minimalism and share a reverence for craftsmanship. In the field of architecture there was a reciprocal influence between the cultures throughout the Twentieth Century, with Alvar Aalto, who is essentially revered by modern Japanese architects, being particularly vocal in his appreciation of traditional Japanese architecture and design. In graphic and pattern design, the Japaneque is very much a part of the design vocabulary of Marimekko, while contemporary Japanese designer Yurio Seki has collaborated with Swedish craft maven Lotta Jansdotter and is responsible for the design of the first monograph on the work of renowned graphic designer Olle Eksell to be published outside of his native Sweden.


Yurio Seki: Japanese Graphic Designer
? 2008: Yurio Seki

This is the first comprehensive monograph on the work of Yurio Seki and her brand Salvia. Seki is one of the most popular graphics designers in Japan with an instantly recognizable style and palette. Along with a complete presentation of the Salvia pattern and product designs, this book features an extensive selection of her book designs and other print work. Unfortunately, as this is a specially imported domestic publication from Pie Books, all text is in Japanese. (2008: PIE Books; ISBN 9784894446496)


Olle Eksell: Swedish Graphic Designer
? 2007: Olle Eksell

Olle Eksell (1918-2007) was a pioneering figure in Swedish graphic design.Typical of the industry in Sweden, Eksell maintained a diverse practice, working in illustration, corporate identity and editorial design, fabric and textile design, and as a design educator and writer. However, it was his advocacy of the modern conception of graphic design and his 1964 textbook Design-Economy that were most influential in the development of the industry in Sweden. His work is uniformly subtle, beautiful and gentle. Another domestic publication from Pie Books with the majority of its text in Japanese. (2007: PIE Books; ISBN 9784894445475)



Alvar Aalto: Through the Eyes of Shigeru Ban
? 2007: Shigeru Ban, Juhani Pallasmaa & Tomoko Sato

Based on a 2007 exhibition by the same name held at the Barbican Art Gallery in London, this beautifully produced catalogue examines the development of Aalto’s architectural style, reproducing models, drawings, photographs and artifacts from 14 of his key projects. Curated by renowned Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, who, despite the generational and geographical divide, is perhaps the most most legitimate heir to Aalto’s architectural vision. (2007: Black Dog Publishing; ISBN 9781904772644)



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Design as Civil Virtue: Fukasawa / Hara / Morrison

Designing Design

? 2007: Kenya Hara with Jasper Morrison, John Maeda & Naoto Fukasawa

Hara first came to international attention as the designer of opening ceremonies for the Nagano Winter Olympic Games in 1998, but it is in his role as design director for MUJI that he has put his indelible stamp on contemporary design culture. In addition to being a fascinating study of one man’s philosophical and ethical approach to design, this is one of the most lovely books ever to grace our shelves. (2007: Lars Müller Publishers; ISBN 9783037781050)

Naoto Fukasawa

? 2007: Naoto Fukasawa with Antony Gormley & Jasper Morrison

Naoto Fukasawa is undoubtedly the leading figure in product design in Japan. His associations with Muji, PLUS MINUS ZERO and Issey Miyaki have been particularly productive. Edited by Fukasawa himself, this is the first monograph published in English of the work of this innovative designer. (2007: Phaidon; ISBN 9780714845869)

Super Normal: Sensations of the Ordinary

? 2007: Naoto Fukasawa & Jasper Morrison

Fukasawa and Morrison select 204 everyday objects in an attempt create a new design canon which they define as “super normal design”: design that transcends time and national culture forming an eternal repository of beauty and utility. (2007: Lars Müller Publishers; ISBN 9783037781067)

Designing Design: $63.50
Naoto Fukasawa: $79.95
Super Normal: Sensations of the Ordinary: $39.95


To purchase any of the products or titles mentioned here, please visit our downtown Toronto location, call us toll-free at 1-800-56-swipe or e-mail us at: