Encounter the beauty of a poster / KATSUNORI AOKI

“Encounter the beauty of a poster” is a theme for the graphic designers who are a part of the project “POSTERS”. A journey about how they start paying attention to posters and its graphic, follow up to the works and projects that influenced them when they were young, until to their success and how they find their own way in creating.

When I was a student, I worked part-time at Masayoshi Nakajo's office in Ginza. Initially, there were no machines like a copier or a computer. Instead of that, there was a machine called Quick. We used it to invert the logo on a photographic paper, correct it, and then invert it again to shape the logo. At the beginning I was interested in architecture and space, but when I got praised for balance and composition at the prep school, I directly switched to graphic design. However, at a time when I couldn't distinguish between graphic design, illustration, and fine art, I met Mr. Nakajo. I was highly impressed by experiencing all the creating process of logos at his office.

The Nakajo office is on the 3rd floor and you can only enter, by going through the art supply store on the 1st floor. The office was not locked, so the art supply store was something like a gatekeeper. You couldn’t go upstairs unless they know your face. Mr. Nakajo often came late in the afternoon and worked until morning. Shuzo Hayashi, who was a designer at the Nakajo office, came around 11 o'clock, so I also went there to help with the work and had lunch with him. While this, I learned a lot about the graphic design industry.

At that time, Mr. Nakajo was making a poster for the special page of Shiseido's Hanatsubaki. This featured work called "Blue Marine" which creates an image that it is affixed to a sea hut at the end of the venue. I still remember, one day when I went to the office, this poster was hanging on the wall and I was impressed that the design and layout of the letters were roughly composed, which was simple, beautiful and just fascinating. The idea of a blue silk printing was in my opinion delightful. I bought it when there was a poster exhibition of Mr. Nakajo at @btf (our office) in 2013. And now it is hanging in my office, I look at it every day.

Shiseido "Hanatsubaki" June 1988 Special Page "Blue Marine" AD Masayoshi Nakajo
"First Half of Nakajo" Exhibition January 11-27, 2013 @btf (Butterfly Stroke Exhibition Space)

My journey continued, I start working at SUN-AD. When I was a student, me and Kaoru Kasai were really active in playing badminton, we also created a team together. At SUN-AD, I didn't have much opportunity to help out Kasai-san as an assistant, but I was still busy with work. It was especially a precious experience to see a wide range of advertising work. A few years after joining the company, a couple of computers were finally used in our office. It became possible to compose characters on a Mac, to draw the nuances of typefaces and develop them into logos and marks. The already installed typefaces where limited, contrary to the traditional typefaces there were dozens of new typefaces created by oversea designers. From this selection, I chose a typeface called "Emigré's Triplex Light". For my projects, I always tried to use the selected typeface into various letter combination or created it as a logo. As a result, I had the pleasure to create the logo for Hiromichi Nakano and won numerous awards. I got more confident by getting featured and recognition for my Idea. In the beginning of my journey, I decided to become a designer after seeing Mr. Nakajo's work, so I think it was a natural process for me to get interested in creating logos.

hiromichi nakano logos 1993- hiromichi nakano

As an art director for advertising, I learned to conceive and establish projects such as Okamoto's Benetton Condom and Laforet Grand Bazaar. The collaboration with Ichiro Tanida for the Laforet's advertisement, I did the editing of 3DCG posters and movies on Mac within a year and a half. At that time, 3DCG was not uncommon, but it was said that it`s "impressive" to realize the project such in a short period with a Computer. "Bazaar Fighter" in 1996 is a project inspired by the popular game "Virtua Fighter". Even if I borrowed 10 computers and rendered them separately, it wouldn't end overnight. Nowadays it is unimaginable to be technically so limited, but it was an era when I was always searching for new and interesting expressions by using the computer to the fullest with the given possibilities.

Laforet Grand Basar Poster 1996 Laforet Harajuku
Laforet Spring Fair Poster 1996 Laforet Harajuku
Benetton Condom Poster 1994 Okamoto

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