Ikko Tanaka: “The Emperor of Graphic Design”

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Three years before his 2002 death, Graphis profiled designer Ikko Tanaka, one of the founding fathers of Japanese design. In Graphis Magazine, Issue 321, one art publisher even said, “Tanaka is the Emperor of Graphic Design.” Mashing together the traditional rituals and history of Japan with western modernism, Tanaka carved out a middle ground that is decidedly timeless and graceful. The look of his work is bold, refined, and colorful. Not one to rest on his many laurels, Ikko Tanaka in his later years studied the style and depth of Noh theater to inspire his work.

“A poster has to strike the viewer, but to glimpse the world of Noh, one has to approach it from deep within oneself.” The symbolism and subtlety of Noh “is the opposite of today’s communication.”

To see or read more about Ikko Tanaka, click here.

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Author: Kayla Harris for Graphis

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