Monday, February 20, 2006


Yusaku Kamekura - DESIGNER GRAPICAL (1915-1997)

Yusaku Kamekura is considered one of Japanese the representative greaters of the first generation of designers, having received diverse awardings in Japan and the exterior for its work.
Kamekura was born in the Province of Niigata, in 1915. A Japanese graphic designer. He studied principles of Constructivism at the Institute of New Architecture and Industrial Arts, Tokyo, a private institute established and run by Renshichiro Kawakita with the aim of introducing Bauhaus design theories in Japan; he graduated in 1935 and in 1938 joined the Nippon Kobo design studio (now Publishing on Design Inc.). For over a decade from 1937 he worked as art director on a number of Japanese magazines, including Nippon and Commerce Japan . In 1951 he participated in the establishment of the Japan Advertising Arts Club, which secured social recognition for the profession of graphic designer. In 1955 he took part in the ‘Graphic ’55’ exhibition, together with Hiromu Hara, Paul Rand and others.
Kamekura received an award from the Japan Advertising Arts Club in 1956 for a poster calling for peaceful use of atomic power. He co-founded the Nippon Design Centre (Tokyo) in 1960 with Ikko Tanaka and as its director succeeded in bringing together graphic designers and industry at a period when Japanese business was deeply influenced by Western ideas. He designed posters, books, magazines, corporate symbols, logos, street signs and packaging. His work is distinguished by its dynamic composition, technical expertise and visual inventiveness, making full use of photography, colour and geometric elements.
Outside Japan, his best-known designs are his posters for the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games and for Expo ’70 in Osaka. Exhibitions of his work were held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1953), and Normandy House, Chicago (1956). He is credited with inventing the term ‘corporate identity graphics’ to describe the ‘visual excellence’ he sought to promote.
In 1978 he became chairman of the newly founded Japan Graphic Designers Association, which publishes lavishly illustrated books on the work of Japanese graphic designers. For his exhibition ‘The Universe of Curved and Straight Lines: Designs by Yusaku Kamekura’ he received the 25th Mainichi Arts Award in 1983. A successful teacher, lecturer and writer, he has won many awards for his designs, both in Japan and abroad, and his work is in many public collections (e.g. New York, MOMA; Amsterdam, Stedel. Mus.).


The 1964 Tokyo Olympics represented more than just toned athletes and gold medals for Japan. For the first time since the WWII defeat, the world turned its gaze back upon the Land of the Rising Sun. And Japan was intent upon living up to expectations by dazzling its foreign guests with its technological prowess and visual splendor. Of the artists responsible for creating the visual feast, Yusaku Kamekura would become a legend. With his banner-like designs and tightly choreographed poster campaign, Kamekura initiated Japan into the post-war design elite. Like many artists the world over, Kamekura was influenced by the Modernist innovations that had occurred in Europe. The Bauhaus, Constructivism, the Art Deco posters of A.M. Cassandre -- all exerted a profound influence over Kamekura. Kamekura used these examples to move steadily through the ranks of the industry. He worked as art director for the magazine Nippon and established the influential Japan Advertising Artists Club in 1951.
The Olympics, however, catapulted him to international recognition. He picked and chose from Modernism’s grab bag, then underscored these concerns with a Japanese aesthetic. His poster for the Olympics (which won the grand prize from the Ministry of Education) boasts Japan's sun rising triumphantly above European typography. It was a seamless synthesis of the International style with traditional Japanese iconography. For the Olympic pictograms, Kamekura collaborated with Masaru Katsumie to create a dramatic tension with basic forms. The images are meant to express the perfection and endurance of the athletes. Kamekura created a series of representations at once powerful and direct -- all without using words (a necessity for international events). His commercial designs are characterized by a strong sense of linear and geometric form. The design for the Taiyo Machine Industry Company is constructed of swirling lines converging at the center of a circle. It is a grand gesture of both focus and eruption, a simultaneous moving inward and outward into the infinite. Kamekura created a symbol whose meaning reaches towards the eye, drawing it into a sharply defined paradigm. Kamekura has embraced most every aspect of design, from advertising to book design to packaging. Not only did he contribute to rebuilding national pride, he established Japan as one of the premiere international centers of design. For all his innovations, he has earned a nickname that says it all: "The Boss."
Prizes 1956 – Prize of the Japan Advertising Arts Club for a poster asking for the pacific use of the Nuclear Energy.
1960~92 – Biennial prizes in the International ones of Posters of Vasórvia1961 – Great Prize of the Ministry of the Education1980 – Medal Looks Púrpura1983 – 25º Prize of Arts of the Mainichi Shimbun for the exposition “The Universe of Curved and Straight Lines: Designs by Yusaku Kamekura”.
1985 – Prize Sacred Treasure of the 3ª Order
1991 – Prize Cultural Personality Honors to the Merit
Good Design Award was started on 1957. "G-Mark" was designed by Mr. Yusaku Kamekura on 1958 as the proof of awarded product.

G-mark is consisted from the initial "G" of "Good Design" arranged to the basic form which the right quadrangle divided into eight inscribed in the right circle.