Missing from the textbook – Comics and Sequential Art

By: Kirk Nazar- 3164965

An extremely influential aspect of art and design that is missing from Eskilson’s textbook is the role of comic books and Graphic novels throughout history. The basic communicatory structure of these mediums is rooted in graphic design, and requires it in order to function. Comic illustration and Graphic design share a symbiotic relationship in this sense and have made a massive contribution to our art and design culture throughout history; Acting as a visual communication of our cultural zeitgeist, establishing symbolism and a distinct visual vocabulary that have become ingrained into our contemporary visual culture, shaping and reflecting it.

Itchy and Scratchy Comics, 1999

In order to even hold their basic narrative structure, the illustrations of a comic and narrative text need to be arranged in a way that is legible and cohesive, and this is where graphic design play’s it’s integral role in their construction. Comic books are a visual medium that embrace all 5 sense. Used in a multitude of ways to represent different narrative aspects. One way they achieve this is utilizing illustrative typography and it’s placement among the illustration to do things such as giving texture to a word to represent a sound, or emboldening it to establish tone, theme or mood.

Roy Lichtenstein, CRAK! (1963)
Roy Lichtenstein, CRAK! (1963)

These emotive fonts became a symbolic and iconic type face associated with comics, but more importantly their role in popular culture. These typographic methods were re purposed for a variety of other avenues of art and design. One of the most famous artistic movements, the Pop art movement of the 1950’s; Saw artists such as Roy Lichtenstein utilizing them, and other comic book visual tools in his own work to critique the current socio political climate of capitalistic mass production and the status of fine art and design in the 20th century.

Whaam! 1963 by Roy Lichtenstein 1923-1997
Roy Lichtenstein, WHAAM! (1963)


Their use and effects throughout history has shifted drastically from tools of sociopolitical satire and critique, expressions of american youth culture to an integral part of the american war machine in the 1940’s . Following the events of D-Day, the american government enlisted comic makers of the time into the war effort, creating the character of Captain America. With the major demographic of readers being young men, comics were the perfect tool. They began operating as essentially an alternative to american enlistment posters and propaganda, assisting with vilification of the enemy and Heroism of the american allied forces. Targeted at young boys coming of age to enlist and also soldiers fighting over seas alike; sending copies to active duty troops reassuring them of their heroic purpose, justifying their role. In fact, the narrative tool of the super villain in literature and popular culture was the product of American War time comic issues and their propagandistic utilization.

Captain America Comics (1941) #1
Captain America Comics (1942) #13








While comics and graphic novels are often considered to be under the umbrella of illustration, I wholeheartedly disagree, Their methods of story telling are in able to function without some form of graphic design and in that sense their relationship is inseparable and symbiotic. I sincerely believe that the place of comics and graphic novels are a key facet that cannot be ignored when looking at graphic design. They have had an undeniable affect on our society throughout our history, both artistically and culturally, and are an excellent example of a form of art and design that needs more inclusion in Academic textbooks.

Work Cited 

  • McCloud, Scott. Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. Edited by Mark Martin, Tundra Publishing, 1993.
  • “Captain America: A WWII Fighting Force.” National D-Day Memorial, 27 Sept. 2017, www.dday.org/2017/10/19/captain-america-a-wwii-fighting-force/.
  • Dooley, Michael. “How Comic Books Influence Graphic Design.” Print Magazine, 5 Aug. 2011, www.printmag.com/design-education/comics-graphic-designers/.
  • “Roy Lichtenstein: MoMA.” The Museum of Modern Art, www.moma.org/artists/3542.
  • Rupert. “Using Comic Book Techniques in Graphic Design.” Red Back Design, 27 May 2018, redbackdesign.co.uk/using-comic-book-techniques-in-graphic-design/.
  • Carrier, David. The Aesthetics of Comics. The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000.


The Fusion of Culture and Modern Design-Kan Tai-Keung

The design has a direct connection with culture and culture exists as the value behind the design. About our textbooks; The New History of Graphic Design involves graphic designs with different cultural backgrounds. However, with the gradual development of modern design, the integration of culture has become essential. Behind the fusion represents the intention to achieve commonality in design, and at the same time has the functionality of the design. Only under the influence of traditional culture, the graphic design produced by developing design thinking and integrating with modern design can maximize the value of design. Many designers have not stopped thinking and are constantly trying to integrate their own culture into modern design, and Hong Kong, Chinese designer Kan Tai-Keung is among them.

Kan Tai-Keung, who was born in Guangdong in 1942, has been influenced by Chinese culture since childhood and is happy to show the charm of the culture he has received in his design. Kan Tai-Keung skillfully incorporated Chinese ink painting from elementary school into his design, and he refused to combine rigidly. He insisted on incorporating the spirit of a culture in the design rather than a simple shell.


-2008 Beijing Olympics (2006)

Perseverance in culture did not make Kan Tai-Keung’s design immutable. On the contrary, he always tried different design methods and adhered to the concept of modern design. He has always emphasized the combination of design and brand; and focused on visual communication with customers in design. Kan Tai-Keung insists on visually connecting the design to the brand positioning and presenting it to customers in a clear manner.

-Beijing International Logo Festival (2000)

Just as Kan Tai-Keung designed the posters for the Beijing International Logo Festival, he attached great importance to the functionality of poster design when combining culture and design. He clearly shows Chinese culture through concise graphics and colors. The overall design is visually simple and intuitive enough. The geometric figures in the poster represent the base of the logo design and accurately represent the theme of the trademark festival.

-“Chinese Characters” Series Poster

His design always has direct visual influence and can convey the inner spirit of culture at the same time instead of simple patterns. Ink paintings with Chinese culture are combined with modern design. The picture is visually concise and dynamic, yet it can reflect the peaceful spirit of Chinese culture. This is a good example of the combination of traditional culture and modern design.

A pattern cannot represent a culture. Only the fusion of the inner spirit of culture and the concept of modern design for visual function can realize the value of design.


Work Cited

“靳埭强-传统文化与现代设计融合的平面设计: 后时代.” 返回首页, www.houshidai.com/master/kan-tai-keung.html.

“Kan Tai-Keung.” Ideasondesign, ideasondesign.net/speakers/speakers/kan-tai-keung/.

“靳埭强:在任何时代创新都最重要: 平面: 专访: 设计师专访 – 原创文章 – 站酷 (ZCOOL).” 靳埭强:在任何时代创新都最重要|平面|专访|设计师专访 – 原创文章 – 站酷 (ZCOOL), www.zcool.com.cn/article/ZMTc5ODA0.html.

Batagoda, Muditha. “Impact of Culture in Modern Design Techniques.” Medium, UX Planet, 27 Jan. 2019, uxplanet.org/impact-of-culture-in-modern-design-techniques-1405d30663e3.

The Art Of Chinese Propaganda/ Posters in Cultural Revolution_Xinyi Mao

In the past five hundred years, Western culture has great influence on the world. Western culture has occupied an important position in world culture. In the past ten years, traditional Chinese culture has once again been valued by people, and various types of “Chinese elements” have been applied to modern graphic design. The design with traditional Chinese cultural elements has a unique charm of oriental culture and is a valuable asset of oriental culture. It can not be replaced by other art elements. It records down the long history of Chinese and spreads it for a long time. At the same time, it has gradually brought about a diversified design trend in international design and has a certain influence. Since ancient times, the West and China have a close relationship in visual culture.


Picture retrieved from: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/44hl41NY7Mb4Jx4tPJpzwty/seeing-red-the-propaganda-art-of-china-s-cultural-revolution

In 1920, The Russian Constructivists revolutionized the posters by using photo-montage and bold geometric form(Victoria and Albert Museum). This promoted the development and export of poster propaganda in World War I. Soon, this particular way spread around the world . It has affected the development and innovation of published art in many countries and regions. In 1930. China and other places have also been affected by this new style prints(Victoria and Albert Museum).


Picture retrieved from: www.sohu.com/a/161520035_772189.

In 1949, the Cultural Revolution broke out. This was an important proletarian revolutionary movement lead by the Chairman Mao Zedong in Chinese history (Sayej). The starting point is to against capitalism and to develop China’s own road to building Socialism (Sayej). However, his miscalculation of the political situation of the party and country caused a serious mistake. This revolution has brought important changes to China’s development. It is a memorable memory in Chinese history (Burgess). During the Cultural Revolution, many political thinkers and traditional artists were severely and cruelly criticized and restricted and even imprisoned by the people and the government (BBC Arts). At the same time, the government was trying to unify the people’s minds through new visual cultural communication methods (BBC Arts). One of the most representative of that period was the revolutionary poster propagandas. Propaganda posters belong to the category of posters and originate from posters and advertisements. However, unlike posters, the main purpose of posters is use for commercial, and the propaganda posters are mainly for political services. For example, celebrating worker labor, preaching soldiers, industrial progress, and praising Chairman Mao(BBC Arts). At that time, a large number of posters with Soviet socialist realism illustration style inspired poster propaganda were produced on a large scale. The purpose was for the government to try to sell ideology to the people, thereby indirectly achieving politicized control and silent violence (Sayej). Looking back on the history of the Chinese revolution, the posters played an important role in the revolutionary movement and war. Especially during the Cultural Revolution, the government pushed the production and dissemination of posters to the extreme. The role of publicity is even more irreplaceable. The Cultural Revolution posters recorded people’s profound memories for a period of time.


 Picture retrieved from: www.sohu.com/a/161520035_772189.

Work Cited

Burgess, Anika. “The Art of Chinese Propaganda Posters.” Atlas Obscura, 23 Feb. 2018, www.atlasobscura.com/articles/chinese-propaganda-posters-cultural-revolution-shaomin-li.

Brown, Evan Nicole. “These Vibrant Posters Track the Rise of China’s Economic Might.” Fast Company, Fast Company, 28 Feb. 2020, www.fastcompany.com/90469107/these-vibrant-posters-track-the-rise-of-chinas-economic-might.

“V&A · A Short History of the Poster.” Victoria and Albert Museum, www.vam.ac.uk/articles/a-short-history-of-the-poster.

Sayej, Nadja. “The Sleeping Giant: How Chinese Posters Pushed Products and Propaganda.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 26 Feb. 2020, www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2020/feb/26/the-sleeping-giant-how-chinese-posters-pushed-products-and-propaganda.

“Seeing Red: The Propaganda Art of China’s Cultural Revolution.” BBC Arts, BBC, www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/44hl41NY7Mb4Jx4tPJpzwty/seeing-red-the-propaganda-art-of-china-s-cultural-revolution.

“红色宣传画,一代人的记忆!.” 1 Aug. 2017, www.sohu.com/a/161520035_772189.



Graphic Designer to an MIT Faculty Member: Jacqueline Casey

Unknown, photo of Jacqueline Casey.
Unknown, photo of Jacqueline Casey.

Jacqueline Casey was an American graphic designer who created posters and other materials for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Her works infused American and Swiss elements in her designs, and displayed her exploration of abstraction, negative space, scale, and typography. She is also known for her word plays and visual metaphors. Many times, Casey expressed that her goal was to “stop anyone I can with an arresting or puzzling image, and entice the viewer to read the message in small type and above all to attend the exhibition” (Heller 279).

Casey was born on April 20, 1927 in Quincy, Massachusetts (MIT News). In 1949, she graduated from the Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, and received a bachelor’s degree in fine arts, concentrating in fashion design and illustration (Heller 279). Casey worked in fashion, advertising, and interior decorating before getting a job at MIT’s Office of Publications. In 1955, she was hired by Muriel Cooper (1925-1994), who was a design director and also an alumnus to the Massachusetts College of Art. Cooper had asked her to create promotions for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Summer Sessions) (Sherin). Alongside Cooper, Swiss designer Theresa Moll also worked with Casey and taught her the principles of design. As well, Moll introduced elements of Swiss design and became an influence to Casey (Sherin). Other Swiss designers that inspired Casey’s works were Karl Gerstner and Armin Hofmann (Eye Magazine).

Jacqueline Casey continued to produce posters and catalogs to promote MIT’s events, programs, lectures, and art exhibitions. In 1972, Casey took Cooper’s position as director of the Office of Publications after Cooper left to join the MIT faculty (Eye Magazine). Casey was one of the few leading women in the field, which were mostly of male colleagues. Not only was she outstanding as a female in a male-dominated world, she was anointed as a faculty member responsible for graphic design, in which MIT was one of the first American colleges to hire graphic designers as an instructing staff member (Heller 279).

Jacqueline Casey, “Russia, USA Peace”, 1985. Poster.
Fig 1. Jacqueline Casey, “Russia, USA Peace”, 1985. Poster. 

(Fig 1.) Casey distinguishes ‘USA’ in the word ‘RUSSIA” by using the colours red and white. In addition, there is an image of Earth in the background and the poster overall suggests the peace that the two countries strived for.

Jacqueline Casey worked for more than 30 years at MIT until she passed away on May 18, 1992 after a long battle with cancer. Her works are still showcased and some of her pieces are a part of permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Library of Congress in Washington (Sherin). Casey would be a useful contribution to Graphic Design: A New History as she was “an accelerator of change” (Heller 279) for both MIT and designers around the world. Through her works, Casey represented the experimental and future orientated aspect of MIT and popularized the Swiss elements and International type throughout the nation.


Works Cited:

“Designer Jacqueline Casey Dies at 65.” MIT News, 20 May 1992, https://news.mit.edu/1992/casey-0520.

Heller, Steven, and Greg D’Onofrio. The Moderns : Midcentury American Graphic Design, Abrams, 2017. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/oculocad-ebooks/detail.action?docID=5060765.

Sherin, Aaris. “Casey, Jacqueline.” Grove Art Online.  October 20, 2006. Oxford University Press. https://www-oxfordartonline-com.ocadu.idm.oclc.org/groveart/view/10.1093/gao/9781884446054.001.0001/oao-9781884446054-e-7002021558

“Woman at the Edge of Technology.” Eye Magazine, 2008, www.eyemagazine.com/feature/article/woman-at-the-edge-of-technology

Braille: Tactile Typography – Nicki Startek



Nicki Startek

Graphic design is a visual form of communication whether it’s a magazine ad, an online news article or sports logo, we interact with it using our vision. But graphic design isn’t just for the seeing, that would be like saying music isn’t for the hearing impaired. In fact, it is integral to those that are visually impaired. Designers have responsibility for communicating to all kinds of audiences and that means the inclusion of such individuals. One method of communication, braille, is a system of raised dots that can read by using the tips of your fingers or be read visually and it is used by designers for accessible communication. It is an essential form of tactile typography. Unfortunately Graphic Design: A New History doesn’t cover much on any aspect of accessible design. Information on the use of braille would greatly the textbook and bring readers a broader new look on inclusivity within graphic design.

Tactile sticker design for Netflix Accessibility, incorporating braille in the logo.
Tactile sticker design for Netflix Accessibility, incorporating braille in the logo.

In a highly digital communicative age, we can’t expect designers to consider braille if they aren’t aware of the history, the need and the possibilities of it. Designers are fully capable of working with braille, as it has always been a working typography for seeing and unseeing individuals (Conefrey).

Braille was designed in the early 1800s and was amplified by Louis Braille, who was blinded at an early age. He enrolled at the National Institute for the Blind in Paris, where he spent several years working on the braille system (History of Braille). Today his system still stands and assists many visually impaired in accessing books, music scores, paperwork, and even public signage.

Washroom sign with graphic, text and braille.
Washroom sign with graphic, text, and braille.

Working with braille has always been important on a graphic design level. For instance, a bathroom sign, we tend to only spare it a glance. For the visually impaired, communicating designated spaces (in this case a possible gender specification) is important. Braille is also a major part of public safety, as it is providing essential information to those who are unable to see a written warning, safety notice or hazard.

The word "love" is written in braille, the dots are substituted for heart shaped bumps.
Deon Staffelbach. The word “love” is written in braille, the dots are substituted for heart-shaped bumps.

Braille has also been a place for great exploration. Touch, like vision, can be interpreted in so many different ways. Alike other typography, designers have worked with new patternings and alphabet derivatives to change the messages and meanings. In one case, designer Deon Staffelbach, wrote the word “love” in braille but the dots were instead raised hearts providing a second level of information to both sighted and visually impaired individuals (Fontyou).

With this information considered, it would be hopeful that in the near future tactile typographies, like braille, will be discussed within graphic design history texts.

Works Cited

Conefrey, Ann M.  “Inclusive Tactile Graphic Design.” Braille Dots. May 19, 2019. https://brailledots.nl/en/projects/inclusive-tactile-graphic-design

Fontyou. “Braille and typography – past, present and future.” TNW. June 29, 2015. https://thenextweb.com/dd/2015/06/29/braille-and-typography-past-present-and-future/

“History of Braille.” Braille Works. 2020. https://brailleworks.com/braille-resources/history-of-braille/


Blog Post 2 – Trademarks


“In 1967 at the international exhibition organized by the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) he presented 23 trade marks, accentuating the logo of Petrol.” (Off of his biography website)

A graphic designer that could be featured in the new version of Graphic Design: A New History is Stefan Kanchev. Stefan Kanchev was a Bulgarian graphic designer who lived from 1915 to 2001. He is a very well-known graphic designer in Bulgaria and was especially known for his graphic work creating trademarks. I think he could be introduced in the textbook because I did not see very many Eastern European designers that were not predominately from the Russian constructivist period. Although there is an abundant amount of Western designers, I feel like his contributions to design were interesting.


Posters created for a gallery showing in Czech Republic.

In terms of what he has accomplished and worked on, Kanchev worked on folktale book covers, postcards, postage stamps, advertisements – you name it! He had participated in a lot of worldwide exhibitions and in many artist competitions for typography, trademarks, telegram forms, etc. He became a very individualistic artist and his work was very unique in his area, so he became quite well-known. As he is most known for his trademark work, I will be focusing on that for this blog post. The reason I believe he should be in the textbook is more to do with the type of content he made. I was not really familiar with Kanchev or his work until I started researching for this assignment. I have not really come across trademarks or a more in-depth look into them during my studies and they were quite interesting to read about. At first, the description of trademarks confused me as I figured that logos and trademarks were the same; however, the trademark is separate as in it is used as a way to protect logos, slogans, company names, all of those sorts of good legal stuff.

It was noted that he was producing trademarks one after another after another. He produced over 1000 trademarks and 650 stamps, along with the other work he was putting out. He was very hands on with his approach to work, everything trademark he created was drawn by hand and iterated many times to get to where he would like it. His work was very typographic, yet simple and well thought out. I believe that it is important as designers to see how other designers approached and discovered their direction for the type of career that they were developing. I definitely would have been interesting in learning more about logotypes and the whole trademark design aspect behind them. Although it would probably not cover the in depth business side, having a general understanding of what trademarks do and how they are created and applied could be something to be considered. Kanchev’s work is very compelling and his work being used as an example could open up to a lot more artists that are related to his realm of work from all around the world- not just the Western part of the globe.


Intellectual Property Office. “Trademarks Guide.” Canadian Intellectual Property Office, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, 14 June 2019, www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/cipointernet-internetopic.nsf/eng/h_wr02360.html.

Poststudio. “Stefan Kanchev Posters, Exhibition.” Behance, 25 May 2011, www.behance.net/gallery/1499021/Stefan-Kanchev-Posters-Exhibition.

“Stefan Kanchev.” Biography of Stefan Kanchev, Superhosting.BG, stefankanchev.com/en/biography.html.

What shape Canadian design to discover its visual identity-Qing Huang

The missing part of our textbook would be the golden age of graphic design in Canada, from the 1960s to 1970s. Some of the remarkable Canadian design still see today, such as the CN logo, TD logo, but these designs have been overlooked by most of us. We study European and American design today, but I think we should not forget Canadian designs and the designers behind them. As a student who lives in Canada and studies design here, I knew very limited about the history of graphic design in Canada before writing this blog post until I was inspired by a documentary called Design Canada. One of the designers Burton Kramer who appears in the documentary said: “If I went into a bookstore that specializes in the design and I looked for Canadian design work, I wouldn’t find anything.” So why not put Canadian graphic design history in our textbook?

The most significant work I want to talk about first is the CN logo (see fig.1). Even when I look back today, I still fell its power and modernism. The full name of CN is Canadian National Railway, with its headquarters in Montreal, Quebec. Rail lines run across Canada and the Midwest and southern of the U.S. According to an article, “CN logo evolution,” Airey claims that the CN logo has been changed many times. In 1959, this company examined Canadians’ attitudes toward them, and as a result, people thought that CN was an old organization against innovation, which was against the goal of the company. To change people’s perceptions, Dick Wright, head of public relations at the time, decided to redesign the CN logo and the entire visual image. Then this task was delegated to the young Canadian well know graphic designer Allan Fleming (see fig.2). After countless sketches, he got inspired on a plane to New York, and quickly mark his idea on a cocktail napkin. His concept was removing “R,” combine the “C” and “N” in a consonant way with a strong thickness line. The continuous flowing line stood for “the movement of people, materials, and messages from one point to another,” Fleming said (Airey, 2015).


Fig.1. CN logo


Fig.2. “Allan Fleming: Executive Art Director At Maclarens Advertising Co..” Yorkspace.Library.Yorku.Ca, 1964, https://yorkspace.library.yorku.ca/xmlui/bitstream/handle/10315/4384/ASC04740.jpg?sequence=1&isAllowed=y. Accessed 30 Mar 2020.

For me, the design is bold and straightforward, and the fluidity of the letters brings out its vitality. Throughout the development of the CN logo, I saw progress and the symbolic image that representation was tightly integrated with Canadian characteristics. Interestingly, he no longer used maple leaves or any well-known element to represent Canada, but this simple and elegant logo is a symbol of eternity. He won numerous awards in his career and inspired many creators in design applications across the country (“LOGOS + GRAPHIC DESIGNERS | Allan Fleming: Tracing the Evolution of The CN Logo: 50Th Anniversary 1960 – 2010”). He is known as the most talented Canadian designer. It is worthy of being included in our textbook.

Another designer I want to point out that is Hans Kleefeld (see fig.3), who created the most Canadians recognizable images such as logo for Air Canada, Tim Horton, Toronto zoo and TD Bank (see fig.4). To me, he is an excellent role model of who applied European ideas to produce Canadian corporate icon. In an article In Memory of a Friend: Hans Kleefeld (1929-2016), Donnelly suggests that Kleefeld not only designed logos that can be regarded as landmarks for famous Canadian companies but also made outstanding contributions to the design education. He had taught for many years at OCAD University and Sheridan college and is deeply respected and admired by colleagues and students. (Donnelly, 2016)His design spirits should continue to spread. This pioneer of Canadian design is worth to remember. His work is full of modern concepts, and he committed to building a logically consistent graphical practice. His focus is on the development of designing the entire field as a discipline.


Fig 3 Courtesy: Hans Kleefeld


Fig. 4 Hans Kleefeld’s logos (1929-2016)

I think I am lucky to learn about these masters and the concepts behind the stories through some resources and the documentary I mentioned earlier. These symbolic designs exist around us. When I reached more about their stories, I am surprised that the Canadian logo has such a rich and glorious history. As CBC arts said, “It’s the untold story of the images that shaped Canada’s identity, and it’s not just for design nerds.” So I hope that this history can be understood by more people, which is why I think these designs and designers should be selected in our textbook.

Works Cited

“LOGOS + GRAPHIC DESIGNERS | Allan Fleming:: Tracing The Evolution Of The CN Logo ::: 50Th Anniversary 1960 – 2010”. Designkultur, 2010, https://designkultur.wordpress.com/2010/07/21/logos-graphic-artists-allan-fleming-tracing-the-evolution-of-the-cn-logo-50th-anniversary-1960-2010/.

Airey, David. “CN Logo Evolution (Canadian National Rail) | Logo Design Love.” Logo Design Love, 2015, https://www.logodesignlove.com/cn-logo-evolution. Accessed 30 Mar 2020.

Donnelly, Brian. “In Memory Of A Friend: Hans Kleefeld (1929-2016) – Sheridan | Curiosities”. Sheridan | Curiosities, 2016, https://curiosities.sheridancollege.ca/in-memory-of-a-friend-hans-kleefeld-1929-2016/. Accessed 30 Mar 2020.

Durrell, Greg. Design Canada – English Version. 2018, https://ocadu.kanopy.com/video/design-canada. Accessed 30 Mar 2020.


Born to Break the Barriers – KASHIWA SATO and His Cross-border Design_ by Yunfangzhou Tan (Blog Post 2)


Born to Break the Barriers – KASHIWA SATO and His Cross-border Design


VISD2006-01 Graphic Design Hist-20th Cent 

Blog Post 2 – Who or what is missing from our textbook?

By Yunfangzhou Tan (# 3166753)


I clearly remember, last summer, while I was walking on the busy, crowded streets in Tokyo on my own, buildings in neon flesh lights mixed with traffic lights were everywhere around me. The convenient stores and clothes shops can be seen frequently on the streets in Japan. Remarkably, UNIQLO and 7-11 (Seven-Eleven) are respectively the world wide brands of groceries and casual wear in Japan, where places designed for young people. Customers usually recognize the logos or the icons of these kinds of stores and then walk in. So as the highly-recognizable icons of UNIQLO and 7-11 that are designed by Kashiwa Sato.


UNIQLO Logo, 2006.



7-11 Logo
7-11 (Seven-Eleven) Logo Rebranded, 2010.


Who is KASHIWA SATO? “Born in Tokyo in 1965. Graduated from the Department of Graphic Design, Faculty of Art and Design of Tama Art University. Spent 11 years at Hakuhodo and established his own creative studio, SAMURAI, in Japan in 2000. Kashiwa Sato, one of the world’s leading creative directors, delivers a fresh perspective of design to the world. From concept and communication strategy building to developing brand logos, Kashiwa’s ability as a brand architect to identity, elucidate, and visualize the essence of the subject is highly acclaimed in number of fields” (KASHIWA SATO – CREATIVE DIRECTOR).[1] “In a globalized market awash in digital information, Sato has honed an approach he calls ‘iconic branding.’ The idea is to identify a core message and design an icon-a potent anchor image or symbol-to convey that message succinctly and instantaneously across linguistic and cultural barriers” (Yumi, “Creative Director Satō Kashiwa: An Eye for the Iconic”).[5]


Kashiwa Sato Himself


“Logos can function as icons, of course, but so can products, buildings, and even architectural spaces. So, what makes any of these things an icon?” (Yumi, “Creative Director Satō Kashiwa: An Eye for the Iconic”).[5]


Kashiwa Sato took charge of all global branding communication activities for UNIQLO, a global leading fashion brand from Tokyo, starting with the opening of the flagship store in 2006, ‘UNIQLO SOHO NEW YORK.’ to realize the unique creative and design foundation of UNIQLO, he established the core brand” (KASHIWA SATO – CREATIVE DIRECTOR)[1]like GAP and H&M were making big gains globally” (Yumi, “Creative Director Satō Kashiwa: An Eye for the Iconic”).[5]


UNIQLO Design 1
UNIQLO Design 1, 2006.


UNIQLO Design 2
UNIQLO Design 2, 2006.


UNIQLO Design 3
UNIQLO Design 3, 2006.


UNIQLO Shopping Bag Sample
UNIQLO Shopping Bag Sample, 2006.


UNIQLO Poster Ad
UNIQLO Poster Ad., 2006.


UNIQULO World Wide
UNIQLO World Wide, 2006.


UNIQLO In Shanghai
UNIQLO In Shanghai 1.


UNIQLO In Shanghai 2
UNIQLO In Shanghai 2.


UNIQLO In NY, 2006.


UNIQLO in Paris
UNIQLO In Paris, 2006.


“In Sato’s minimalist approach to complex ideas, he draws inspiration from Japanese culture and traditions. When the head of UNIQLO asked him to design a logo for the business, Sato chose red and white, which he said instantly identifies UNIQLO as Japanese because it is reminiscent of the country’s flag” (Horn, “’A Strong Identity Is an Icon’ Says the Designer behind the Uniqlo Logo”). [2] “He then felt intuitively that katakana characters would work best as the key visual. He was after a kind of ‘exquisite intuitively’ that would elicit a double take from Japanese and foreign consumers alike. The fact that it ended up working just as envisioned on busy streets in cities around the world gave Sato confidence a boost. It proved that you could control a brand’s image very precisely through visual signals like font and color. For him, that experience was a powerful demonstration of the power of icons” (Yumi, “Creative Director Satō Kashiwa: An Eye for the Iconic”).[5] “‘super rationality with aesthetic consciousness,’ which summarizes UNIQLO’s value proposition to the world: high-quality products at affordable prices” (Williams, “Kashiwa Sato: Branding Is Limited by Tradition & Common Sense”). [4]


UT (T-shirt) Logo Of UNIQLO.
UT(T-shirt) Logo Of UNIQLO, 2006.


UNIQLO Products (Pantiess)
UNIQLO UT(T-shirt) Cans Packages, 2006.


UNIQLO UT(T-shirt) Store 1, 2006.


UNIQLO Store 2, 2006.


UNIQLO Store 3, 2006.


“It has been 40 years since 7-11 (Seven-Eleven) Japan was established. Kashiwa Sato built a design strategy with a focus on its private brand for the purpose of re-branding this global convenience store chain in 2010. Kashiwa repositioned Seven-Eleven Japan’s private brand, which was in its third year, not by the position of private” (KASHIWA SATO – CREATIVE DIRECTOR).[1]It’s the same approach he’s used for other high-profile clients like UNIQLO and NTT Docomo but the essence is to identify a core message and then design an icon that conveys that message across barriers” (Johnny, “Kashiwa Sato’s Rebranding for 7-Eleven Japan”).[3]


7-11 Porducts Overview
7-11 Rebranded Products Design Overview, 2010.


7-11 Porduct Packages (Sandwich)
7-11 Rebranded Product Packages (Sandwich), 2010.


7-11 Porduct Packages (Snacks)
7-11 Rebranded Product Packages (Snacks), 2010.


7-11 Porduct Packages (Drinks)
7-11 Rebranded Product Packages (Drinks), 2010.


7-11 Porduct Packages (Nuts)
7-11 Rebranded Product Packages (Nuts), 2010.


7-11 Porduct Packages (Salty Fish Onigiri)
7-11 Rebranded Product Package (Salty Fish Onigiri), 2010.


7-11 Cafe
7-11 Café Rebranded, 2010.


7-11 Porduct Package (Laundry Detergent)
7-11 Rebranded Product Packages (Laundry Detergent), 2010.


“‘I see everything through icons and iconic branding,’ Sato once said. And as he continues to create more instantly recognizable logos, most of the world will be seeing more of him” (Horn, “’A Strong Identity Is an Icon’ Says the Designer behind the Uniqlo Logo”). [2]


# Other Designs & Books by Kashiwa Sato:


SMAP Illustration
SMAP Illustration, 2000.


SMAP Vending Machines
SMAP Vending Machines, 2000.


Kirin Beer Poster
Kirin Gokunama Beer Series Poster, 2002 – 2005.


Kirin Beer Products
Kirin Gokunama Beer Series Cans Packages, 2002 – 2005.


Cupnoodles Museum Logo
Cupnoodles Museum Logo, 2011.


Cupnoodles Museum, Architecture
Cupnoodles Museum – Architecture In Yokohama, 2011.


The Nippon Foundation Logo
The Nippon Foundation Logo, 2012.


KASHIWA SATO'S Ultimate Method for Reaching the Essentials - Book 1, September 2007
KASHIWA SATO’S Ultimate Method for Reaching the Essentials – Book 1, Published in September, 2007.


BEYOND: KASHIWA SATO - Book 1, 2004 November
BEYOND: KASHIWA SATO – Book 1, Published in November, 2004.



Works Cited


Horn, Robert. “’A Strong Identity Is an Icon’ Says the Designer behind the Uniqlo Logo.” NATIONAL DESIGN CENTRE, 7 Mar. 2018, www.designsingapore.org/modules/design-news/a-strong-identity-is-an-icon-says-the-designer-behind-the-uniqlo-logo.html.[2]

Johnny. “Kashiwa Sato’s Rebranding for 7-Eleven Japan.” Spoon & Tamago, 18 June 2018, www.spoon-tamago.com/2018/06/18/kashiwa-satos-rebranding-for-7-eleven-japan/.[3]

Williams, Sarah. “Kashiwa Sato: Branding Is Limited by Tradition & Common Sense.” 816 NEW YORK816nyc.com/kashiwa-sato-brand-limited-common-sense/#.Xn7zG4hKiUk.[4]

Yumi, Kiyono. “Creative Director Satō Kashiwa: An Eye for the Iconic.” Nippon.com, 17 Mar. 2017, www.nippon.com/en/people/e00109/creative-director-sato-kashiwa-an-eye-for-the-iconic.html.[5]