Tadanori Yokoo

The graphic designer chosen for my magazine layout project was Tadanori Yokoo. Tadanori Yokoo was born in Hyogo Prefecture in 1936 and has been one of the most important Japanese Graphic Designers since 1956. His biggest influences are Milton Glaser, Seymour Chwast, Akira Kurosawa and Yukio Mishima which can be seen since the beginning of his career as a stage designer in Tokyo.

Tadanori developed an interest in mysticism and psychedelia in the late 1960s, leading him to travel to India. This interest lead to the creation of  his unique style of combining pop culture with psychedelic characteristics, creating a complex and multi-layered image proving Tadanori’s originality in the graphic design field. He achieved international recognition in the late 1960s and was included in the 1968 “Word &Image” exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Four years succeeding the exhibition, Tadanori had a solo exhibition of his graphic work at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Tadanori is also known for his extensive collaboration with Shuji Terayama and his theatre Tenjo Sajiki and he also was a protagonist in Nagisa Oshima’s film ” Diary of a Shinjuku Thief”. He retired from commercial work and started painting in 1981, but despite moving to painting he still remains fully engaged and prolific as a graphic designer. Tadanori Yokoo, as a painter, continues to this day to have numerous exhibitions of his paintings every year.


Massimo Vignelli

The New York City Subway Diagram 2008

Massimo Vignelli is a modernist designer born in Milan in 1931. He works with basic geometric forms and focuses on simplicity. He studied architecture in Milan and visited the United States on fellowships from 1957 to 1960. In 1966 he returned to New York to start a branch of one of the world’s largest design firms, Unimark International. With this branch he worked on many famous designs such as American Airlines as well as the signage for the New York City Subway system. His work ranges from a wide variety such as interior design, package design, furniture design, graphic design and product design. In January 2009, Vignelli released the e-book “The Vignelli Canon” which is available to download for free. In the introduction he wrote, “I thought that it might be useful to pass some of my professional knowledge around, with the hope of improving [young designers’] design skills. Creativity needs the support of knowledge to be able to perform at its best.”

Josef Muller-Brockmann

The subject I chose for our second project on graphic designers is Josef Muller-Brockmann.  Josef Muller-Brockmann is a world-renown Swiss graphic designer and teacher, recognized for his simple use of designs, clean typography, and precise use of  grid systems.  He is referred to as the “master of typography”, extensively using the typeface, Helvetica.  The majority of his works were concert posters.

In my magazine, I plan to reflect his work and style, in a way to introduce the audience to the artist through an emergence of his style and my personal taste.

David Carson

Ray Gun Magazine Cover by David Carson
David Carson is a well known American graphic designer.  He is best known for his magazine covers and crazy typography.  He discovered the grunge era of graphic design.  He was know as the “Father of Grunge.”  Carson was the art director of the Ray Gun magazine.  He got a lot of recognition for his playful typography.  It was unique, and many other graphic designers say he did not follow the rules of typography, but he pulled it off.  Among other things he was also a professional surfer, 9th best in the world.  He then was asked to design for a surfing magazine called Beach Culture.  Carson has done work for Pepsi, Nike, Budweiser, NBC, American Airlines, Levi, Georgi Armani, and Warner Bothers, just to name a few.  Carson took photography and typography and twisted them together, to what may look like a confusing mess, but in reality this is what has captured viewers and made them enjoy his work.

Charles and Ray Eames

Charles and Ray Eames were American designers, married in 1941, who worked and made major contributions in many fields of design including industrial design, furniture design, art, graphic design, film and architecture.  The Eameses pioneered innovative technologies, such as the fiberglass, plastic resin chairs and the wire mesh chairs. Short films produced by the couple often document their interests in collecting toys and cultural artifacts on their travels.

My personal favorite design by the Eameses is the plywood elephant chair.  Charles and Ray Eames were fascinated by elephants. Many images of elephants are found in Charles’ photographic documentations of Indian culture and the circus world. The Plywood Elephant was designed in 1945 as a toy for children, but also as a striking sculptural object.

Ira Schnapp

Action #1

Action Comics #1, illustration by Joe Shuster, logo design by Ira Schnapp

Ira Schnapp is a little-known designer with a long career in the comic book industry.  He is responsible for the logo of Action Comics, seen above, which has been in use for 72 years.  He also created the most well-known title lettering for the Superman comic book and dozens of other titles for DC Comics, including The Flash, Green Lantern, The Atom, Hawkman, and the Justice League of America.  As comics are such a visual medium it is impossible to articulate the importance of an eye-catching cover logo that represents the story qualities to potential buyers, primarily children who would almost entirely have no real notion of the design process and would be reacting viscerally.  Ira Schnapp was not the illustrator, story writer or editor of any of the titles his meticulous work was featured on, but he was a vital and unheralded ingredient of this medium and genre, a format of entertainment as American as jazz.

This is a fabric design by Charles and Ray Eames. They were modern artists of the 1940s who specialized in architectural, fabric, graphic and furniture design. Many of the contemporary designs they made popular are still used today. One of their greatest achievements was the Eames Case Study House. Designed completely by Charles and Ray Eames it was part of a series of houses built to show that style and design could be combined with functionality. Every wall, piece of furniture and artwork was designed by the Eames’. The house was built from pre-fabricated steel intended for industrial design and is considered a milestone of modern architecture.