The 1st Yusaku Kamekura Design Award Ikko Tanaka

Awards-winning work: Poster series “Salvatore Ferragamo: The Art of the  Shoe” and other works included in Graphic Design in Japan 1999

Message from the awardee

The “Yusaku Kamekura Design Award” is given to the graphic designer who has been most active in the field and created the most outstanding works of the past year. For any person, in any profession and at any age, there could be no greater joy and honor than to receive recognition for his or her current works.
Frankly, however, I wonder if I am fit to win this award. One factor is my age. Designer are often said to be “ageless,” and I would tend to agree. But even if a person maintains fresh artistic sensitivity and continues to improve his technical skills, he remains a product of his years. Some awards are granted for past achievements, others as encouragement to future potential. I hope the Yusaku Kamekura Design Award fits the latter description.
The selection process began with the singling out of roughly a dozen especially outstanding works among all entries submitted for inclusion in Graphic Design in Japan. In the event, most of the best works were those created by the members of the jury themselves. This result is probably inevitable in the realm of design since judge are usually chosen from among the most vibrant designers of the day. In order to avoid “cronyism,” inject greater objectivity into the judging process and ensure the award’s universal acceptance, three guest judge, all well-versed in design in design, were invited to join the panel.
Only a few months before he passed away, I had dinner with Mr. Kamekura. He spoke enthusiastically of the need for graphic designers, both in Japan and abroad, to expand their horizons beyond graphics alone. This stance was implemented quite clearly in Creation, the magazine which he edited so passionately in his later years. In the future the award in his name should be given in consideration of three points: growth potential, transcendence beyond any segmented scope, and global perspective. Perhaps I should add one more criterion: conscious sensitivity to the problems besetting the times.

Ikko Tanaka

Ikko Tanaka

Born in Nara Prefecture in 1930. Graduated from Kyoto City College of Fine Arts in 1950. After tenure at Nippon Design Center, established his own design office in 1963. Major activities between October 1997 and September 1998 include: solo exhibitions in Milan (“Tanaka Ikko: La Grafica del Giappone”) and Toyama (“Ikko Tanaka: Tradition and Contemporary Design”); participation in “Le Siècle du Design; Art-Info: présent et futur” in Paris and Osaka; and graphic art direction for “A Centennial Exhibition; Salvatore Ferragamo: The Art of the Shoe” in Tokyo.
Passed away in January 2002.

Book containing the design: Graphic Design in Japan 1999