Slanted’s 22nd issue is out now.

The theme of the issue is “Art Type” – exploring typography at the edge of art, or art at the edge of typography.

I wrote an essay about Jiwon Lee, an amazing Korean graphic/type designer, design writer, design critic and design educator working in Seoul.

Also in this issue is the first piece of writing in a while from CalArts faculty, type designer, and essayist Mr. Keedy. I am really excited to read what he has written for this issue of Slanted.

Graphic designer and CalArts faculty Michael Worthington is interviewed within.

As is CalArts retired faculty and exit-level designer Ed Fella.

I am excited about this issue as it highlights the work and writing of some of my immediate influences from graduate school and professional practice. Lee, Keedy, Worthington, and Fella have all contributed greatly to how I work, how I think about work, how I write, and how I practice. It’s excellent to be in such great company.


Japanese Modernism exhibition by Ian Lynam

While at VCFA in October, I curated a micro-exhibition of books and printed ephemera that charted the development of Japanese Modernist Graphic Design called Japanese Modernism Unearthed that accompanied my lecture The Winners and Losers of History: The Emergence of Graphic Design in Japan.

This tabletop exhibition was a project in providing a tactile analogue to a lecture, allowing students to handle the materials (without gloves!) and to make observations about the material discussed outside of how it was editorially framed in the lecture.

The media included:

Elementary English Course
W.E.L. Sweet
This 1910 book was printed by Japan’s first type foundry, and is an example of the high quality of typography provided by the Tsukiji Type Foundry, the brainchild of Shōzō Motoki. Shōzō developed Japan’s first sustainable system of moveable type technology for printing (and Japan’s first typography school) in 1869, with the assistance of the Irish American missionary William Gamble in Nagasaki.

Matsumoto Takashi
A geometry text book with a stunning two-color title page circa 1926. This book is proof that Japanese graphic designers and typographers had a thorough early understanding of Classical title page composition and localized the form with exceeding results.

高等小學 毛筆畫手本 男生用 第三學年 / Koutou Shougaku Mouhitsuga Tehon Dansei You Dai san Gakunen
文部省 (Ministry of Education)
A lovely annotated manual of illustration which shows the rigor expected of budding illustrators in 1905. Some images are traced and others are broken into perspective grids by the previous owner, most likely a boy aged 10 to 14.

寳塚 少女歌劇脚本集 / Takarazuka Revue Playbook
宝塚歌劇団 (Takarazuka Revue)
A look at the “Moga” / Modern Girl aesthetic from a 1932 magazine for the famous Takurazaka Revue and Theater School in Hyōgo Prefecture, noted for it’s all-female casts women of that time. The Playbook features unique lettering throughout, images of women and women’s fashion from that era of feminization in Japan, and a beautiful, if off-kilter cover illustration.

テァトロ / La Teatro
An immediate post-World War II theater magazine published in Tokyo that shows the vertical orthographic form that Japanese typesetting took in 1948. Wonderful cover lettering that shows the post-War turn toward showcard-influenced lettering.

現代商業美術全集 / The Complete Commercial Artist
Sugiura Hisui, editor
Published from 1927 to 1930, this was one of Japan’s most important graphic design publication at that time, providing commercial art and design in all its forms from both Japan and the world. Foreign and domestic application of design trends and theories were catalogued within. One cannot fathom how important this journal was to Japanese graphic designers, as it brought the world to their local bookshop.

中學圖畫 / Art Text for Middle School
美育振興會 (Government Publishing House)
Chugaku Zuga is a fine art textbook from 1931. It is notable for its last page, introducing lettering and commercial art to students via lavish bilingual lettering.

三河國 國寶社噐械製絲
Mikawa Silk Manufacturing
A label for a package of raw silk from approximately 1890. The silk was manufactured in Mikawa no Kuni (Mikawa Province)—a now-defunct area that comprises the eastern half of Aichi prefecture.

伊呂波引紋帳大全 / Irohahikimonchoudaizen
Wada Shōzō
1885 manual of “kamon” / 家紋, traditional family crests, acceptable ornament, and usual application to Japanese clothing of that time.

洋酒まめ天国 / A piece of liquor heaven
Yanagihara Ryohei, editor, designer
Suntory’s house ‘style guide’ for the swinging gentleman of the mid-to-late 1950s and 1960s. Yoshu Mame Tengoku featured sexploitative illustrative covers by Yanagihara himself, as well as racy nude photography and explicit sexual illustration (with j-u-s-t the right amount of detail left out to not enrage censors) by Yokoo Tadanori to illustrate the bawdy tales within.

横尾忠則 / The Complete Yokoo Tadanori
横尾忠則 / Yokoo Tadanori, editor, designer
A collection of Yokoo’s work up until 1978, immediately prior to his near-death experience and decision to stop producing graphic design for much of the 1980s. This book is notable because it was edited and designed by Yokoo himself and bears traces of the darkness, vanity and egoism that permeates so much of his work. It is a beautifully, lovingly designed book and an amazing work that sums up the best of Yokoo’s career from the mid 1960s.

商業デザイン全集 / The World’s Commercial Art
Aai Sen, Hara Hiromu, Hijikata Teiichi, Imatake Shichiro, Katsumi Masaru, Kamekura Yusaku, Kono Takashi, Koike Shinji, Takiguchi Shuzo, Yamana Ayao; editorial board
Within Shogyo Design Zenshu, foreign work and domestic Japanese design work were placed side-by-side, creating a literal in-step reference for how Japanese design fit into the global continuum. This is a collection of the first four issues from 1952 through 1954, published in 1955.

造型思考ノート / (literally, Notes on Making and Looking) / Thinking Eye
Awazu Kiyoshi
This 1974 book is a loose design theory book by Modern master Awazu Kiyoshi, one of the founders of the Metabolist movement of graphic design and architecture—a post-war Japanese architectural movement that fused ideas about architectural megastructures with those of organic biological growth. Awazu is notable for his persistent leftist/Labor-oriented political leanings throughout his career.

カメラ / Camera #7
A notable 1939 photography magazine that exhorted readers to investigate both photojournalism and Moholy-Nagy-style “typo-photo”. Camera is notable for its display lettering in advertisements and “slice of life” examinations of the upper class following the explosion of photography as a leisure pursuit in Japan.

のらくろ伍長 / Corporal Norakuro
Takamizawa Michinao
Literally “Corporal Blackie the Stray Dog”, Norakuro is the tale of an amiable, aloof and earnest stray dog who attempts to pitch in to support his country by joining the Fierce Dogs Brigade, a stand-in for the Japanese Army. This lavishly designed 1969 reprint of a 1933 volume. Norakuro’s creator, Takamizawa Michinao, was a member of the revolutionary avant garde art/design/architecture group MAVO in the early 1920s, a little-discussed link between proletarian graphic design and the then-nascent form of manga. Interestingly, despite widespread appeal and the nationalistic message the manga conveys, Norakuro’s production was forcibly ceased in 1941, immediately pre-war, due to it’s message being “frivolous” by the Press Unit of the Army of Japan. The importance of this manga cannot be understated, as it was the main influence on Tezuka Osamu, “The Father of Manga”, in his childhood, and what pushed him to be a manga cartoonist.


We just had two more amazing lectures in my design class at Temple University Japan to round out the Visual Playlist theme for the class this semester.

Cameron McKean, editor of Too Much Magazine, lectured on utopian/dystopian communities and architecture, the rise of Brutalism in Graphic Design and Architecture, and the development of contemporary design aesthetics.

It was a rousing lecture that touched on Father Yod, 032c, Purple, cults, and so much more.

Noel Callan of TUJ/Debt Maggots/Anti-Whales gave a rousing lecture on the intersection of Phenomenology and Graphic Design through music packaging and the sensory pitfalls of Big Data.

Noel’s amazing presentation included this gem of a quotable, “In our lives, our experience of ourselves is more akin to a song than to an image”, echoing Husserl’s ideas of ‘now’ being comprised of the present, as well as memory and the assumed future.

An immense round of thanks to Cameron, Noel and Taro Nettleton for presenting amazing lectures to the class – it made for a really unique semester for myself and the students!


Wit and Design

An extensive range of our work is featured in the new book Wit and Design by GooRyong Kang, published by G Colon in Korea.

GooRyong Kang's Wit and Design

The book also features a lengthy interview with me, and a handsomely shot portrait photo by Mr. Patrick Tsai. I should note, the book is all in Korean, and in case you weren’t sure, my name in Korean transliterates to 이안 라이넘.


World Atlas of StreetArt and Graffiti

I wrote an essay about Tokyo graffiti in the new book, The World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti, published by Quarto and Yale University Press.


제14회 국민대학교 조형전, 조형콘퍼런스 'IM' 페이지입니다.

I will be speaking at the 14th Chohyung Exhibition and Conference (제14회 국민대학교 조형전, 조형콘퍼런스 ‘IM’ 페이지입니다) in Seoul on November 8th and 9th. I will be speaking about Timelessness versus Timeliness in Graphic Design for one lecture, and about the Emergence of Japanese Graphic Design for the second. If you are in Seoul, please do come join us!

Other speakers include Mr. Keedy from CalArts, Chris Ro from Kookmin and Hongik Universities, and many other academics and designers across multiple media from the U.S., Japan, Korea, and elsewhere!

More on Facebook.

제14회 국민대학교 조형전, 조형콘퍼런스 ‘IM’ 페이지입니다.
The 14th Chohyung Exhibition and Conference
전시 : 11월 8일~17일

The official description:
전시: 11월 8일~17일
콘퍼런스: 11월 8일~10일
국민대학교 조형대학

Exhibition: Friday, November 8th – Sunday November 17th
Conference: Friday, November 8th – Sunday November 10th
College of Design, Kookmin University

국민대학교 조형전, 조형콘퍼런스는 우리 시대의 디자인과 디자인 교육을 얘기하고자 합니다. 이성적이면서 직관적인, 전문적이지만 모두가 공유하는, 눈에 띄지 않지만 어디에나 존재하는 디자인을 끌어내어 얘기하고자 합니다. 문화와 산업에 긴밀하게 얽힌 사회활동으로서의 디자인은 어떤 개인이나 집단의 독단적인 생각으로 형성될 수 없습니다. 디자인에 대해 말하고자 한다면 먼저 주변과 동료를 진지하게 살피는 것이 우선입니다. 그래서 우리는 조형전, 조형콘퍼런스를 주목해야 합니다. 이곳에 모이는 국내외 디자이너, 교육자, 비평가, 학생은 서로를 바라보고 얘기함으로써 현재 디자인 사회의 모습을 나눌 것입니다. 한국 디자인 사회의 가장 생생한 현장을 목격하세요.

We are here to share ideas about design and design education of our time at the Chohyung Exhibition and Conference. We are to share a discourse about our area which is logical and intuitive, professional and public, transparent and omnipresent. Design as a social study and activity cannot be built by a dogmatic idea by individuals. To truly understand this area, we must look around our colleagues. Come and join this pleasant event in Kookmin University, Seoul. Witness the most vivid moment of our peer community.

Nodai Lab

On an unrelated note, we have been busy extending the identity for Tokyo NODAI‘s (National University of Agriculture) Center for International Japanese Garden Studies’ assorted departments and research initiatives.


TUJ Graphic Design Glow Spatial Hierarchy project

We tried a new project the other day in my Graphic Design 2 class at Temple University Japan, and I’m excited about the process and results.

Computer Imaging II at TUJ

I asked the students to create geometric form using glow-in-the-dark iron-on material and then apply the material to black tee shirts.

TUJ Glow

We then put on our tee shirts and examined different spatial hierarchies by composing ourselves as the design elements in the windowless 3D design studio with the lights off.

Each class member took a turn directing, and once a composition was created (in essence, designed and choreographed), it was documented by the directing individual using a digital camera with a wide aperture and slow shutter speed.

In general, it was a really fun experiential group project that allowed each student to design without using the computer while still using fairly complex form.


VCFA Thesis Show

The inaugural graduating class of the VCFA MFA Graphic Design program will be exhibiting their Thesis Show from October 14-19 at VCFA.
It’s a really exciting thing—to work with these amazing folks. I’m really proud of each and every one of them. Each has sweated blood to bring his or her thesis to life, and I am amped to be with them during their thesis presentations and to be with them as they graduate.
See more:


An expanded version of my essay “Japanese Graphic Design: Not in Production” was just published over at Modes of Criticism.


Ian Lynam X D. V. D'Andrea

A new poster for the Fall Into Darkness festival in Portland featuring Nik Turner’s Space Ritual (ex-Hawkwind) and many others. The poster is a collaboration with David D’Andrea, my old rooomate and good friend. Borne out of a mutual love for the work of Hawkwind designer Barney Bubbles, we dreamed up this collaboration, screened in multiple colors on black paper in homage to the late, ever-great Mr. Colin Fulcher.