It is believed that the very origins of Japanese Logo design is rooted within family crests, shop signs and the seals of porcelain makers and shippers. Moreover, it is further suggested that from as early as the 13th Century onward Samurai families would adopt the use of a crest on their flag as a means to identify other families displaying their crests during battle. But you can read more about it in Counter-Prints, ‘Logo’s from Japan‘ which I will be breaking down into a comprehensive review, and for all intensive purposes how it both reads and feels a book. In a nutshell, it acts as a visual study and documentation of notable identities from across the heart of Japan, exploring a diversity of contextual examples throughout, ‘Architecture, Abstract, Human, Natural, Hiragana, Katakana, Kanji, Latin and Animal’. Epitomising Japanese Graphic Design by its very birth right, to be authentic and timeless. Conspiring with its roots, whilst re-defining the contemporary design culture it currently occupies.
01 — Content
Predominately as a reading experience, it is driven by its multitude of imagery and indexed references to see to it that each and every contributor is credited and conveniently accessible via their respective website address. Furthermore, black dividers break down the spreads into sections, allowing for each beautiful piece of design to breath in its own space; and if you’re all about meticulous page styles, this is a must! In addition, the typography looks at the use of a neo-grotesque sans serif to compliment the exquisitely formatted copy, whilst adopting a medium contrast roman typeface for the main page section breakers. Thus capturing the transition between traditional and modern design, and clearly indicating where a new section in the book begins. So you’ll be sure to filter through your favourite selections with precise efficiency, and a visually captivating experience.
02 — Feel
Physically, the book boasts a glorious 147 pages confined within a strong softbound jacket (but please be careful when putting your book away!). Furthermore, at a size of 145x210mm, it is a convenient companion for any morning commute for a fresh dose of creative inspiration that doesn’t involve caffeine. The paper stocks vary, but are limited to a matte finish stock of around 120/150 gsm that restores a more naturalistic feel to the book, complimenting the array of visual content. Whilst, dialling back to the jacket looks at a much thicker spot finished print on a glossy stock, and if it’s just me that’s noticing a pattern, it’s that it really has considered a traditional / modern contrast to accompany the book throughout; which lends itself once more to the reading experience.
03 — Summary
In summary, buy this book. It doesn’t ask for much at £9.50 and offers a ridiculously large helping of visual inspiration hand-picked by the wonderful team themselves. Whilst giving a detailed glimpse at the history that surrounds Japanese design culture. With credit to Jon Dowling for designing the entire publication, and all respective parties involved, this truly is a beautiful piece of work in its own right.
If you own this book or are interested in picking up, then let us know what you think! We would be excited to see your verdicts.
For more publications from Counter-Print you can find them at: www.counter-print.co.uk