Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Shigeo Fukuda

Japanese designer Shigeo Fukuda (1932-2009) was a master of graphic wit. His sometimes Escher-like designs often used humor or visual illusion to communicate a message.  He was born into a family of toy makers and loved to practice the art of origami as a child. Later, he took a keen interest in Western minimalist design known as the Swiss Style, but his own work could be visually elusive. American graphic designer Seymour Chwast  said that “Fukuda is not a communicator who conforms to the principles of accessibility. With few exceptions, his purpose is to mystify.”

Although he had some commercial clients, most of his work was for social and cultural concerns. He was a popular figure among American designers. His book “Visual Illusion” (Rikuyosha Publishing, 1982) was a virtual textbook for designers in the United States.

"Mr. Fukuda was indeed a prankster throughout his life. To reach the front door of his house, on the outskirts of Tokyo, a visitor had to walk down a path to a door that appeared to be far away. In fact, appearances were deceiving because the front door was only four feet high. Inside, Mr. Fukuda would emerge from a concealed white door exactly the same color as the wall to offer the visitor a pair of red house slippers."
-Seymour Chwast



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