Ikko Tanaka

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Ikko Tanaka (田中 一光, Tanaka Ikkō, January 13, 1930 – January 10, 2002) was a Japanese graphic designer.


Born in 1930 in Nara City,[1] Ikko Tanaka studied art at the Kyoto City University of Arts. Ikko Tanaka worked at the Sankei Shinbun, Nippon Design Center, and subsequently established his first design studio in Tokyo, the Ikko Tanaka Design Studio, in 1963.[1][2] Tanaka was ranked the freshest Japanese designer of the 20th century by GQ in 2001.


Ikko Tanaka's work includes the design of the symbols for Expo '85 in Tsukuba and World City Expo Tokyo '96. Amongst others he has worked for the Seibu Saison Group, The International Garden and Greenery Exposition, Hanae Mori, Issey Miyake, and the Mazda Corporation. Tanaka has curated and designed exhibitions for the Victoria and Albert Museum (London) and throughout Japan.[1] He has also designed the main logo of Osaka University.[3] Ikko Tanaka published several books, including "Design, no Zengo Sayu." and an autobiography, "Tanaka Ikko: graphic master".[4][5]

Ikko Tanaka is credited with developing the Muji together with Kazuko Koike (marketing consultant), and Takashi Sugimoto (interior designer).[6] Tanaka articulated the Muji vision and appearance, and he provided ideas and prototypes that visualized the design strategy. He worked as Muji's art director until 2001. In September 2012 there was a retrospective of his work at 21 21 Design Sight in Tokyo, curated by one of his closest collaborators Kazuko Koike.[7]

His work is held in the permanent collections of many museums worldwide, including the USC Pacific Asia Museum,[8] the Walker Art Center,[9] the Museum of Modern Art,[10] the Indianapolis Museum of Art,[11] the University of Michigan Museum of Art,[12] the Cooper Hewitt,[13] the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences,[14] the British Museum,[15] the Nasher Museum of Art,[16] the Artizon Museum,[17] and the Victoria and Albert Museum.[18]


Ikko Tanaka has received several awards, including the JAAC Special Selection, Mainichi Design Award, Minister of Education Newcomer Prize, Tokyo ADC Members' Grand Prize, Mainichi Art Award, Purple Ribbon Medal, and the New York ADC Hall of Fame Prize. Tanaka has exhibitions in New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Mexico.


  1. ^ a b c The Art Directors Club / Hall of Fame
  2. ^ Heller, Steven (2002-01-24). "Ikko Tanaka, 71, Japanese Graphic Designer". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-07-23.
  3. ^ "大阪大学の校章". derma.med.osaka-u.ac.jp. Retrieved 2020-02-27.
  4. ^ Tanaka, Ikko; Calza Carlo, Gian (1997). Tanaka Ikko: graphic master. Phaidon. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
  5. ^ Ikko Tanaka
  6. ^ If You Want to Make an Understatement - New York Times
  7. ^ "Ikko Tanaka: between past and future, East and West". www.domusweb.it. Retrieved 2020-02-27.
  8. ^ "USC Pacific Asia Museum". pamcollections.usc.edu. Retrieved 2021-02-05.
  9. ^ "Exhibition poster, Issey Miyake in Museum for the Seibu ..." walkerart.org. Retrieved 2021-02-05.
  10. ^ "Ikko Tanaka. Poster Nippon 1955-'72, Japanese Posters by Screen Process. 1972 | MoMA". The Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved 2021-02-05.
  11. ^ "Nihon Buyo". Indianapolis Museum of Art Online Collection. Retrieved 2021-02-05.
  12. ^ "Exchange: Ikko Tanaka at Cooper Union". exchange.umma.umich.edu. Retrieved 2021-02-05.
  13. ^ "Poster, Ikko Tanaka Graphic Art Exhibition, 1990". Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. Retrieved 2021-02-05.
  14. ^ "Shiseido poster by Ikko Tanaka, Japan". collection.maas.museum. Retrieved 2021-02-05.
  15. ^ "jar | British Museum". The British Museum. Retrieved 2021-02-05.
  16. ^ "Mt. Fuji". Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. Retrieved 2021-02-05.
  17. ^ "Collection Highlights:". Artizon Museum. Retrieved 2021-02-05.
  18. ^ "Nihon Buyo | Tanaka, Ikko | V&A Search the Collections". V and A Collections. 2021-02-05. Retrieved 2021-02-05.

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