Ocular Illusions: Shigeo Fukuda
When someone asks me, "who are some of your favorite graphic designers?" It's a quick response, Shigeo Fukuda. This response is amongst a few others, but Fukuda is pantheon status from my objective standpoint. The greatest allure for me when it comes to Fukuda is his genius in simplicity and metaphor. He does this so effectively that he often includes illusory elements to either trick the eye or add a fair douse of intrigue with it's purpose.
He earns his rightful place on the historic timeline of design as some could argue he pioneered the simple and "loud" look. His designs speak, they yell, the scream their viewpoint with the most simple of strokes, designs, and compositions. It's the kind of work that looks "easy," but in reality would take weeks, even months to execute with all the thought involved.
This pinnacle of Shigeo's career was his poster, "Victory 1945" when he was awarded he grand prize at the world-renoun Warsaw Poster Contest in 1975. The effort of the Warsaw contest donated all proceeds to the Peace Fund Movement, appropriate for the context of this poster commenting on the end WW2.
Often Fukuda's posters were political in nature. The often had a stance, a purpose, and a goal. Environmentalism and pacifism are two key themes we often see in his work, and he does so in a very careful and inventive way. His work makes you consider the message, rather than having an absolutist model. This is highly respectable especially in terms of a political design.
“I believe that in design, 30 percent dignity, 20 percent beauty and 50 percent absurdity are necessary,” he once told the Japanese design magazine Idea.
This statement is visualized when we can observe just a handful of his arsenal of work.
It's satire, it's intrigue, it's effective. I could learn a thing or two-thousand from Fukuda. His use of depth with 2-dimensionally is impeccable, and an effort that takes a lifetime to master.
In present times, it is fascinating to se how Fukuda's style of simplicity, flat, and satire design is so relevant and sought-after now. Artists and illustrators like Jean Jullien, and handfuls of others alike, inspire us consider this style that Fukuda has mastered.
Fukuda developed a new era of graphic design. Design that began in incorporate more illustrations, center alignment, and was stripped down from the Bauhaus movements. Unlike other though, Fukuda didn't take himself too seriously. He kept the playfulness, unlike the Swiss Modern, and developed a new style that resinates with us today.