Toward the end of the 1920s, Japanese designers pursued a radical new vision for their profession. Engaging modernist and avant-garde trends from abroad, refashioning local graphic and calligraphic forms, and using the latest tools and techniques, they poured fresh colors and expressive forms into all facets of consumer life, from streetscapes to the printed page. The Complete Commercial, a 24-volume design compendium published by the country’s leading designers, captured the spirit of the age with thousands of playful and inventive designs.
In conversation with Letterform Archive Books editor Chris Westcott, art historian Gennifer Weisenfeld discusses her new book on this remarkable document of design history, The Complete Commercial Artist: Making Modern Design in Japan, 1928–1930. Sharing art from the original volumes, Weisenfeld will explore the global exchange of ideas and practices that informed designers’ new approaches to lettering, illustration, design, and display.