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    Volume 9 Issue 25| June 18, 2010|

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Taking Graphic Design to a New Height

Tamanna Khan

Hiromi Inayoshi

Silence drops at the forum room of Radius Centre at Bay's Galleria, when Farzeen K. Chowdhury, Director of Paper Studio takes the floor to introduce Hiromi Inayoshi, master artist in designing logos, insignias and marks and a world-class corporate identity designer. Creative art directors from different advertising and communication agencies listen to the maestro as he presents his work and philosophy and discusses the importance of using a holistic approach in designing a corporate identity. Hiromi Inayoshi has been working in the field of Graphic Design for the last 20 years designing symbol marks for organisation and individuals including heads of state and VIPs. Among the famous personalities that he has designed personal marks for, include His Majesty the King of Thailand and His Majesty the Sultan of Brunei and prominent singer Celine Dion. However, it is Inayoshi's belief of designing for social change that sets him apart from his contemporaries. Inayoshi has engaged himself actively with social activities by attaching himself to the Earth Identity Projects, a non-profit organisation that aims to promote world peace through cultural exchange.

Recently with invitation from Paper Studio, sole distributor of “Conqueror”, a designer brand of paper of Arjo Wiggins (a UK based paper manufacturer), Hiromi Inayoshi came to Bangladesh to conduct a daylong seminar on Corporate Identity (CI) Design and declare open Conqueror Corporate Identity Design Contest 2010. The contest exposes Bangladeshi designers and students to international current practices and helps them to present their work to the world.

Inayoshi shares his world of artistic thought with The Star magazine.

When and how did you get into the field of graphic design?

I entered into this world, when I enrolled in Department of Commercial Design of Nusashino College of Art on advice of my uncle who is a graphic designer. I wanted to be an artist since my childhood, especially a painter. That's why I conceived the idea that mark is art, which founded my present profession as designer-artist.

What kind of factors do you take into account when branding a particular corporate identity?

Mark equals corporate identity, because mark visualises the invisible identity of corporate entities. What is important is the right corporate philosophy leading to the right business or products. Also important are the right sense and humanity of the designer who designs the mark. And his/her ultimate techniques and tastes. With all of them united, wonderful marks will be born. Marks should have shapes that are simple, conceptual, powerful and minimal, in order to symbolise the companies and organisations made of individuals, and to lead them into the future.

Hiromi Inayoshi conducting a seminar on Corporate Identity Design.

Why is it important to have personalised branding? How powerful is it?

The power of individuals will be very important in the years to come, or even more so in such chaotic times as now. Each and every one of us must have a strong will, stand up, and take action to solve the world issues. Strong power and belief of one person, such as Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa and Dr. Yunus, can change the world. Personal mark is an inner portrait of a person. With the personal marks I create, people recognise their own merit and mission in the world and gain a new pride for themselves. I want to help them with my marks.

What are the projects you are currently involved in?

At present, more than 100 people are waiting for me to design their personal marks, including chiefs of state, politicians, world-famous pianists, famous actors and actresses, business executives, doctors, housewives, and even those who are deceased. Really a great variety!

I am working on five projects concerning corporate identity design for a business entity, a corporate juridical person, a juridical foundation, a French restaurant, and an offer from a global conglomerate.

My exhibition is going to be held in November, 2010, in Hiroshima, Japan with a variety of one-of-a-kind sculptures displayed for the first time, which were created based on my personal works and finished with Japanese lacquer-ware techniques. I also have offers from several paramount museums in Europe for my exhibition and will go to Monaco shortly to talk about the matter.

A Japanese NPO, Earth Identity Projects Japan (President: Hiroko Kawahara), for which I am director general, is carrying out a project called “the Biggest Painting in the World”, in which the paintings by children all over the world, regardless of race, religion, and language, will be sewn together to make one Biggest Painting in the World in 2012. It will be the mark (symbol) of Earth when completed.

In 1996, we started the project with 1,000 pieces of 1m X 10m cloth painted by 13,000 poor children in Kurigram, Bangladesh, which were sewn into one piece next day by their mothers. This painting became a prototype of the project which is now being carried out in many countries in the world. One of its events will be held in Okinawa on June 20 after we go back to Japan.

Last year my picture book titled Picture Book without Picture was published on the occasion of President Obama's speech on the world without nuclear weapons in Prague. It has become a movement in Japan, particularly in Hiroshima. The book is a fantasy dealing with a planet destroyed by nuclear weapons, which will revive to a beautiful star as Earth, as the creatures on the planet starts painting pictures. As its title goes, there is no picture in this picture book. It only has a story and will be completed when a reader paints pictures and makes his/her own book. This book is going to be published in the world including the United States, and its exhibition will be held in Hiroshima in July. It will be also read aloud by famous actors/actresses in various countries, with music by world-famous musicians, and published as CD. The sales from this project will be donated to peace activities for the world without nuclear weapons.

How was your meeting with Dr. Yunus? What kind of branding will you do for him?

Dr. Yunus is one of the people I respect most in the world. He is really deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize, because he really challenges, takes actions and risks his neck, in order to bring about a world without poverty. I myself am not satisfied with just designing on the desk, in the imaginary world, but am taking active part in the reality of the world with a global perspective, taking part in social action in particular in order to foster higher level of humanity in myself, and feeding back into my design what I learn from such activities. This is what social design really means. If Dr. Yunus and I, his social business and my social design, can collaborate in some form or other, we can create a great power for the world in future.

Tell us about your philosophy and future plans.

My philosophy is to lead an artistic life. An artistic life means to be free, obsessed with nothing, and to try to solve the world issues with art and beauty, with one's talent as its tool, aiming at real progress of mankind. Also my important philosophy is that mark is art. I have many plans for the future, and they all aim at using design/art to lead the world to true peace. For that purpose, I do want to do more than my best.

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