Kazumasa Nagai & Wim Crouwel

Over the last two weeks Peter introduced a couple of artists/designers to us and in all honesty I’m behind on my posts so I’m rolling both of these gentleman together in one post.

Kazumasa Nagai

Kazumasa is a Japanese graphic designer and print maker born in 1929 Osaka. He was famous for his abstract work, but slowly shifted to slightly less abstract animal and plant designs in the 80’s. In some of his work there is definitely a very traditional Japanese art influence. Nagai also co-founded the Nippon Design Centre in 1960 and has had his work displayed at the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo and the MoMA in New York.

I do enjoy a bit of abstract. It doesn’t matter what strokes you lay down on paper, canvas, computer etc, there will always be reason behind to the end form even if it’s purely emotional. As a class of artists and designers looking to potentially craft other world experiences within video games, we could all take useful cues from abstraction, throwing away logic when it comes to representing the world.

Anyway I’ll stop gabbing and display some of Nagai’s work.

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As a side note I absolutely love the lion and the zebra. There is just something so oddball about them I can’t help but smile. Just the right level of abstract before things completely lose all form!

Wim Crouwel

Wim is a Dutch graphic designer, type designer and typographer born in 1928. When looking into his work a little story about his childhood caught me eye. I’ll quote from the source;

“As a child, Crouwel was captivated by the austere beauty of electricity pylons, railway yards and overhead cables”. – See more at: https://designmuseum.org/designers/wim-crouwel

Already I’m behind the man 100%. I grew up around the local brewery as my mother used to be an accountant there. I was always fascinated by the industrial pipework and vats, the network of valves and pressure meters. It was a city of its own made entirely for booze! Later this would evolve to having an attraction to the industrial sites of Billingham and Redcar, especially after learning it was Ridley Scott’s inspiration for Blade Runner. We all take inspiration from the funniest of places. Anyway, back to Wim.

His career was varied, from managing the content and exhibitions of the Stedelijik Museum in Amsterdam, creating the typeface New Alphabet font which embraced the limitation of old cathode ray tubes and even designing the dutch stamps for a number of years. Eventually he would become a teacher.

His work made extensive use of grid based layouts and typography rooted in the International Typographic Style. Given this meant pretty much nothing to me, I had to do some digging and found it was the style that Bauhaus emerged from. When considering Wim’s style, it all made sense. The muted style, favouring geometry and form follows function sits perfectly with his childhood fascination of utilitarian and urban construction.

Here are some examples of his work.

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