The 20th Yusaku Kamekura Award: selection process and exhibitions

Awarded Work
Publicity poster and exhibition posters for solo exhibition (cl: Creation Gallery G8)
Award Winner

Norio Nakamura

Publication: “Graphic Design in Japan 2018”(June 2018)
Award Ceremony : JAGDA General Assembly 2018 on 29 June 2018 in Niigata
Friday 6 April to Wednesday 16 May 2018 at Creation Gallery G8
Saturday 9 Jun to Sunday 1 July 2018 at The Niigata Prefectural Museum of Modern Art


Selection Process of the 19th Yusaku Kamekura Design Award
The Yusaku Kamekura Design Award was established in 1999 to commemorate the achievements of Yusaku Kamekura (1915-1997), JAGDA’s first president, and to contribute to the ongoing development of graphic design. The award was made possible through a generous donation from Mr. Kamekura’s family. It is presented each year to the work judged most outstanding among all entries in the JAGDA Annual, regardless of category.

Preliminary nominations for the award were made in November and December 2017 by the 28 members of the JAGDA Annual Screening Committee. Their selections were made from among the 1,977 works entered in the competition to be included in the 2018 edition of the JAGDA Annual: Graphic Design in Japan. This year the selection criteria were partially revised in a quest to improve the accuracy of the selection process. To begin, from among all works nominated for JAGDA Awards in their respective categories, the committee extracted 76 entries garnering the highest numbers of votes. Excluded at this time were 39 works by 12 designers who had previously received the award (Katsumi Asaba, Kenya Hara, Kazunari Hattori, Kaoru Kasai, Shin Matsunaga, Ken Miki, Kazumasa Nagai, Masayoshi Nakajo, Taku Satoh, Katsuhiko Shibuya, Ryosuke Uehara and Yoshie Watanabe). The 27 committee members in attendance next voted for the works they felt deserving of the Yusaku Kamekura Design Award, with each member having a total of 5 votes. All eligible works were displayed anonymously, and committee members were barred from voting for their own works. This stage of the selection process resulted in a list of 38 vote-garnering works by 29 individual designers and 2 groups.

The final selection was conducted on December 15, 2017 by the 11 members of the Yusaku Kamekura Design Award Selection Committee. In compliance with the rule that limits eligibility to only 1 nominated work per designer or group, designers having multiple preliminary nominations were ultimately nominated for the single work, or series of works on the same theme, chosen by majority vote by the Selection Committee. Once the final 31 nominations were decided, the voting took place anonymously with each member of the Selection Committee having the right to cast up to 3 votes. Two works – by Hiroki Nagai and Norio Nakamura – received more than 5 votes, and these were designated as the finalists. A final vote was then taken, and Norio Nakamura won with 9 votes.

Norio Nakamura’s winning works incorporate 1 publicity poster and a series of posters specially created for his solo show held in January 2017. One judge hailed the posters for their extremely human, naïve freshness without resorting to heavy reliance on technology. Another pointed to Mr. Nakamura’s unconventional and provocative methods, as exemplified by how he uses software and his choice of paper; but he added that what lies at the heart of his works is Mr. Nakamura’s attractive worldview that arouses good feelings in the viewer. As an example, the judge cited Mr. Nakamura’s interesting and unique way of looking at things, as seen in his depiction of a slice of birthday cake – where not just the cake but even the candle and flame are cut in half. This, the judge offered, is probably what makes many people admire Mr. Nakamura’s work so highly. Another judge summed it up nicely: “With Norio Nakamura we have hit a new vein of precious ore in graphic design.”

(Text by Yusaku Kamekura Design Award Office)