The 21st Yusaku Kamekura Award: selection process and exhibitions

Awarded Work
Subway system CI plan (cl: Osaka Metro)
Award Winner

Yoshiaki Irobe

Publication: “Graphic Design in Japan 2019”(June 2019)
Award Ceremony : JAGDA General Assembly 2019 on 28 June 2019 in Tokyo
Thursday 4 April to Tuesday 21 May 2019 at Creation Gallery G8
Saturday 26 October to Monday 4 November 2019 at The Niigata Prefectural Museum of Modern Art


Selection Process of the 21st 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 December 2018 by the 29 members of the JAGDA Annual Screening Committee. Their selections were made from among the 2,026 works entered in the competition to be included in the 2019 edition of the JAGDA Annual: Graphic Design in Japan. To begin, from among all works nominated for JAGDA Awards in their respective categories, the committee extracted 87 entries garnering the highest numbers of votes. Excluded at this time were 33 works by 10 designers who had previously received the award (Katsumi Asaba, Kenya Hara, Kazunari Hattori, Kaoru Kasai, Shin Matsunaga, Kazumasa Nagai, Norio Nakamura, Taku Satoh, Ryosuke Uehara and Yoshie Watanabe). The 29 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 32 vote-garnering works by 21 individual designers and 1 group.

The final selection was conducted on December 21, 2018 by 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 22 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 Yoshiaki Irobe and Atsuki Kikuchi – received more than 7 votes, and these were designated as the finalists. A final vote was then taken, and Yoshiaki Irobe won with 7 votes.

The winning work, the CI for Osaka Metro, went into usage in April 2018, when the underground system in Osaka became privatized under an all-new name. Irobe’s motion-filled logotype, in which the “O” of Osaka is enclosed within Metro’s “M,” is truly unique among CI designs for Japan’s subway systems. It’s especially impressive how, when viewed on the screens inside the moving railway carriages, the logo seems to behave in coordination with the train’s movements. The Selection Committee members praised Irobe’s work for its bold design, making special note of the fact that the winning work was of a highly public nature among the myriad works created for private clients. For these reasons, the Committee felt Irobe’s logo was supremely deserving of this year’s Yusaku Kamekura Design Award.

(Text by Yusaku Kamekura Design Award Office)