Kazumasa Nagai is a graphic designer from Japan who’s known for his poster design and emphasis on environmental themes. Nagai was born in 1929 and attended the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. In 1960 he helped found the Nippon Design Center. His posters communicate a harmony between man and nature. Most of his work is screenprinted or mixed media and encorporates bold color and very strong graphic forms. His posters have been used in many environmental compaigns and have recieved various international awards. His work has been featured in exhibits at the MOMA and the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo.
Nagai brings together traditional japanese style design with elements of pop art, surrealism, abstraction and pattern. There is a primordial essence to his work that resonates widely and speaks to the viewer on a fundamentally human level. Bold contrast is a common theme of Nagai’s work; this is true in both color and form.
Poster for TENRI magazine
“All flesh is grass.”
“The universe and mankind both have a uniform order that I express” All Flesh is Grass Poster
Maguta Shamisen Poster
Iâ€™m Here Series
Ueno Zoo Poster
Nagai Exhibition Poster
Nagai creates lots of wild animals and beasts. His otherworldly creatures are often whimsical and abstracted, but at the same time very graphic. His stylized approach to creatures combines the bold aesthetic of cartoons with the organic and simplified look of ancient cave paintings. His animals serve as a reminder of all the other lifeforms we share this planet with and are infinitely connected to. Beetle poster, 1996
ggg Antelope, 1989
Nagai Exhibition Poster
Nagaiâ€™s landscapes synthesize the beauty of the natural world with abstract pattern and form to create surreal images that seem to reflect ideas about balance, space, geometry and cycles. All of his work communicates an underlying theme of duality between the natural world and the artificial world. These landscapes demonstrate Nagaiâ€™s roots in environmentalism and the importance of protectecting and maintaining the planet we live on.
Lily Color series, 1974
Toshiba IC, 1967 In addition to creatures and landscapes, Nagai creates abstract designs. Intricate patterns, mandalas and waves are common features in his work. His radial designs grab the viewers attention and invoke a kind of state of trance; similar to the way mandalas are used as a gateway in Buddhism and Hinduism to transport the viewer into a sacred space or realm.
“If I were not able to relate to society by design, I’d likely be living under a bridge somewhere.”
Poster for Prince Lighters,1975
Nagai Exhibition Poster, 1968
Air and water are common motifs throughout Nagai’s work. He often uses images of the sky or the sea in combination with pattern and abstract form to create scenes that communicate an atmospheric sense of floating. Air and water are essential for life and growing pollution from
industrialization threatens not only humans, but animals, plantlife and all other species that inhabit the Earth. Finding a balance between industry and environment and creating a harmony between humans and nature is the essential message behind all of Nagai’s work.
Graphic 4, 1974
SD Ad, 1968
Biblio: “Kazumasa Nagai.” Pinterest. “Space Teriyaki 5 - 50 Watts.” “Posters by Kazumasa Nagai ~ Pink Tentacle. “Kazumasa Nagai” But Does It Float. “Poster Design by Kazumasa Nagai.” Koikoikoi.
Book Designed by Kevin O’Leary