AXES Partners

September 7, 2020

We provided 360-degree branding and identity design for AXES Partners, a multidisciplinary consulting firm specializing in project management services within the construction industry of Japan. Now in the Work section.

The Impossibility of Silence

August 27, 2020

I have a new book poised to come out, published by Onomatopee called The Impossibility of Silence: Writing for Artists, Designers & Photographers. You can check it out and pre-order it here:

The Impossibility of Silence is a 200+ page paperback for creative folks interested in approaching writing about their vocation and culture.

It features illustrations by Ed Fella and Paul Nitsche, as well as myself.

The book is edited by Taro Nettleton.

It features two-color gatefold colors and the body is printed in black and white. Perfect beach reading!

Within, I write about metaphoric heroes and villains, inspiration, story arcs, structure, and all of the things one might use to construct compelling writing about art, design, or photography.

We’ve got some great press for this book, as well. Check it out:

“Ian Lynam is the Hunter S. Thompson of design writing.”
– Sereina Rothenberger, Jan Van Eyck Academie

Lynam adeptly juggles platters of diverse knowledge that include history, theory, philosophy, humanities, and the gamut of pop culture.”
– Louise Sandhaus, author of Earthquakes Mudslides Fires & Riots: California & Graphic Design, 1936-1986

“Lynam is a bitingly humorous writer – gifted with the intuition to give stories depth.”
Lars Harmsen, Slanted Magazine

“Joyfully and skillfully straddling the line between creator and critic, theorist and practitioner, formalist and rebel, American and expatriate, serious analyst and humorous deconstructor, Ian Lynam always brings a wholly original perspective to his writing on design. The insights are always fresh, and the stakes are always extremely high.”
– W. David Marx, author of Ametora: How Japan Saved American Style.

I’m pretty excited about it and I hope you might be, too. Check it out here:

Writing Writing

August 24, 2020

I’m participating in a new exhibition in The Hague. Details below come from the official press release.

Alphabetum VII
Writing Writing

29.08.2020 — 29.11.2020
29.08.2020, 20:00
West Museumkwartier, vml. Amerikaanse ambassade, Lange Voorhout 102, Den Haag

Writing Writing is an exhibition of new work by five graphic designers who operate in multiple and simultaneous modes of creative production, notably as researchers, educators, writers, and critics. The exhibition is based on the idea of parataxis.

Parataxis in writing is composed of short sentences that lie together, forming a greater narrative because they are placed in juxtaposition, not in an umbrella-like format. Visually, parataxis is akin to taking two disparate images and placing them together in order to create new meaning. Parataxis is the jump between the meaning of one object and the meaning of another object, their collocation creating implied meaning. Each of the participants explores various approaches to the connotative and denotative through writing (e.g: literature) and writing (e.g.: composition). Each conjures lyrical/poetic form in both the text and how it is concocted — creating something that is ‘haunted’ (in the sense of Derrida’s ‘hauntology’).

Writing Writing explores the convergence of wooded trails, paved pathways, and traveling crisscrossing clover-leafed freeway overpasses in works by Ian Lynam, Matthew Monk, Randy Nakamura, Chris Ro, and Gail Swanlund.

Writing Writing embodies five manifestations of expanded approaches to ‘writing’, demonstrating and explaining the way each contributor says ‘yes, and…?’.

About the participants:
Ian Lynam operates the Tokyo, Japan design studio Ian Lynam Design, working across identity, typography, and interior design. He is faculty at Temple University Japan, as well as at Vermont College of Fine Arts in the MFA in Graphic Design Program, and is Visiting Critic at CalArts. Ian writes for IDEA (JP), Slanted (DE), and Modes of Criticism (PT) and has written a number of books about design and culture. Originally hailing from New York, Lynam has a BS in Graphic Design from Portland State University and an MFA in Graphic Design from CalArts. He is co-founder of the critical cultural online journal Néojaponisme and the associated print journal NJP. Ian runs Wordshape, a hybrid type foundry, publishing entity, distributor, and occasional software company.

Matthew Monk is a visual artist, graphic designer, and educator, currently serving as Academic Dean at Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier. He is on the faculty in the MFA in Graphic Design program at VCFA and previously taught for twenty years at Rhode Island School of Design as a tenured full professor in the Graphic Design department. Matthew exhibits his collage and mixed-media works extensively and is in collections across the United States and abroad. His book design practice has earned numerous awards for clients including The National Gallery of Art, Yale University Press, Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Metropolis Books, The Museum of Art at Rhode Island School of Design, and Wellesley College, among others.

Randy Nakamura is a writer, designer, and researcher who teaches at California College of Art (CCA) in San Francisco. He is currently a Ph.D candidate in the Critical Studies program at UCLA Architecture and Urban Design. As a researcher he has contributed to the 2013 Pacific Standard Time exhibition Everything Loose will Land for the MAK Center and Getty Foundation focusing on the art and architecture of Los Angeles in the 1970s. His writing has been published in Design Observer, Emigre, Task, Modes of Criticism, and Idea Magazine. Previously he was the Director of Design for The Grateful Palate.

Chris Ro is a graphic designer based in Seoul, South Korea working on projects spanning both the cultural and commercial sector. Originally educated at UC Berkeley and the Rhode Island School of Design, the thinking behind Chris’ work connects a diverse range of concepts spanning architecture, graphic design, typography, motion, photography and form making. His work has been honored by the Type Directors Club of New York, Communication Arts Typography Annual, Print Magazine Regional Design Annual, The Korean Society of Typography, Output, The Cannes Cyber Lions, The Webby Awards and The Favorite Website Awards. He was formerly a chief curator for the Typojanchi 2015 International Typography Biennale. Chris has exhibited his work around the world—most recently at Die Neue Sammlung in Munich and the Paris Museum of Arts Decoratifs where his work is now part of both of their permanent collections. Chris’ work is also part of the permanent collection of the National Hangul Museum in Seoul. Chris currently teaches design, typography and form-making at Hongik University in Seoul, South Korea. Chris is also a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale(AGI).

Gail Swanlund’s creative work has been exhibited at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA), Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), CAM Raleigh, Pomona College, the Biennial of Graphic Design in Brno, Czech Republic, and elsewhere. Her work may be found in public collections, including Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Merrill C. Berman Collection, and SFMoMA. She held a seat on DesignInquiry, a vanguard educational non-profit organization whose mission is to cultivate the collective goal of extra-disciplinary discourse, productive counter-production, and research of design, and is gearing to launch an ad hoc detachable semi-organized ‘Wild & Free Friends of DesignInquiry.’ Swanlund received her MFA from CalArts where she is an Art School faculty member in the Graphic Design program; she also co-teaches courses and workshops with faculty from other schools across the Institute.

Decolonizing Design

July 30, 2020

I have a new essay in Japanese up over at the JAGDA Graphic Design Review blog about the Design Decolonization movement. You can see it here:

Coloring Inside the Lines. Coloring Outside the Lines.

July 13, 2020

I wrote the zine Coloring Inside the Lines. Coloring Outside the Lines. a few years ago. It contains basics for the impending graphic design graduate, and with the current global pandemic, students poised to enter the workforce need more help than ever.

Our publishing unit Wordshape has released a digital version of Coloring Inside the Lines. Coloring Outside the Lines. for free over on You can check it out here:

The Graphic Design Review

June 22, 2020


I’ve been invited by JAGDA (Japan Graphic Designers Association) to become one of the founders and board members of a new online publication called The Graphic Design Review. GDR is a site about graphic design centered on information and criticism published by the JAGDA Digital Media Committee. In addition to introducing contemporary aesthetics, we will explore contemporary graphic design from a wide array of cultural contexts and approaches.

Our board includes Editors Kiyonori Muroga and Tetsuya Goto, Ayumu Higuchi, and Yasushi Nagahara (Chairman of Digital Media Committee).

Check out GDR here:

(GDR’s content is currently Japanese language only.)

June 12, 2020


New website for Corinthians, my collaborative research and curatorial practice with the inestimable Renna Okubo, developed by the unparalleled Maggie Barrett.

A New Dawn For All

June 10, 2020


We designed a new identity and website for the Arizona 503(c) non-profit organization A New Dawn For All.

The founders of A New Dawn for All recognize the growing need to support domestic violence victims and families to start anew. When someone is leaving a shelter or needing extra support, A New Dawn provides families with home goods (big or small) and resources so that they have one less stress for their new beginning. A New Dawn’s mission is to guide all towards positive, healthy home environments that will improve their lives as well as others in the community. A New Dawn provides mindful education and developmental opportunities for individuals to promote stable, supportive environments leading to happier, healthier lives.

Slanted #35 – LA

May 8, 2020


I’m very excited to announce that the latest issue of Slanted is out now. Last summer, Slanted Publishers’ co-founder Lars Harmsen and I headed to LA to meet with a wide array of designers, design educators, design critics, architects, artists, signpainters, and illustrators to put together this issue. Check it out here:

Collage Club

May 7, 2020


I led a free online lecture and workshop called “Collage Club” on April 26 for the VCFA MFA in Graphic Design.

Lecture description:

Due to the incredible reliance on digital tools today, let’s turn to making some visual work with our hands instead—both individually and collectively. Collage is both a method and a strategy that gets overlooked in regards to graphic design, despite being part and parcel of graphic design. Collage is one method for making work that exudes design authorship, stands out from the pack, and can help imbue your design work with visual authorship.

After a brief and very cursory look at influential collage from the 1970s through today (AKA Ian’s wildly subjective take on what he terms “The Collage Canon”), workshop members are invited to explore the catharsis of making analog collaged compositions together. While there is a relatively brief presentation component, this workshop is intended to allow us all to slow down, focus in ways we might not do normally, consider our aesthetic choices, chat, cut and paste, but most of all: be together.

More info: