Typodarium 2015

I have some typefaces in the 2015 Typodarium type design calendar.

It’s obviously a little late for this.

Oh well.

KDa website

Klein Dytham architecture Tokyo

We just re-launched a responsive redesign of Klein Dytham architecture’s website.


Raker typeface family

We just released Raker, a new 40-member family of typefaces.


Raker typeface family

Raker was born out of a love for retro science fiction aesthetics as evidenced in films like The Clone Returns Home, Moon,and Alien, while simultaneously being a text typeface with a humanist influence and solid spacing.

Raker typeface family

The family includes 4 cuts: Raker, Raker Display, Raker Stencil, and Raker Display Stencil. Each cut includes 5 weights of Roman and italic characters—Light, Regular, Medium, Bold, and Heavy.

Raker typeface family

Each weight of each cut has been lovingly spaced and kerned, and all weights support Western, Eastern and Central European languages. Hidden pattern glyphs are included, as are standard ligatures.

Raker font family

All italics are true italics and extensive currency support is included. All weights of all cuts have been extensively hinted for the best performance on-screen.

Raker typeface family

Raker was designed to function as a fun, futuristic family of typefaces that will suit a wide variety of applications. And even better, it’s on sale at Wordshape until March 1st for $49 for all 40 weights!

John Mullin Photography

We just hit the button on a responsive website redesign for John Mullin, professional photographer and art educator. We’ve worked with John for years and were excited to relaunch his site with webfonts, some snazzy javascript, and a few CSS tricks. John is one of the United States’ great contemporary photographers, as well as the protegé and former assistant of Henri Cartier-Bresson.

Kozue Niseko

We also just launched a responsive website design for Kozue, a new luxury building project in Niseko, Hokkaido being managed by Nisade. The Kozue website features webfont implementation, some fancy javascript, adaptive CSS, and solid, sedate design. You can check it out here.

Néojaponisme 2014 roundup

We also just published our annual round-up of what’s been happening in Japanese popular culture over at Néojaponisme. 2014, we hardly knew ye!


Whole Foods x YWFT x Ian Lynam

When Whole Foods needed to brand their 2014 holiday “Values Matter” ad campaign with a personality-rich, hand drawn font, they chose the often-imitated-but-never-duplicated YWFT Hannah, YouWorkForThem’s own in-house champ.

In this case, their choice was specific to YWFT Hannah Narrow, which begged their question: could we design two additional weights for this individual font, which existed only in a regular weight? Their answer was “yes”.

Then, YWFT called us. We’ve had an amazing working relationship with YWFT for the past chunk of years—we speak the same languages: OpenType, Python, CSS, and just being stoked on type.

Whole Foods x YWFT x Ian Lynam

Working closely with the team at their advertising agency Partners & Spade, we designed and refined Semi-Bold and Bold weights of YWFT Hannah Narrow, and offered specialized technical support to the Whole Foods art and marketing departments at their request.

Plus, we added alternate characters galore and iterated the new Whole Foods typeface family into the ground.

It felt good. Really, really good.

Whole Foods Values Matter TV Commercial: Produce
Learn More – http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/valuesmatter

Whole Foods Values Matter TV Commercial: Beef
Learn More – http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/valuesmatter


Kimbo plug-in for Adobe Illustrator

In big news, we updated Kimbo, our plug-in for Illustrator so that it is compatible with Illustrator CC 2014. There’s a free demo on the site, and it’ll make any hardcore user of Illustrator breathe a sigh of sweet, sweet relief with its combination of vector cutting, mirroring, and pattern design tools.


Slanted 24 Istanbul

I have an story in issue #24 of Slanted, an issue devoted entirely to Istanbul, Turkey.

Slanted 24 Ian Lynam

Istanbul – the city on the Bosphorus – is famous for its countless minarets, magnificent palaces, colorful markets and traders, seagulls and stray cats. Istanbul is the only metropolis in the world that unites two continents. Traditional crafts collide with a young and blossoming art and design scene, which is slowly changing the face and image of the city.

Slanted takes a close-up look at contemporary design work and all the tumultuous developments in this cultural melting pot city balanced between the Orient and the Occident. On their one-week-trip the Slanted team met 15 design studios and produced comprehensive studio portraits which provide a vivid and up-to-the-minute picture of the scene. Thanks to Augmented Reality and the Junaio app, readers can easily watch embedded videos of the Istanbul turu on mobile devices.

The story I contributed is called “The Martyrdom of Ivram Islander” and is the tale of the future of a world where both humankind and graphic design education are in stasis—a form of suspended animation that pervades culture as much as is representative of it. The story is part graphic design criticism and part science fiction.

An excerpt:

Evrim Aslaner was listening to a collection of murky live recordings of a seminal, late-1980s hardcore band from the American Midwest via headphones on the crosstown train. Some songs were clearer than others, though the differentiation was marginal at best. It was obvious that none of the recordings utilized the mixing boards at the VFW Halls and crappy, tiny venues where they were recorded—perhaps just a handheld tape recorder, or on the more clear ones, a condenser mic, fed into a tape recorder precariously situated in the back of whatever club a fledgling promoter had happened to acquire for the night, 130 years ago and on the other side of the world.

The sound itself was a vaguely polyrhythmic, distorted dirge — all low-end rumble with the occasional Skexis-like feedback squeal overriding momentarily. The vocals—a muffled, staccato Chewbacca-esque cadenced war rant — were delivered unintelligibly, though with the mealy mouthed venom of so many young men of that bygone age that Evrim was currently fascinated with. The only clearly identifiable instrument was the reverberating crash cymbal, the rest was reduced to a two-minute-long semaphore-like aural wet fart of dissonance and rumble.

Evrim’s immersion in the dense music was sharply interrupted by a figure entering the hovertram at the Bestiktas Square stop. Anyone at all riding the hovertram was an anomaly these days. Same with the library. Ditto for the food vendroid stands. The last of the humans, still venturing out-of-doors, were trickling out. Good weather, civic events, “live” music, none of these drew more than a handful of malcontents anymore. That being said, Evrim was continually surprised that the city’s hovertram continued to run—one of the last remaining symbols of the final administration’s promise that auto-piloted public transport would run 24 hours a day for the rest of eternity, with no need for cleaning, maintenance or repairs. He was glad it hadn’t stopped; without it, he’d be forced to sullenly walk halfway across Istanbul to the library. 

This was the third time that Halil Ergün’s facsimile had gotten on the same train as Evrim. It was weird. When the previous administration had deployed its convoy of cyborg replications of movie stars, television personalities, and other historical figures of note, they were wildly popular with the then-ambulatory populace for a few months, but quickly fell from prominence. When members of the human public asked the replicas of the stars about their inner feelings, the cyborgs would quip something nonsensical or re-quote a well-known snippet of history. It became obvious that their personalities were merely cross-indexed databases of suggested behaviors, based on their media personas, not the original stars’ true personalities. It didn’t help that their “faces” were internally projected in a Tony Oursler-esque fashion within their ovoid heads much, either. Real people found that they had little to gain from the simulacra, most already being innately familiar with retro culture due to telechip implants. Otaku-like super-fans were able to stump the cyborgs by grilling them with intense amounts of trivia and barrages of detailed questions about covert activities of the stars’ lives that occurred during their original, wholly organic incarnations. 


Tokyo vs. Karlsruhe

I’m trying something new in my Computer Imaging 2 class at Temple University Japan—a collaboration with another school on another continent. We’re calling it “Ping Pong: Tokyo vs. Karlsruhe”. HfG Karlsruhe faculty member Sereina Rothenberger (of Hammer!) and I have come up with a potentially interesting way of getting our students to engage with typography and teaching—namely, by making project a project assignment for one another.

Here is the text we have supplied to our respective students:

You must make a project brief and supply it to the student/student(s) of the other university.
You get to make up the project.
The only parameters are:
– Your project must contain type & image
– Your project must relate to your immediate locale—where
you are currently geolocated.
– The project must be printed
– You must introduce yourselves to one another and present the project to one another in a designed format after reviewing
with the faculty in your institution.
Ian and Sereina will be doing their utmost to get the work published in a number of international graphic design publications, so the pressure is on, baby! Make it look delicious!

The soundtrack

– Hifana: Hanabeam
– Halcali: Endless Summer
– Nitro Microphone Underground:
Still Shinin’ All Day

– Kraftwerk: Trans Europa
– Rödelheim Hartreim Projekt:
Wenn es nicht hart ist
– Richard Wagner: Walkürenritt

Now, Sereina and I just have to cool our heels and wait for the results! (Not really—we’re proactive teachers—we’ll be coaching and cajoling and keeping the tissue box handy for the inevitable transPacific tears.)

In other news, the new modular anchor logo I designed for YACHT makes a new appearance on sunglesses here

…and here.

Iggy font

We just released Iggy, a set of two fonts (outline and fill) created in collaboration with Australia-based lifelong skateboarder, artist and animator Darin Bendall.

Darin Bendall and Ian Lynam font Iggy

Iggy is a set of fonts perfect for that punky, skatery vibe. Both fonts have 4 complete sets of stylistic alternates for letters and numbers, European language support galore, evoke the late 80s heyday of skateboarding and hardcore punk rock and thrash.


Just returned from a week in Vermont at Vermont College of Fine Arts where we had yet another amazing week of presentations, lectures, and critiques. Our visiting critics this time around were Chris Ro from Hongik University in Seoul, Yunim Kim from Kookmin Univesity in Seoul, and Eddie Opara, one of the partners in Pentagram’s New York office. Pictured above are our twelve new MFA graduates – check out their MFA exhibition here.

Hunger Mountain

We also clandestinely launched the redesigned responsive website for Hunger Mountain, VCFA’s literary journal designed in collaboration with Silas Munro.

In other news, Néojaponisme launched some new content.


Ride the Lightning Tokyo

I’ll be speaking next week at Ride the Lightning, AQ‘s design and development presentation series in Tokyo. Check it out on Facebook or join via Doorkeeper!


Los Logos 7 by DGV

We have some work in the latest edition of the Los Logos series, the best-selling graphic design books of all time, nominally Los Logos Number 7, available now from Die Gestalten Verlag.


We’re back from a fabulous vacation in Europe where we got to spend some time relaxing and brainstorming with friends across the continent, including folks from fabulous design studios like Norm, Tuba, Studio Uleshka, Hammer, Fontseek, great artists and curators like Shirana Shahbazi and Tirdad Zolghadr and the team at the Museum für Gestaltung in Zurich, our great pal Lars from Slanted, the team at MoreTrax, and lots of other folks. Many thanks to all of our hosts and friends new and old!

A few projects were released while we were gone, but the most notable is Somebody – an app created by Miranda July with our pal Thea Lorentzen and sponsored by Miu Miu, available in the iTunes store as a free download (iOS only).

We handled a bunch of the font production for the app, helping to extend Thea’s two great headline fonts to handle multi-lingual support, as well as providing the text typefaces used within the app itself.

When you send your friend a message through Somebody, it goes — not to your friend — but to the Somebody user nearest your friend. This person (probably a stranger) delivers the message verbally, acting as your stand-in. The app launched at the Venice Film Festival along with a short companion film, part of Miu Miu’s Women’s Tales series.

Since Somebody is brand new, early adapters are integral to its creation – the most high-tech part of the app is not in the phone, it’s in the users who dare to deliver a message to stranger. “I see this as far-reaching public art project, inciting performance and conversation about the value of inefficiency and risk,” says July.

Somebody works best with a critical mass of users in a given area; colleges, workplaces, parties and concerts can become Somebody hotspots simply by designating themselves as one (details on somebodyapp.com).

Official Somebody hotspots so far include Los Angeles County Museum of Art (with a presentation by Ms. July on Sept. 11), The New Museum (presentation on Oct. 9), Yerba Buena Center for The Arts (San Francisco), Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, The Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), and Museo Jumex (Mexico City.) Museum-goers are invited to send and deliver messages in these spaces where there are likely to be other users.

Half-app / half-human, Somebody twists our love of avatars and outsourcing —every relationship becomes a three-way. The antithesis of the utilitarian efficiency that tech promises, here, finally, is an app that makes us nervous, giddy, and alert to the people around us.

“When you can’t be there… Somebody can.”

Visit somebodyapp.com for movie, media kit and details.

Some other big news:

Join VCFA at Meet-Ups in Portland, Seattle and Brooklyn!

VCFA Graphic Design MFA faculty and staff are hitting the road in September and we’re hosting several gatherings for alumni, faculty, students and prospective students. These gatherings are a chance to get together with VCFAers to talk about your craft, share memories, have fun and meet new friends.

Please join us for one (or more!) of these informal meet-ups:

Portland, OR
Friday, September 12 at 6:00 pm
Deschutes Brewery
210 Nw 11th Ave, Portland, OR 97209
(503) 296-4906

In attendance:
Academic Dean and GD faculty member Matt Monk
Graphic Design Faculty Yoon Soo Lee
Director of Student Recruitment Ann Cardinal ’07 W

Register for the Portland Meet-Up

Seattle, WA
Monday, September 15th at 7:00 pm
The board room and faculty/staff lounge
7th Floor, Main Campus Building
Cornish College of the Arts
1000 Lenora St., Seattle WA 98121

In attendance:
Academic Dean and GD faculty member Matt Monk
Graphic Design Faculty Yoon Soo Lee
Graphic Design Faculty Natalia Ilyin
Director of Student Recruitment Ann Cardinal ’07 W

Register for the Seattle Meet-Up


Our office will be closed for the month of August, as we will be taking a much-needed vacation. The studio’s office will reopen on September 1st.


TaDa! Opening Celebration
Saturday, August 9, 2014
116 Pleasant Street, Easthampton, MA


25 conceptual graphic designers from Vermont College of Fine Arts’ graduate program visualize “TaDa!” as graphic design using varied media, sizes, dimensionality, and styles.

The Masters of Graphic Design program at Vermont College of Fine Arts is less concerned with what graphic design should be and instead has embraced the idea of what graphic design could be. The students, faculty and alumni of the program have made a practice of using graphic design processes to produce what, at first glance, may not look like graphic design product.

In this exhibition, graphic design communicates through a visual medium. Graphic designers work on the screen, in print, and multi-dimensionally, with light and sound and intangibles and make incursions into territory traditionally occupied by other arts. The media of the works in this show range from embroidered pillowcases, to video, to painted wooden shapes, to upcycled car parts, to trash. The designers’ intend variously to heal, to challenge, and to create social change as well as to explore traditional design barriers and create communicative form. Two of the designers in the show, Christine Valerio and Rachael Hatley, have received national recognition for their community design projects. Troy Patterson received a Design Ignites Change Awards Program. Others have been exhibited in art shows across the country and written for design publications. The work that VCFA designers do is expanding the reach of design practice.

TaDa! is unique in that these works are not graphic design as fine art, but graphic design as a vehicle of communication. In the tradition of the VCFA educational model, each designer has used vigorous training in design — typography and visual hierarchy and color theory and design history —to “conjoin the visual with language and intention.” (Sondra Graff)

Emily Claire Coats says of her own work, “See This | Not This is a work of graphic design as it incorporates a variety of graphic elements, designed together to elicit participation from others and communicate between them. Because the finished work will reflect a collaborative effort and place a focus on the process of creating the piece, it may fall under the category of conditional design (where the process is the goal). However, the finished piece, including the additions of participants, is designed to create a visual conversation that explores the nuances of revealing oneself to others.” TaDa! recontextualizes preconceived notions of graphic design by shifts in form, content and thinking.

Leslie Tane, VCFA GD 10.2013, is a curator, designer, educator, and writer living in Easthampton, Massachusetts. After more than 20 years of design practice she currently works as a contributing writer for Beautiful/Decay and in the Art Discovery Center of the George Vincent Walker Smith Museum in Springfield, MA. Her design project Curatorial 365 is scheduled to be exhibited at Hosmer Gallery in Northampton, MA in 2015.


I recently participated in the XD24 International Design lecture roundtable and workshop at Hongik University, initiated by faculty member and amazing host Chris Ro.

I did my usual song and dance – this time about socioeconomic foundations and graphic design foundations.

Included were discussions of Fordism and Modernism,

as well as a suggestion as to socioeconomic order in the startup 2.0 age,

and a definition of graphic design in the startup 2.0 age.

The lecture was half-dystopian / half-utopian, as I see how most people see this Post-PostModern age as being. The other speakers were my fellow VCFA faculty Yoon Soo Lee and Ziddi Msangi, as well as Apple type designer Min Bon. The roundtable was moderated by Jiwon Lee, one of my favorite, favorite human beings.

Kwong Nayoung and Kkong Mira (above) provided amazing translation into English AND Japanese. Jungwook Kim provided general assistance.

The lecture was preceded by a workshop about oppositionality as a base methodology for constant engagement (and thus actual creativity and innovation) in graphic design.

Students were asked to create a visual kit-of-parts that was comprised of 25 formal elements (color, pattern, form, image, texture, type, and lettering) based on three speculative potential future vocations unreliant on the laws of physics.

They made weird stuff.

And they made interesting stuff.

But most of all, they made a lot of stuff, and they (including faculty member Chris Ro) stuck around for an extra six hours to ensure that everyone got a full critique. (Bonus: Chris and I bought pizza and beer for everyone.)

And then they mimicked the supernatural beings in Michael Jackson’s Thriller, with Chris being the Gloved One. It was, in short, awesome.



CalArts Magazine

I just got a nice writeup in the new issue of CalArts Magazine in a feature about Graphic Design Department alumni. It was good to be featured alongside some of my favorite compañeros and compañeras like Mark Kulakoff, Caroline Oh, Jon Sueda, Geoff McFetridge, Brian Roettinger, Hillary Greenbaum, and Andrea Tinnes. The issue’s design by Cassandra Chae and Jin Son is amazing, as well!


Kimbo plug-in for Adobe Illustrator

We just released a new/old piece of software today. It is called Kimbo. It is a plug-in for Adobe Illustrator CS6 and CC. You should check it out here.

Kimbo does magical, magical things with vectors – both in creating new shapes not natively in Illustrator and for assembling vector objects based on symmetry, abstraction and ornament.

Kimbo plug-in polar mesh effect

Kimbo is super versatile – check out the user manual to see how extensive it really is.


Print Magazine - VCFA

PRINT magazine’s August issue just named VCFA, the department in which I teach and co-chair as one of the top MFA Graphic Design programs in the U.S.


Kind of Like Spitting Tour CD

We just finished up designing a tour-only CD of oddball tracks and rarities for Kind of Like Spitting called “Professional Results”, which include a number of tracks from when Ben Gibbard of Deathcab for Cutie was in the band. Catch them on tour this summer!


I’m going to be giving a presentation about typography and type design tools called “Talking Type” at UXTalk in Tokyo on June 25th at 7pm at the Gengo offices. Details should be announced here shortly.


We just added in a bunch of new projects that we’ve completed over the past year.


JanTschichold Wordshape

We just picked up an amazing book that we are carrying over at Wordshape—the very best book on the work of Jan Tschichold to date!

JanTschichold Wordshape

The most comprehensive showing to date of the work of typography master Jan Tschichold—the father of New Typography. Published on the occasion of the retrospective exhibition of Tschichold’s work at Ginza Graphic Gallery in 2013, this beautifully designed and printed book covers an immense amount of his output. Included are type designs, book covers from all stages of his career, poster designs, interior typographic layouts, and hundreds of rare Tschichold works—all photographed beautifully.

JanTschichold Wordshape

The book also contains a new essay on the work of Tschichold by his biographer Christopher Burke, as well as an excellent essay on Tschichold’s interest and focus on Japan and Japanese aesthetics by Taro Yamamoto.

This title is highly recommended and is one of the most beautiful books we have ever carried, both in terms of content and design. 148 pages, beautifully written, photographed, designed and printed. You can, and you should, pick it up here.


I’m going to be doing a set of lectures and workshops in Seoul at Hongik University alongside my VCFA compadres Ziddi Msangi and Yoon Soo Lee, as well as with Apple designer Min Bon and Hongik faculty Chris Ro next month. Some amazing posters for the event: this one by Chae Jeongun.

This one by Seungtae Kim.

This poster by Daekeon Kim.

This one by Hong Aerin.

…and finally this one by Jaekook Han. Really awesome set of posters!


Jon Chandler

While in Korea recently, I was asked who my favorite comic artist was after explaining to a bunch of grad students why they should really read Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics, even after it was assigned to them and they still hadn’t read it.

My answer: Jonathan Chandler.


CalArts X Kookmin University Workshop

Just returned to Tokyo, having finished up a week-long slice of the two-week CalArts X Kookmin University Graphic Design workshop.

CalArts X Kookmin

The workshop had MFA and BFA students of CalArts and Kookmin conduct joint research on Seoul as a focus via a series of cultural studies. The main area of inquiry was the crucial role of one’s cultural background for understanding/expressing verbal and visual languages.

CalArts X Kookmin University Workshop

Other aspects of the workshop schedule included lectures by me and CalArts faculty Michael Worthington, a film screening by CalArts alumnus and Kookmin faculty Kelvin Park, and a hybrid exhibition/pop-up studio by the CalArts students at Common Center called We Love to Design in the Sun.

Ian Lynam lecture

I gave a lecture entitled The Graphic Designers/Type Designers/Design Teachers That Graphic Design History Forgot about the work of Bavarian designers Eugen Nerdinger and Lisa Beck.

Giant thanks to Jiwon Lee, Jae Hyouk-Sung and Michael Worthington for inviting me to participate.




I have a new essay published in the book Creators’ Bookmarks 2 published by G Colon in Korea.

The essay is about desks, most notably the desks where I work.

An excerpt:

“I used to hack out ‘zines from a desk under my loft bed in Oakland, California. I had a really nice, expansive work area in an apartment in Portland, Oregon the first time I lived alone. I had another one in Shibuya a few years ago. I’ve had a lot of shitty desks between the two—dank ones in Los Angeles and Portland; cold, unfeeling ones in New York; bright and airy desks in Berkeley and Los Angeles. It’s a never-ending parade of places where I’ve worked.

But the ones where I’ve done my best work are the ones that were not desks at all—a lawn chair on a veranda and a family restaurant table, both in Tokyo, accompanied by sunshine and by really bad pizza (and never-ending refills). To fetishize the physical environs of the graphic design studio is to do it a disservice—most designers I know do not own their own homes. Their work areas are temporary—either at employers’ offices or in rented or leased properties. These are not the liminal spaces of dreams—they are the raw concrete of limited means. 

It’s an affront when we see the neat and tidy white-painted concrete box offices that are flouted in Graphic Design documentaries like Helvetica and in books like Unit Editions’ Studio Culture. The lone office semi-worth working in that I have spied via widely-disseminated media to date is Geoff McFetridge’s studio in the film Beautiful Losers. Why? Because it was a mess. It speaks of the nature of humanity and not trying to fit into the mold of wannabe-architects’ tidy Modulor boxes. That’s where I live and where I want to live.”



I spent the day in Los Angeles on May 16 at a study day at LACMA weighing in on how the museum might approach curating a collection of graphic design alongside graphic design luminaries Lorraine Wild (LACMA), Victor Margolin (University of Illinois / Design Issues), Andrew Blauvelt (Walker Art Center), Paola Antonelli (New York MoMA), Benjamin Weiss (Boston Museum of Fine Art), Marina Garone Gravier (National Hemerotec of Mexico), and many of the best design curators, critics, and historians working today.

I presented this timeline of Japanese Graphic Design History in my efforts to show how a Japanese Graphic Design collection might be given form through both the inclusion of Japanese graphic design periodicals, as well as providing touchstones for being comprehensive in assessing the canon of Japanese Graphic Design.

The timeline is very much a work-in-progress, but it’s helpful in helping to provide a rudimentary narrative of the history of Graphic Design in Japan.

Many thanks to Wendy Kaplan, Staci Steinberger, Britt Salvesen, Claudine Dixon, Minyoung Park, Lorraine Wild, and everyone at LACMA, as well as Anne Coco at the Margaret Herrick Library for organizing such a terrific event!

Photo by Victor Margolin


We had an excellent final class at Meme Design School this past weekend—tons of great work and excellent critiques by teachers Akiyama Shin, Shirai Yoshihisa, and Meme founder Nakagaki Nobuo.



I have an essay called “The Empire of Grey” in issue #23 of Slanted. This issue is all about Swiss typography. An excerpt:

In the introduction to the classic book Empire of Signs by Roland Barthes, the author summons forth a fictive landscape of signs and symbols without tangible connection to meaning within. It is a country where sign and meaning are divorced. A place whose language consists of intimation and suggestion, but never direct articulation—it is layers of overlaid shifting gauze of semiotic mystery and displacement in the stead of the absolute. He then goes on to name the place “Japan”. Within the book, he is both talking about the nation state of Japan and about the “Japan” that exists in his mind (as well as, in particular in the introduction to the book, an imagined, fictive other place which just happens to be saddled with the moniker “Japan”).

It’s both the second and third versions of “Japan” in this book that interest me, especially in the context of this essay—a place that as a global community, we retain a series of impressions of, stereotypes toward, and collective ideas about, even if we have never visited that place.While Japan may be exceedingly important to people studying semiotics and young people across a strata of interests across the world seeking their “otaku moment”, there is another simultaneously fictional and very, very real place that is firmly rooted in the minds of graphic designers… I name this place “Switzerland”.


Jennifer Renko, our amazing Program Director at VCFA will be in Boston next week for the HOW Conference. Be sure to swing through and say “‘hello” if you will be attending!


I contributed an essay to the new book 20th Century Editorial Odyssey compiled by Yuichi Akata and Barbora, collecting their writings on the development of the 20th Century subculture-focused independent press which was just published by Seibundo Shinkosha. The book is an amazing guided tour through some of the most engaging publications of the past 100 years including The Whole Earth Catalog, The Picture Newspaper, Now, Heaven, Zoo, and many, many more. From hippie magalogs to punk zines to high fashion glossies to doujinshi, the book charts a unique course through active readership and its affect on culture.

My essay focuses on Wet, the “Magazine of Gourmet Bathing”, published and steered by Leonard Koren in the 1970s and 1980s. It was previously published in Idea #352.


Ian Lynam Meme Design School

I did a lecture at Meme Design School yesterday on American Graphic Design History.

Road Trip lecture

The lecture was called “Road Trip” and was about social, economic, and graphic mobility in America, all framed by the windshield – America’s equivalent of the grid. Over the course of an hour-plus, I went over the tenets of American graphic design from the pre-Modern period to the Modern period to the PostModern period.

graphic design defined

First, we got down to brass tacks as to what this thing called “Graphic Design” really is, or at least how I define it.

While the historical aspect was great and introduced students to a number of designers they might have been previously unfamiliar with, perhaps the most important part of the lecture was helping to define the concepts of Modernism and PostModernism from an American perspective, heavily informed by R. Roger Remington’s book American Modernism. These ideas are things that many undergraduate and post-graduate graphic design students stumble over.

Modernism defined, Part 1: Process Values 


– to reject traditional forms and decorative elements
– 伝統的な形式と装飾の要素を拒絶する

– to seek a solution that was simple and direct
– 簡潔で単刀直入な解決法を探す

– to be concerned with the process by which the designer worked
– デザイナーが使ったプロセスの成り行きを意識する

– to use systematic methods rather than intuitive ones
– 直感よりも、秩序と体系に基づいた方法を使う

– to use rational, objective approaches to the solving of a graphic problem
– グラフィックデザインの問題を解決する際、合理的で客観的なアプローチを使う

– to think about relationships in form and content
– 形式と内容の関係について考える

Modernism defined, part 2: Formal visual values 


– to use geometric shapes: the circle, the triangle and the square
– 幾何学的な形を使う:円、正三角形、正四角形

Interestingly, one of the facts rarely mentioned in the mythos of the Bauhaus was how notoriously sexist the school was—women were denied instruction in architecture, graphic design and product design and were instead relegated to the field of textile design. (In essence, the message from the Bauhaus to its female students was, “Nice tits, now go weave”.)


Modernism defined, part 3: Typography 


– to use sans serif typefaces
– サンセリフ体を使う

– to show contrast in typographical material
– タイポグラフィ間のコントラストをつける

– to base work on pragmatic issues printing, paper sizes, photo engraving, standardization
– プリント技術、紙のサイズ、写真製版、標準化などの実用性を念頭において作業する

Modernism defined, part 4: Imagery


– The use of photographs and photomontage rather than drawings or illustrations
– スケッチやイラストよりも写真やモンタージュを使う

– The use of silhouetted photographs with white backgrounds
– 白い背景のシルエット写真を使う

– The use of maps and diagrams
– 案内図と略図を使う

– The use of graphic symbols and icons
– 図記号とアイコンを使う

Modernism defined, part 5: Organization


– the use of asymmetric page layout
– 非対称のページレイアウトを使う

– The use of a grid or clearly delineated page-organizing method
– 方眼紙やしっかりと線引きされたページでまとめる

– to apply a planned visual hierarchy in the manner in which the graphic elements were integrated
– グラフィック要素を総括した方法をもとに考えられたビジュアル階層を適用する

– to know and apply perceptual laws (I.e. Keeping elements grouped)
– 知覚の法則を知り、適用する(要素をグループ分けする)

– to apply continuity in page flow
– ページフローの継続性を適用する

This was all backed-up by looking at a survey of American Modern designers like Cipe Pineles and Louis Danziger (their work pictured above), and ran the gamut from Paul Rand to Alvin Lustig to William Golden to Saul Bass, including a large selection of work by European immigrants’ work, including Will Burtin, Alexey Brodovitch, Dr. M.F. Agha, and innumerable others.

We also got into Lorraine Wild’s concepts about graphic design in the 1950s being split into two fairly discernible camps: consumer modern, graphic design which aggressively targeted the general public; and high modern, which was the business of selling design itself to corporations and potential clients.

rob roy kelly

We went over developments in graphic design in the 1960s and 1970s, as well, including the work of Aaron Burns, Pushpin Studios, Rob Roy Kelly, and the psychedelic poster movement in San Francisco, including each of these practitioners’ contextual relevance and impact in terms of graphic design in Japan.

This was followed by an explanation of the development of PostModern graphic design, starting with the introduction of the term in the 1977 exhibition, “postmodern typography: recent American developments” organized by Bill Bonnell.

PostModernism defined, part one: Principles


– complexity

– contradiction

– dystopian / non-utopian / deals with the world on its own terms

– appropriation

PostModernism defined, part two: Principles


 – juxtaposition / fractured meaning

– recontextualization

– layering

– interaction of text and image

– hybridity

These ideas were supplemented by a survey of American PostModernist work – from Dan Friedman to Ed Fella, and April Greiman to Lorraine Wild.

From there, I explained the devolution of the inquiries of semiotics and experimentation as a basis of studio practice as instigated at the Cranbrook Academy of Art into the dumbed-down “grunge” aesthetic as exemplified by the work of David Carson, through American graphic designers’ interest into systems-based design, and into the contemporary moment in American graphic design.

The past 13 years have been characterized by a mix of previous graphic styles. Most American graphic design can be summarized as “a little bit country, a little bit rock ‘n roll”. Expressive formal experimentation is often accompanied by retro typographic treatments, and occasionally underpinned by a modern grid.

I summed up the state of graphic design in the U.S. of A. in this final statement:

“It seems that the time for dogma graphic design is over in America—there is just a stretch of infinite highway out in front of us, and simultaneously everywhere and nowhere to go at once, all framed by the windshield.”

Ian Lynam Meme Design School

Afterward, the students participated in a workshop I called “Looking Through the Windshield” about the analysis of spatial hierarchy, and how we can translate that hierarchy from a photograph to a typographic composition.

Ian Lynam Meme Design School

Loosely based on Jeffery Keedy of CalArts’ first two steps of his “1-10 Project”, the students used a numeric hierarchy to evaluate provided imagery and then use Letraset dry transfer lettering, Formatt adhesive lettering, and lettering stencils to create poetic typographic interpretations of their hierarchy.

Ian Lynam Meme Design School

All-in-all, it was a really rewarding day followed up by a lengthy chat with many of the students over coffee at a nearby café – the whole experience was the perfect introduction to teaching at Meme – a good mix of ideas and hands-on synthesis of what was discussed in class.


VCFA co-chair

We just finished up our latest MFA in Graphic Design residency at VCFA – loads of amazing work from returning students, insanely talented new students, and a motivated and hungry class that graduated. The residency included a bit of a surprise, as well – in July, I will be starting as Co-Chair of the program with my good friend N. Silas Munro. Stay posted for more exciting news from VCFA!!


Poster Collection 26: Japan – Nippon, a book I spent a significant amount of time working on as a co-editor just came out.

Published by Lars Müller, it’s a 112-page book with tons of images of Japanese posters from the early Modern period through today.

We also recently redesigned the identity for Kokusai Soushoku, one of Tokyo’s most successful interior design and production companies. It was a giant honor to be asked, given that the original mark was designed by the grandfather of the owner Junichiro Kawanishi in 1931. From Isetan to Mitsukoshi to Louis Vuitton to Tod’s, Kokusai’s handiwork is everywhere, virtually holding up the luxury sector in Tokyo.


I’ve been re-posting a number of older essays that are and aren’t going to be in my upcoming book over at DMIJ as of late. Check them out here, here, and here. Next up: a new essay in the new issue of Slanted, a workshop in Korea, and a bunch more for-now-clandestine projects…


CalArts 2014 T-Shirt Show

Last night after a grueling day and night of making user interface designs, I snuck this tee shirt design in for CalArts’ Graphic Design Department’s 2014 T-Shirt Show.

CalArts 2014 T-Shirt Show

The annual show, in the words of alumna Thea Lorentzen from a recent issue of IDEA:

As far as traditions go, the CalArts T-shirt show is a relatively new phenomenon. The first event was held just ten years ago. Today, current students and faculty as well as alumni contribute designs that are then screen printed onto t-shirts and sold to the rest of the school, as well as visitors. The frenzy begins during t-shirt printing. For one long day, the lab fills up with design students, all with inked hands and dirty rags, ready to fold and print over 60 patterns and as many as 400 shirts. The t-shirt show and sale take place on a Thursday night during the CalArts gallery openings. Hordes of students that would normally be wandering freely through the halls actually line up to buy t-shirts and tote bags. The line can extend out from the cafeteria and back into the galleries. The t-shirt designs themselves might be simple or intricate, disgusting or humorous. Sometimes they make fun of how little sleep students get. Sometimes they announce how much we love Walt Disney. Ed Fella’s designs always sell out first. But all designs proudly bear the name of the school, and in doing so, remind us of why everyone is excited enough to wait in line.


CalArts 2014 T-Shirt Show

Over 30 years ago, before he was a teacher at CalArts, Ed Fella lived in Detroit. The local arts organization made some bumper stickers that said “Ya gotta have art.” Ever the contrarian, Ed made his own bumper stickers which read, “Art is an ethnocentric cultural construct that you don’t gotta have.”

This shirt design is a Japanese localization with as much nuance applied to the meaning as possible which reads, “美術は自文化中心主義的な社会構造であり、なくてもいいものである”. The linguistic and orthographic disconnect seemed somehow appropriate, but that’s also what happens when you design something at 5am.


I have started re-releasing a handful of older essays on Ben Thomas’ new website Design Made in Japan. The first one is up now – an essay on Japanese Modernism.



Spectra, a book featuring the work of the CalArts GD classes of 2013, is out now. What follows is text culled from the official press release:

Released in January 2014, Spectra, a slim, fluorescent volume, is the first comprehensive collection of student work from California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) Graphic Design Program in over a decade. Spectra showcases the work of CalArts’ Graphic Design class of 2013. Representing a range of values along more than one continuum—from print to electronic media, personal work to collaborative efforts—the work displays a fluidity between concept-driven and formal solutions.

Spectra’s co-editor Benjamin Woodlock comments on the concept behind the publication. “Whereas a single spectrum describes a smooth path with infinite values in between, the geometry of many is flecked with intersections that are distinct points of reference. Spectra examines these nodes, suggesting threads that run through individual bodies of work as well as well as the work of the Graphic Design Program as a whole.” Adds co-editor Sarah Faith Gottesdiener, “We wanted to give the world a look into our program as a whole, as well as document work produced under the tutelage of noted faculty member, Ed Fella, who retired from teaching this year.”

The publication features a one part honest, one part depressing, one part inspirational introduction essay from noted Graphic Design Program alumnus Ian Lynam, who currently lives and works in Tokyo. Current faculty Lorraine Wild and Gail Swanlund also contributed essays.

Spectra uses typefaces by CalArts alumnae Jens Gehlhaar and Andrea Tinnes. The book was designed and edited by recent MFA grads Sarah Faith Gottesdiener and Benjamin Woodlock.

The book will be for sale at the LA Book Fair, January 31st to February 2nd at the Leisure Labor Table (run by CalArts Graphic Design alums Laura Bernstein, Scott Massey, and Masato Nakada).

Limited edition copies can be purchased for $15 + shipping starting in February by contacting Sarah.gottesdiener@gmail.com.



DC/LA hardcore enthusiast and graphic designer Alex Pines will be lecturing in my Graphic Design 2 class at Temple University Japan on February 6th at noon. You are invited!


A couple of interlinked Graphic Design II and III projects from the upcoming semester at Temple University Japan:


Reading: In Defense of the Poor Image by Hito Steyerl
Reading: DDDDoomed by R. Gerald Nelson
Reading/research: trendlist.org

The proliferation of Pinterest has shown that the aggregation of others’ imagery is a striking component of contemporary culture. Simultaneously, contemporary Graphic Design has taken on aggressively reductive, repetitive tendencies.

Collect 20 images from the internet, treat in Photoshop using halftones and linescreens, give your collection a title, then design an image-driven A5 booklet using solely the stylistic tropes from trendlist.org.

Print your booklet with a 4-color cover and 1-color interiors.


Reading: The Global Style by Mr. Keedy

Write 500 critical words on the reading in prose form expressing your opinions, then using the raw material from your Karma Chameleon booklet, design an expressive image-driven A5 booklet in your own style. Print your booklet with a 4-color cover and 1-color interiors.


We wrote up our best of 2013 bits over at Néojaponisme a few days ago. See them here.

Also, Typodarium 2014 was just released – Slanted’s font-a-day tear-off calendar. Ed Benguiat, Luc(as) de Groot, Veronika Burian and I served as this year’s panel of judges, selecting our favorite fonts of the year for inclusion.

You can pick it up here.


I wrote up a “Best of” Japanese typography for 2013 for PingMag a few weeks ago – you can see it here.


I will be joining the MeMe Design School in Tokyo as an instructor for 2014.

On Saturday, January 18, there will be one-night exhibition of a collaborative 4-poster set by graphic designers Ian Lynam and Ed Fella in Tokyo at 35minutesmen in Arai Yakushi.

Printed in an edition of 100 each, the set of posters will be given away to the first 100 visitors to the exhibition.

Posters and flyers by Fella and Lynam from the 1990s through today will be on exhibit.

Kamitakada 5-47-8, Nakano-ku, Tokyo
(Arai Yakushi Station on the Seibu Shinjuku Line)
Saturday January 18, 2014
6pm – 9pm

More details on the Facebook Event page.


Slanted’s 22nd issue is out now.

The theme of the issue is “Art Type” – exploring typography at the edge of art, or art at the edge of typography.

I wrote an essay about Jiwon Lee, an amazing Korean graphic/type designer, design writer, design critic and design educator working in Seoul.

Also in this issue is the first piece of writing in a while from CalArts faculty, type designer, and essayist Mr. Keedy. I am really excited to read what he has written for this issue of Slanted.

Graphic designer and CalArts faculty Michael Worthington is interviewed within.

As is CalArts retired faculty and exit-level designer Ed Fella.

I am excited about this issue as it highlights the work and writing of some of my immediate influences from graduate school and professional practice. Lee, Keedy, Worthington, and Fella have all contributed greatly to how I work, how I think about work, how I write, and how I practice. It’s excellent to be in such great company.


Japanese Modernism exhibition by Ian Lynam

While at VCFA in October, I curated a micro-exhibition of books and printed ephemera that charted the development of Japanese Modernist Graphic Design called Japanese Modernism Unearthed that accompanied my lecture The Winners and Losers of History: The Emergence of Graphic Design in Japan.

This tabletop exhibition was a project in providing a tactile analogue to a lecture, allowing students to handle the materials (without gloves!) and to make observations about the material discussed outside of how it was editorially framed in the lecture.

The media included:

Elementary English Course
W.E.L. Sweet
This 1910 book was printed by Japan’s first type foundry, and is an example of the high quality of typography provided by the Tsukiji Type Foundry, the brainchild of Shōzō Motoki. Shōzō developed Japan’s first sustainable system of moveable type technology for printing (and Japan’s first typography school) in 1869, with the assistance of the Irish American missionary William Gamble in Nagasaki.

Matsumoto Takashi
A geometry text book with a stunning two-color title page circa 1926. This book is proof that Japanese graphic designers and typographers had a thorough early understanding of Classical title page composition and localized the form with exceeding results.

高等小學 毛筆畫手本 男生用 第三學年 / Koutou Shougaku Mouhitsuga Tehon Dansei You Dai san Gakunen
文部省 (Ministry of Education)
A lovely annotated manual of illustration which shows the rigor expected of budding illustrators in 1905. Some images are traced and others are broken into perspective grids by the previous owner, most likely a boy aged 10 to 14.

寳塚 少女歌劇脚本集 / Takarazuka Revue Playbook
宝塚歌劇団 (Takarazuka Revue)
A look at the “Moga” / Modern Girl aesthetic from a 1932 magazine for the famous Takurazaka Revue and Theater School in Hyōgo Prefecture, noted for it’s all-female casts women of that time. The Playbook features unique lettering throughout, images of women and women’s fashion from that era of feminization in Japan, and a beautiful, if off-kilter cover illustration.

テァトロ / La Teatro
An immediate post-World War II theater magazine published in Tokyo that shows the vertical orthographic form that Japanese typesetting took in 1948. Wonderful cover lettering that shows the post-War turn toward showcard-influenced lettering.

現代商業美術全集 / The Complete Commercial Artist
Sugiura Hisui, editor
Published from 1927 to 1930, this was one of Japan’s most important graphic design publication at that time, providing commercial art and design in all its forms from both Japan and the world. Foreign and domestic application of design trends and theories were catalogued within. One cannot fathom how important this journal was to Japanese graphic designers, as it brought the world to their local bookshop.

中學圖畫 / Art Text for Middle School
美育振興會 (Government Publishing House)
Chugaku Zuga is a fine art textbook from 1931. It is notable for its last page, introducing lettering and commercial art to students via lavish bilingual lettering.

三河國 國寶社噐械製絲
Mikawa Silk Manufacturing
A label for a package of raw silk from approximately 1890. The silk was manufactured in Mikawa no Kuni (Mikawa Province)—a now-defunct area that comprises the eastern half of Aichi prefecture.

伊呂波引紋帳大全 / Irohahikimonchoudaizen
Wada Shōzō
1885 manual of “kamon” / 家紋, traditional family crests, acceptable ornament, and usual application to Japanese clothing of that time.

洋酒まめ天国 / A piece of liquor heaven
Yanagihara Ryohei, editor, designer
Suntory’s house ‘style guide’ for the swinging gentleman of the mid-to-late 1950s and 1960s. Yoshu Mame Tengoku featured sexploitative illustrative covers by Yanagihara himself, as well as racy nude photography and explicit sexual illustration (with j-u-s-t the right amount of detail left out to not enrage censors) by Yokoo Tadanori to illustrate the bawdy tales within.

横尾忠則 / The Complete Yokoo Tadanori
横尾忠則 / Yokoo Tadanori, editor, designer
A collection of Yokoo’s work up until 1978, immediately prior to his near-death experience and decision to stop producing graphic design for much of the 1980s. This book is notable because it was edited and designed by Yokoo himself and bears traces of the darkness, vanity and egoism that permeates so much of his work. It is a beautifully, lovingly designed book and an amazing work that sums up the best of Yokoo’s career from the mid 1960s.

商業デザイン全集 / The World’s Commercial Art
Aai Sen, Hara Hiromu, Hijikata Teiichi, Imatake Shichiro, Katsumi Masaru, Kamekura Yusaku, Kono Takashi, Koike Shinji, Takiguchi Shuzo, Yamana Ayao; editorial board
Within Shogyo Design Zenshu, foreign work and domestic Japanese design work were placed side-by-side, creating a literal in-step reference for how Japanese design fit into the global continuum. This is a collection of the first four issues from 1952 through 1954, published in 1955.

造型思考ノート / (literally, Notes on Making and Looking) / Thinking Eye
Awazu Kiyoshi
This 1974 book is a loose design theory book by Modern master Awazu Kiyoshi, one of the founders of the Metabolist movement of graphic design and architecture—a post-war Japanese architectural movement that fused ideas about architectural megastructures with those of organic biological growth. Awazu is notable for his persistent leftist/Labor-oriented political leanings throughout his career.

カメラ / Camera #7
A notable 1939 photography magazine that exhorted readers to investigate both photojournalism and Moholy-Nagy-style “typo-photo”. Camera is notable for its display lettering in advertisements and “slice of life” examinations of the upper class following the explosion of photography as a leisure pursuit in Japan.

のらくろ伍長 / Corporal Norakuro
Takamizawa Michinao
Literally “Corporal Blackie the Stray Dog”, Norakuro is the tale of an amiable, aloof and earnest stray dog who attempts to pitch in to support his country by joining the Fierce Dogs Brigade, a stand-in for the Japanese Army. This lavishly designed 1969 reprint of a 1933 volume. Norakuro’s creator, Takamizawa Michinao, was a member of the revolutionary avant garde art/design/architecture group MAVO in the early 1920s, a little-discussed link between proletarian graphic design and the then-nascent form of manga. Interestingly, despite widespread appeal and the nationalistic message the manga conveys, Norakuro’s production was forcibly ceased in 1941, immediately pre-war, due to it’s message being “frivolous” by the Press Unit of the Army of Japan. The importance of this manga cannot be understated, as it was the main influence on Tezuka Osamu, “The Father of Manga”, in his childhood, and what pushed him to be a manga cartoonist.


We just had two more amazing lectures in my design class at Temple University Japan to round out the Visual Playlist theme for the class this semester.

Cameron McKean, editor of Too Much Magazine, lectured on utopian/dystopian communities and architecture, the rise of Brutalism in Graphic Design and Architecture, and the development of contemporary design aesthetics.

It was a rousing lecture that touched on Father Yod, 032c, Purple, cults, and so much more.

Noel Callan of TUJ/Debt Maggots/Anti-Whales gave a rousing lecture on the intersection of Phenomenology and Graphic Design through music packaging and the sensory pitfalls of Big Data.

Noel’s amazing presentation included this gem of a quotable, “In our lives, our experience of ourselves is more akin to a song than to an image”, echoing Husserl’s ideas of ‘now’ being comprised of the present, as well as memory and the assumed future.

An immense round of thanks to Cameron, Noel and Taro Nettleton for presenting amazing lectures to the class – it made for a really unique semester for myself and the students!


Wit and Design

An extensive range of our work is featured in the new book Wit and Design by GooRyong Kang, published by G Colon in Korea.

GooRyong Kang's Wit and Design

The book also features a lengthy interview with me, and a handsomely shot portrait photo by Mr. Patrick Tsai. I should note, the book is all in Korean, and in case you weren’t sure, my name in Korean transliterates to 이안 라이넘.


World Atlas of StreetArt and Graffiti

I wrote an essay about Tokyo graffiti in the new book, The World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti, published by Quarto and Yale University Press.


제14회 국민대학교 조형전, 조형콘퍼런스 'IM' 페이지입니다.

I will be speaking at the 14th Chohyung Exhibition and Conference (제14회 국민대학교 조형전, 조형콘퍼런스 ‘IM’ 페이지입니다) in Seoul on November 8th and 9th. I will be speaking about Timelessness versus Timeliness in Graphic Design for one lecture, and about the Emergence of Japanese Graphic Design for the second. If you are in Seoul, please do come join us!

Other speakers include Mr. Keedy from CalArts, Chris Ro from Kookmin and Hongik Universities, and many other academics and designers across multiple media from the U.S., Japan, Korea, and elsewhere!

More on Facebook.

제14회 국민대학교 조형전, 조형콘퍼런스 ‘IM’ 페이지입니다.
The 14th Chohyung Exhibition and Conference
전시 : 11월 8일~17일

The official description:
전시: 11월 8일~17일
콘퍼런스: 11월 8일~10일
국민대학교 조형대학

Exhibition: Friday, November 8th – Sunday November 17th
Conference: Friday, November 8th – Sunday November 10th
College of Design, Kookmin University

국민대학교 조형전, 조형콘퍼런스는 우리 시대의 디자인과 디자인 교육을 얘기하고자 합니다. 이성적이면서 직관적인, 전문적이지만 모두가 공유하는, 눈에 띄지 않지만 어디에나 존재하는 디자인을 끌어내어 얘기하고자 합니다. 문화와 산업에 긴밀하게 얽힌 사회활동으로서의 디자인은 어떤 개인이나 집단의 독단적인 생각으로 형성될 수 없습니다. 디자인에 대해 말하고자 한다면 먼저 주변과 동료를 진지하게 살피는 것이 우선입니다. 그래서 우리는 조형전, 조형콘퍼런스를 주목해야 합니다. 이곳에 모이는 국내외 디자이너, 교육자, 비평가, 학생은 서로를 바라보고 얘기함으로써 현재 디자인 사회의 모습을 나눌 것입니다. 한국 디자인 사회의 가장 생생한 현장을 목격하세요.

We are here to share ideas about design and design education of our time at the Chohyung Exhibition and Conference. We are to share a discourse about our area which is logical and intuitive, professional and public, transparent and omnipresent. Design as a social study and activity cannot be built by a dogmatic idea by individuals. To truly understand this area, we must look around our colleagues. Come and join this pleasant event in Kookmin University, Seoul. Witness the most vivid moment of our peer community.

Nodai Lab

On an unrelated note, we have been busy extending the identity for Tokyo NODAI‘s (National University of Agriculture) Center for International Japanese Garden Studies’ assorted departments and research initiatives.


TUJ Graphic Design Glow Spatial Hierarchy project

We tried a new project the other day in my Graphic Design 2 class at Temple University Japan, and I’m excited about the process and results.

Computer Imaging II at TUJ

I asked the students to create geometric form using glow-in-the-dark iron-on material and then apply the material to black tee shirts.

TUJ Glow

We then put on our tee shirts and examined different spatial hierarchies by composing ourselves as the design elements in the windowless 3D design studio with the lights off.

Each class member took a turn directing, and once a composition was created (in essence, designed and choreographed), it was documented by the directing individual using a digital camera with a wide aperture and slow shutter speed.

In general, it was a really fun experiential group project that allowed each student to design without using the computer while still using fairly complex form.


VCFA Thesis Show

The inaugural graduating class of the VCFA MFA Graphic Design program will be exhibiting their Thesis Show from October 14-19 at VCFA.
It’s a really exciting thing—to work with these amazing folks. I’m really proud of each and every one of them. Each has sweated blood to bring his or her thesis to life, and I am amped to be with them during their thesis presentations and to be with them as they graduate.
See more:


An expanded version of my essay “Japanese Graphic Design: Not in Production” was just published over at Modes of Criticism.


Ian Lynam X D. V. D'Andrea

A new poster for the Fall Into Darkness festival in Portland featuring Nik Turner’s Space Ritual (ex-Hawkwind) and many others. The poster is a collaboration with David D’Andrea, my old rooomate and good friend. Borne out of a mutual love for the work of Hawkwind designer Barney Bubbles, we dreamed up this collaboration, screened in multiple colors on black paper in homage to the late, ever-great Mr. Colin Fulcher.


Essayist, critic, translator, zine editor and educator Taro Nettleton will be giving a lecture in my design class at Temple University today at noon in Room 507 in Azabu Hall. The lecture is open to the public. Nettleton will be lecturing on the theme of “The Visual Playlist” – presenting an image-based mixtape of album covers which have helped shape contemporary visual culture.


We got a sweet little writeup in the CalArts blog today.


David Matthew Davis and Thea Lorentzen designed these amazing ten-color silkscreened posters for Kiyonori Muroga and my recent trip to CalArts for our Idea Magazine workshop and lecture  at the school.

Thank you, guys!!!


The Letterfirm exhibition opening went off amazingly well. Over 250 folks stopped in to check out the work, have a few drinks and bob their heads to the amazing sounds of DJ E*Rock.

Thanks to the TypeCon team for inviting us to have the exhibition and mega-thanks to Reading Frenzy for making it happen!

All photos by Bitna Chung Photography.


The latest issue of Idea Magazine – #360 – is out now. It features a 96-page feature that I edited, designed and wrote big chunks of.

For a week, Idea Editor-in-Chief Kiyonori Muroga and I stayed in Valencia, the home of CalArts, to “work on a design research/writing/making/collecting/documenting project about CalArts itself, it’s history, it’s current state, ephemera, and researching in a very open way”, making CalArts both the laboratory and the subject.

The result is an image-rich look at the past few generations of CalArts alumni, the work of faculty and related projects.

Included is work by Ed Fella, Lorraine Wild, Mr. Keedy, Caryn Aono, Scott Zukowski, Silas Munro, Tasheka Arceneaux-Sutton, Mark Kulakoff, Corey Holms, Jon Sueda, Geoff McFetridge, Megan McGinley, Max Erdenberger, Brian Roettinger, Scott Massey, Andrea Tinnes, Tim Belonax, John Wiese, Jae Hyouk-Sung, Micah Hahn, Michael Worthington, Gail Swanlund, Louise Sandhaus, and many, many others.

The feature is crammed to the gills with bilingual essays and interviews.

You can pick up a copy here.


The Letterfirm Reader

I’ve put together a 44-page booklet of recent graphic design and typography-related writing for the upcoming Letterfirm exhibition at TypeCon. The booklet, printed with loving care by Portland’s amazing Eberhardt Press, will be available at the exhibition opening and will be distributed for free to all TypeCon attendees in their burgeoning goodie bags.


Slanted Magazine

I have a feature in the new issue of Slanted Magazine that was published for the Babylon type conference.

It’s a bit different than the usual stuff I do for Slanted – no design criticism, design history or overt essay this time. The piece is a documentation of a speculative science fiction film that I have been making.

This issue of Slanted will not be distributed internationally on newsstands as it is for a type conference in Thailand, but you can order a copy here.


Wordshape type foundry at Creative Market

Our type foundry Wordshape is now offering all of our fonts over at Creative Market.


A nice sample of our typeface family Vaud in use by the awesome Hugo Roussel at Studio Punkat for le maison de Jean Prouvé in Nancy.


India Type Foundry

We’re very pleased to announce that we’ve partnered with Indian Type Foundry, offering our foundry Wordshape’s digital typefaces to Indian customers from ITF’s website. Satya Rajpurohit, ITF’s principal, is a great individual, amazing designer and a hard worker. We’re really looking forward to working together!


While no one was looking, we have snuck out our new identity.

In lieu of a solitary logo, we have crafted a collection of characters derived from assorted symbologies and syllabaries that functions as a modular logo family.

The treatment was extended in our print collateral, in conjunction with an extended set of graphic form.


letterfirm exhibition

In association with TypeCon, I am curating Letterfirm, an exhibition of international expressive typography, that will be held at Reading Frenzy in Portland in their new space.

The details:
August 20 – September 18
Reading Frenzy
3628 N. Mississippi
Portland, Oregon 97227

The participants:
Aaron Winters (Sacramento)
Gail Swanlund (Los Angeles)
Chris Ro (Seoul)
Thomas Kracauer (Los Angeles)
Thea Lorentzen (Los Angeles)
Scott Massey (Los Angeles)
Jiwon Lee (Seoul)
Masato Nakada (Los Angeles)
Sarah Gottesdiener (Los Angeles)
Yasmin Gibson (Los Angeles)
Ed Fella (Los Angeles)
Silas Munro (Miami)
Ian Lynam (Tokyo)
Michael Worthington (Los Angeles)
Jae-Hyouk Sung (Seoul)
Benjamin Woodlock (Los Angeles)
David Matthew Davis (Tokyo)
Troy Patterson (York)
Kat Catmur (Los Angeles)
Hiyoshi Inumaru (Tokyo)
Alex Pines (Los Angeles)
Everything Type Company (Kyle Blue & Geoff Halber) (New York)
Mylinh Trieu Nguyen (Miami)


letterseed korean typography journal

I have a new essay in Letterseed 201306, the journal of the Korean Society of Typography called “Work In Progress” about the transitory nature of design research, the proliferation of retrograde aesthetics and the cult of the Risograph.

This issue of Letterseed includes other writing by Ahn Sang-soo, Chris Ro, David Cabianca, Jae-joon Hahn, Hyun Cho, Jiwon Lee and others.


Cern fonts

Our new typeface family Cern is now available via YouWorkForThem – on sale for the next month – 40 typefaces for $49!


I organized an exhibition at VCFA called “Plenty For All: Recent Work from CalArts” in April. The exhibition consisted of printed matter and posters from CalArts including both printed posters from the past few years and the printed booklets and ephemera that comprised the results of my and Kiyonori Muroga’s recent workshop with the BFA4 and MFA students at CalArts.

Recent work from CalArts at VCFA

The exhibition was very well-received. The students, faculty, administration and general public truly enjoyed the exhibition.

Plenty For All: Recent work from CalArts at VCFA

Exhibition participants:

MFA2: Izaak Berenson  Nate Blowers   Kat Dickinson  Christine Do   Amanda Gartman   Stefano Giustiniani   Sarah Faith Gottesdiener   Tom Kracauer   Catherine Lee   Thea Lorentzen   Alex Pines   Tara Tannenbaum   Ben Woodlock

Plenty For All: Recent work from CalArts at VCFA

MFA1: Edwin Alvarenga  Kat Catmur  SoYun Cho  Colomba Cruz  Ryan Hines  Juyoung Kim  David Robinson  Calvin Rye  Sajad Salehi  Sarah Shoemake

Plenty For All: Recent work from CalArts at VCFA

PMFA: Cassandra Cisneros  Jacob Halpern  Sarah Honeth  Jessica Kao  Dili Osuhor  Jenny Song

Plenty For All: Recent work from CalArts at VCFA

BFA4: Pierre Nguyen Sally Alvarado Dasom Kim Jenee Jernigan Dawoon Jeung  Nikki Lee Edvin Lynch Christina Rodriguez Chris Burnett Hyunsoo Kim Bijan Berahimi  Pedro Lavin Armando Martinez Celis David M. Davis  Taylor Giali Mitch Cox Crystal Yi Nathalie Sehee Kim Hyoseon Kim

Faculty member Ed Fella also contributed a large number of his legendary posters to the exhibition.

Thanks to all of the workshop participants who donated posters and printed ephemera to the exhibition, as well as the workshop participants. Special thanks to Aaron Winters, Silas Munro, Rachel Ramsay, Troy Patterson, Randy Nakamura, Thea Lorentzen, David Matthew Davis, Michael Worthington, Lorraine Wild, Jeff Keedy, Ed Fella, Gail Swanlund and Caryn Aono.

Small Books From Small Countries: An Impromptu Exhibition at VCFA

Simultaneously, I put together a mini-book exhibition titled “Small Books from Small Countries: A Vaguely Impromptu Exhibition” at VCFA. The criteria for work included was that the books were small in scale and that the countries that the books were from was fairly small in terms of land mass. Each book was accompanied by a text description, as many of the books were not in English. The term “book” is used loosely in the exhibition, as the corpus of works included design journals, magazines, type specimens alongisde actual bound books.

Small Books From Small Countries: An Impromptu Exhibition at VCFA

Descriptions of the books:

文字のカ | The Persistence of Letterforms
平野甲 | Kouga Hirano
Kouga Hirano is a Japanese graphic designer who is known for creating book designs using his unique handwritten letters. Since the 1960s, he has designed more than 6,000 books and worked consistently and closely with an assortment of publishers.  This book is an overview of his highly unique approach to creating custom lettering.

円盤物語 |  Hi-story of the Flying Objects
松田行正 | Matsuda Yukimasa
Matsuda’s Yukimasa is a graphic designer, publisher and writer. He runs the small publishing house Ushiwakamaru, dedicated to publishing his own editorial initiatives. This book is a document of assorted shapes of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) from individual sightings, group sightings and popular culture.

眼球譚 | 月球譚 | Tales of omniscient eyes and moonshining
松田行正 | Matsuda Yukimasa
An index of all-seeing eyes from works of art from history.

松田行正 | Matsuda Yukimasa
An examination of assorted symbols, analphabetic characters and alphabetic characters. Includes physical and historical analyses.

松田行正 | Matsuda Yukimasa
A compendium of dead languages, mythic languages, ciphers, attempts at orthographic reform, codes and utopian symbologies. (Incidentally, my favorite book in the world.)

千社札 | Senjyafuda
Senjyafuda are stickers or scraps of paper posted on the gates of shrines and Buddhist temples in Japan. The stickers bear the name of the worshipper, and can be purchased pre-printed with common names at temples and shrines throughout Japan, as well as at stationery stores and video game centres. Senjyafuda were originally made from wooden slats, but have been made of paper since the Edo period. Senjyafuda are made from printed paper and are rarely made traditional by wood block prints or ukiyo-e.

This book is an excellent overview of senjyafuda from history, notably the use of color (contemporary ones tends to be monochromatic).

Typographic Suite
白井敬尚 | Yoshihisa Shirai
Acting art directors and designers of Idea Magazine, Shirai Yoshihisa’s studio team are typographically rigorous, formally evocative, and gentle in treatment of ornament. Projects for Robundo, Ryobi, Seibundo Shinkosha and many other private concerns make up their body of work, celebrated in the recent booklet Typography Suite and the accompanying exhibition of the past two decades of graphic design work. Shirai is faculty at Musashino Art University.

바른지원체 | The Making of a Hangul Typeface: Barun Jiwon
이지원 | Jiwon Lee
Korean design educator Jiwon Lee published this booklet about Barun Jiwon, his attempt at resolving the relationship between Korean Myung Jo structural typefaces and Western humanist typefaces. The resulting type specimen book shows Lee’s  adventurous spirit in attempting to infuse the Korean visual orthography with increased readability and legibility, simultaneously creating the world’s first truly humanist Korean typeface.

CCArt Sans
Eiichi Kono & Hilary Knight
Eiichi Kono is the designer of Johnston Underground Sans, the official typeface used for the iconic identity of London Transport. Within the CCArt Sans project, Kono extends his years of study of the lettering and typefaces and Edward Johnston and Eric Gill and balances them with the formal weight and poise of Meiryo, a typeface designed by Kono for Microsoft in conjunction with Matthew Carter. This specimen book shows the full range of Latin characters for CCArt Sans, the house typeface of the Center for Contemporary Art in Kitakyushu, Japan.

The Working Practices of Barney Bubbles
Paul Gorman
A look into the pre-digital design realm of Barney Bubbles (nee Colin Fulcher), one of the graphic designers who helped craft the aesthetic of British psychedelia, pub rock, proto-punk, punk and post-punk. A look into Bubbles’ melancholy world.

The National Grid #6, 7 & 8
Luke Wood & Jonty Valentine
Three issues of the self-published contemporary New Zealand graphic design journal The National Grid. Within, issues of Modernism, sovereignty, national identity, design history, design criticism and graphic design education research are neatly examined and discussed from a personal point of view. The National Grid is writing the history of New Zealand graphic design and is an immensely important publication.

Small Books From Small Countries: An Impromptu Exhibition at VCFA

UIデザインの手引 | University Identity Design Guide
東京農業大学(農大) | Tokyo University of Agriculture (Nodai)
A goofy booklet showing the wildly disparate identity of the renowned Tokyo University of Agriculture. Wonky, yet charming.

If It Could Love
Chris Ro
A self-published exhibition catalog/poetic text that examines the culture of self using expressive typography and an exploration space. Within are two double-sided posters that explore these notions further. Vital, sad and ruminating, Ro, a Korean American graphic designer and design educator, examines our collective obsession with representation in society today.

 Typographics Ti: #263 | Type Trip to Seoul
A small independent publication from Tokyo, this issue is an overview of typographic work from Seoul, Korea.

온돌 | A Few Warm Stones (Ondol) #1 & #2
Better Days Institute
Led by Chris Ro, Ondol is a contemporary examination of Korean graphic design culture in journal form. The writers, designer and editors are students of Kookmin University in Seoul. The Ondol team is helping to write the history of Korean graphic design, as well as how contemporary Korean design practice is taking form.

Too Much: Magazine of Romantic Geography #2
Yoshi Tsujimura, Audrey Fondecave & Cameron McKean
Too Much is a publication dedicated to exploring contemporary notions of fine art, design and architecture. It is odd, as it is a small-run magazine from Tokyo published in English.

The text descriptions were accompanied by a number of essays by and about assorted publications included in the exhibition.



Cern by Ian Lynam

Cern is a family of 40 weights of neutral, yet formally nuanced grotesk typefaces that takes inspiration from Helvetica, Akzidenz Grotesk, Univers and the original metal types from Switzerland, yet had a slightly larger x-height for more pronounced legibility.

Cern font family

Each weight is designed to be highly readable in print and on-screen. The italic variations are true italics, having a single-storied italic a and have been designed for smooth, fluid reading and text-setting. Lovingly spaced and kerned, the Cern family works equally well for text typesetting and for display design work.

Cern typeface family by Ian Lynam

Sans serif fonts, no matter how neutral they feel, are ultimately formally nuanced. I wanted to add to this legacy, but bring in elements of the grotesks of the Stephenson Blake foundry to add humanizing features, creating a formal and conceptual interplay to delight the senses.

Cern digital typeface

Cern is the second family of typefaces that explores notions of nuanced neutrality and a Barthesian exploration of a fictional Switzerland that pervades contemporary design, disconnecting sign, symbol and meaning. Cern is the second family of typefaces in this larger project, following the release of the Vaud family.

The entire Cern family, 40 fonts, is available for a limited time for $49.00 from Wordshape and Creative Market.


idea 359 Karel Martens X Ian Lynam

I edited an interview with Dutch designer and design educator Karel Martens for issue #359 of Idea.

Karel Martens X Ian Lynam

The feature has a swank halftone pattern printed on transparent mylar overlaying another halftone pattern printed on the paper underneath, creating a dynamic, tactile moiré pattern.

Le Pigeon Cookbook from Ten Speed Press

Gabe Rucker, Lauren and Andy Fortgang and Meredith Erickson of Le Pigeon have a new cookbook coming out on Ten Speed Press, the cover of which bears the logo I designed for them nearly a decade ago.

Vaud by Ian Lynam

Our 40 member sans serif family Vaud is on sale for the next month over at Creative Market – all 40 fonts for $49!

Troy Patterson VCFA

I gave a presentation at PechaKucha Night in Tokyo last week about the amazing educational setting and experiences at Vermont College of Fine Arts.  It is now online over at the PeckaKucha website.


This great book just came out which uses Kirimomi Swash Italic for the cover and display titling.

Scratching the Tiger’s Belly is published by Eberhardt Press, one of our favorite printing companies and publishers, situated in lovely Portland, Oregon!

TypeCon 2013

Speaking of Portland, we are pleased to announce that Ian Lynam Design is one of the sponsors for this year’s TypeCon, America’s biggest and most fun typography and type design conference. The conference will be help in Portland from August 21st to 25th this year. With luck, we’ll see you there!

SideCore Tokyo exhibition

We just finished up a hybrid poster/publication for SideCore, a series of fine art exhibitions curated by Egaitsu Hiroshi for Young Art Taipei, on sale at the festival now.


Also hot off the press is a redux of an old poster for KnowYourCity and the Portland Art Museum.

The Vine, Tokyo Wine Distributor

We just launched the new website for The Vine, a Tokyo-based wine importer and distributor. No mere website, The Vine’s new system is bilingual, handles inventory, shipping, ordering, invoicing and a ton of other fancy stuff under the hood!

More projects for The Vine are underway and will be appearing on shelves of Japan’s finest wine shops shortly!

Ian Lynam at PechaKucha Night Tokyo!

Finally, I will be speaking at PechaKucha Night Tokyo next week. Details here! I’ll be speaking about design education now. Like, right now. (I’m also going to be doing my usual schtick of giving away a ton of free stuff.)


Slanted at Centre Pompidou

There will be a launch exhibition and lecture regarding the new issue of Slanted at Paris’ Centre Pompidou on Saturday April 13th at 4pm.

Further info:
Librairie Flammarion
Centre Pompidou
19, rue Beaubourg
75004 Paris


Slanted Magazine 21

I have a new essay in Slanted #21 about Cuba and Cuban graphic design, as well as a feature of Cuban street photography by myself and Andrea Tinnes shot in Havana and Trinidad.


Vaud - A Family of typefaces by Ian Lynam

We just released the new Vaud family of typefaces.

Vaud is a family of 40 weights of neutral, yet formally nuanced grotesk typefaces that takes inspiration from Helvetica, Akzidenz Grotesk, Univers and the original metal types from Switzerland, yet had a slightly larger x-height for more pronounced legibility.

Each weight is designed to be highly readable in print and on-screen. The italic variations are true italics, having a single-storied italic a and have been designed for smooth, fluid reading and text-setting. Lovingly spaced and kerned, the Vaud family works equally well for text typesetting and for display design work.

For a limited time, the entire family of typefaces is available for $49 via YouWorkForThem.

Vaud - A Family of typefaces by Ian Lyman

The entire family is comprised of a range of weights and a matching display family that features rounded terminals for large-scale display work.

Vaud - A Family of typefaces by Ian Lynam

Sans serif fonts, no matter how neutral they feel, are ultimately formally nuanced. I wanted to add to this legacy, but bring in elements of the grotesks of the Stephenson Blake foundry to add humanizing features, creating a formal and conceptual interplay to delight the senses.

Vaud - A Family of typefaces by Ian Lynam

Vaud appears neutral in tone, has an enlarged x-height, works great on-screen and in print.

Vaud - A Family of typefaces by Ian Lynam

The lighter weights are slightly slimmer than the regular and bold weights to give the typeface more of a vertical feel, inviting readers’ to rapidly read typeset text with a maximum of contrast and a minimum of optical dazzle.

The entire family was given rigorous testing using Craig Mod’s Bibliotype html-based book layout system for on-screen rendering checks and innumerable print proofs using actual text (not Greek) in InDesign.

The Vaud family is hugely diverse and will work well in a variety of contexts and media.

The complete family is on sale now at YouWorkForThem.


There’s been a date, time and location change:
Idea Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Kiyonori Muroga and I will be giving a lecture and week-long workshop at CalArts. The lecture will be on Thursday April 11th at 7pm in the C-Art classroom.


Be Bespoke Tokyo

We recently finished up a redesign of BeBespoke’s website – webfonts, some snazzy javascript and a bunch of wonderful imagery.


Idea Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Kiyonori Muroga and I will be giving a lecture and week-long workshop at CalArts. The lecture will be on Thursday April 11th at 7pm in the C-Art classroom.


Lynam Lost Words

I contributed to Karen To’s Dead Words project recently. I was asked to typographically illustrate the  term “ebaptization” – a retired word declaring that someone has not been properly baptized from 1659.

Within, I used Queen Mary’s secret cipher to spell out the word – the language of a woman who changed a church, and in a sense, both de- and un-baptize it.

A dead word rendered in a dead language.

SketchCaslon Italic

We released a new typeface this week – SketchCaslon Italic – a hand-rendered display typeface with its formal base in the structure of the types of William Caslon.

One can obtain SketchCaslon Italic from MyFonts and YouWorkForThem.


Hifana logo

I found some unused/underused logos I designed for Tokyo hiphop duo Hifana lurking in the crates yesterday – here, a decorative, imperial take on Henk Krijger’s Raffia.

Hifana Logo variation

A Thai ornament-inflected logo using a Charles Burns shading treatment.


An unused logo variation for Hifana’s “Connect” LP – the best of the bunch.



Frame Magazine

You can see our recent work in the latest issue of Frame Magazine.


A collaboration with Klein Dytham architecture. Ian Lynam Design created the interior graphic design scheme for Google’s new floor of offices in Roppongi.

Hundreds of meters of custom wallpapers with bespoke graphics were designed that crossed six complementary graphic themes:

• a stylized koi pond for the office entrance

• an abstracted, hyper-pop alternate Tokyo for meeting rooms

• garden brickwork with emphasized decorative elements revealing the hidden gardens of Tokyo for hallways and common areas

• sedate gardens for the relaxation and wellness area

• a modular Tokyo for the technical services area

• windows into the Tokyo of the future created in a psychedelic take on 60s and 70s science fiction book covers

We also designed a trilingual room signage system using an alternate, but complementary graphic language.

Thanks to everyone at KDa and Google for making it such a terrific finished project!

All photos © Koichi Torimura & Toshiki Senoue.

Read more about it in the new “Spaces + Places” section of our website, along with another recent project for Google.


Fred Armisen

Fred Armisen and our logo for LePigeon in Episode 1 of Season 3 of the TV show Portlandia.

Chef/partner Gabe Rucker makes a brief appearance, as well!


Asia Pacific Design Awards

I just received the catalog for the 2012 Asia Pacific Design Awards in the mail from Sandu Media in China. It’s a mammoth tome – over 500 pages, gilt-edged with blind debossed covers.

Asia Pacific Design Awards

I would like to give a shout-out to all of the folks in Japan that I selected as a judge for the Asia Pacific Design Awards this year…

Asia Pacific Design Awards

… but none more than Yuki Masuko, one of the hardest-working graphic designers out there and a fabulous, inspiring individual.

APD 2012 Ian Lynam

I wrote an essay for the book and am including it here. It expounds on certain themes from recent pieces I’ve written, as well as taking aim at certain trends within graphic design which I find problematic. You can read it in full here.



Our type foundry Wordshape is currently doing a massive promotion via YouWorkForThem – 25% off all fonts across the board!


Above is a new tee shirt design for CalArts Graphic Design Department‘s upcoming tee shirt exhibition and sale. This one’s a shoutout to the assorted folks who have taught at the school throughout the years (as well as design educators everywhere) who constantly catch shit from students while simultaneously whipping them into some of the best designers out there. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: I am delighted to pay my student loan bill every month. My time earning my MFA at CalArts was some of the best of my life. The folks I studied under taught me so much.

This shirt, coupled with a new essay on Japanese public art for UK publishing house Quarto’s upcoming book on global public art that I banged out today, made for a great way to round out the year. Yuki, Paul and I send our best wishes to all of our clients, collaborators and friends for 2013 – we hope this upcoming year is your best yet!!



Literally just launched: the brand spanking new website for Upswell, one of our absolute favorite clients. Period. The site is a database-driven, javascript-snazzy portfolio for this amazing up-and-coming Portland design firm. We believe in them.


John Fluevog is using our typeface Kirimomi Swash Italic for its national holiday campaign.


Kiyoshi Awazu

An older essay just got a digital reprint over at Néojaponisme.


I wrote and designed a ton for the latest issue of Idea – approximately half of the issue. Click here to read all about it!



TUJ video lecture

I did a lecture at Temple University Japan in Amanda Kaiser’s Journalism class on the use of video in editorial contexts. Fun stuff! The above slide was a cautionary notice for thinking about video and sound in the Japanese urban environment.


Doodle 4 Google Japan

The Doodle 4 Google event we designed went off surprisingly well!

40 happy kids won awards for their visions of the world 100 years from now.

The kids filing in…

Getting briefed prior…

and winning stuff!

Thanks so much to the kids, the amazing folks at Google and all of our friends who helped support this initiative!

In non- Google news, I’ve been given the honor of judging this year’s Typodarium along with type design & lettering legend Ed Benguiat, wünderkind Lucas de Groot, designer Boris Kochan and type design extraordinaire Veronika Burian.

Also, an interview I did five years ago or so with type designer Akira Kobayashi for the late PingMag is up over at Type Is Beautiful, translated into Chinese.


We have created the full experience (set design, stage design, animations, lighting design, print design and sound design) for Google’s Doodle 4 Google event in Tokyo, happening on Sunday December 2. Check it out on Google+ here!


I have a piece of writing in the latest issue of Slanted, out now.

We also did a bit of custom font work for the lovely folks at Mistress this month.


I have some work in the latest issue of RRR.


My essay “With A Spatula in Her Hand” was just published on the website for Modes of Criticism, a new design criticism magazine. I will have another essay in the inaugural print issue, out soon.


Ian Lynam PechaKucha Night

PechaKucha Night Tokyo X Tokyo Design Week just finished up a few days ago – one of the biggest PechaKucha events ever! 1,000 folks hanging out and listening to presentations by designers from all over the world.

Ian Lynam Pecha Kucha Night

For us, one of the most exciting things was seeing our logo design for PechaKucha Night projected h-u-u-u-u-ge across the interior of a geodesic dome.

Ian Lynam Pecha Kucha Night

R. Buckminster Fuller is one of our heroes and the geodesic dome one of the most appealing structures in architecture, so to have our design applied to one, even a temporary one, was fantasic.

Photos by the amazing Michael Holmes Photo.


YACHT wireframe logo

I designed a new “wire” variant on the YACHT logo for Jona and Claire today for the band’s tenth anniversary, oddly enough occuring on my 40th birthday. Flyer below not by me.

YACHT: Jona & Claire


NASA Hubble Space Telescope: New Views of the Universe

Our new ad campaign for NASA and The Washington County Museum launched this month. Hubble Space Telescope: New Views of the Universe opens on November 17.

Michael Holmes Photo

We’ve been knee deep in a fair amount of identity work lately, as well. We crafted up a logo and identity system for Michael Holmes Photo of Tokyo.

Le Comptoir Occitan

Just finished, as well, is the identity and environmental design for Le Comptoir Occitan, a new Basque restaurant in Daikanyama within Hillside Terrace. More photos coming soon.



I won an Asia Pacific Design Award again. Whoo! And I didn’t even pick myself!


VCFA - Vermont College of Fine Arts

Some exciting news: I am joining the faculty at Vermont College of Fine Arts, teaching in their MFA graphic design program as of October. The university is a low-residency program and I’ll be teaching both in Vermont and from home base in Tokyo.


Japanese Graphic Design: Not in Production, a new piece of design criticism I wrote has been posted at Néojaponisme. It will be followed by six supplementary posts showing the best that Japanese contemporary graphic design has to offer.