The complete retrospective of the ingenious Japanese master of three-dimensional typography


In the mid-1970s, the designer began a decade-long prolific exploration of the possibilities of the 3D type with his early experiments with axonometric lettering appearing on magazine covers, posters and record covers – drawing inspiration from avant-garde typography from the 1920s. but rendered again as bold sculptural letters. It was in fact Graphis, the first Swiss design magazine, which first presented its work in 1979, bringing its name to the attention of the creative community.

Timeless, striking and technically dazzling, Igarashi’s signature style demonstrates a mastery of this field, honed long before computers were introduced into the design industry, which makes his legacy all the more special.

“Takenobu Igarashi monumentalized typeface and typography when most of us still lived in Gutenberg’s shadow,” says graphic design historian Steve Heller. “With his unprecedented 3D type, Igarashi created an even larger shadow that brought the old world closer to the future.”

Posted by Thames & Hudson, Takenobu Igarashi: A to Z offers a comprehensive guide to man’s experiences with typography, showcasing not only his famous print and physical works – many of which were photographed especially for this publication – but also a first look, using never seen before. archival work, plans, drawings and production sketches behind his emblematic works.

Edited by Sakura Nomiyama, design historian for the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, the book covers early print works, hand-drawn experiences, self-initiated sculptural pieces, and high-profile 3D identities for a range of clients. international – making it a long-awaited glimpse from one of the 20th century’s most revered graphic designers.

Adored by designers around the world, it was in 1994 that Takenobu Igarashi put an end to his 25 years of design and moved to Los Angeles to become a sculptor. He returned to Japan in June 2004 where he still produces various sculptures and reliefs for public spaces in his country of origin, as well as graphic works.

Takenobu Igarashi: A to Z is published by Thames & Hudson and will be available from September 24, 2020. In the meantime, find out more about Igarashi at


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