Masuteru Aoba

Masuteru Aoba style is simple and bold, often colourful. Reminiscent of Japanese art, his work has clear lines and a simple and direct message.


“I’m partial to appealing designs that an elementary school student can understand,” he says. “If my posters can’t be understood anywhere in the world, what’s the point?

So why does Japan have a culture of great graphic art? Does its origins lay in the Japanese culture of zen simplicity? Perhaps it is an off shoot of the trauma of its rapid post war urbanisation where the Japanese could take solace in its art. Indeed the freedom of design in advertising is a cultural one where there is great respect for art.

“The Japanese regard advertising as a kind of cultural activity,” explains Masuteru Aoba. “With their budgets for advertising, Japanese companies are supporting something colourful and playful, just like American billionaires who patronise art.”

A great humanitarian, Masuteru Aoba believes it is the role of a profession to share a humanitarian vision. Through his works, Aoba aimed to provide visual experiences that advocate the humanistic values found in a society and to try to visually explore a way to make a better world.

Matsteru Aoba’s  power to effect change can be seen in his work for the Hiroshima Appeals Poster. He made up stamps in several different fonts with the word peace.He than had a multide of people stamp the word and collated them into the poster. Two of his small granddaughters stamped the word, as did Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba, but no one can point to their own contributions on the poster. “That is what peace is,” said Mr. Aoba, “each person quietly doing their part.” What than happened is people started using the word in their everyday lives.

Masuteru Aoba, 1939 – 2011. Graduating from the Kuwasawa Design Research Institute in 1962, Mastteru Aoba went on to create his own design company. His best known works were developed through the 1970 and early 1980s.



2 thoughts on “Masuteru Aoba

  1. Hi Kathy. What a great article about a wonderful designer with peaceful intent. Seems we doubled up as I also chose him for my blog. Even though we used a variety of images, I see we have both been moved to use the same quote from his Hiroshima Project. “Each person quiety doing their part”. PEACE ❤


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