Masuteru Aoba, Tokyo 1939 – 2011, was a Japanese graphic designer who, from the late 60’s until his passing created a series of thought provoking posters touching on social, environmental issues and non-violent activism.
Among many of his design achievements, In 1998 Mr. Aoba was commissioned to design the official poster of Japan’s Nagano Olympic Winter Games. His designs received much acclaim and followed in the tradition of Japanese Olympic poster designs.
By using graphic poster design as ‘his expressive voice’, I believe Mr. Oaba sought to encourage a more compassionate and peaceful society, even using the peace symbol in place of the letter O in his own name as seen in attached image. His contemporary designer posters have been created with a curious mix of bright and bold expressive designs to quite whimsical images using mediums such as simplistic leaf cut outs and animal and human motifs.
Among his notable design achievements, in 1998 Aoba was commissioned to design the official poster of Nagano Olympic Winter Games. His designs received much kudos and distinction in the Japanese tradition.
My personal favourite article (attached) is on Mr. Oaba’s Hiroshima PEACE Poster. “When I was commissioned to create the Hiroshima Appeals Poster, I was determined to do my best,” he remarked. “When you’re charged with communicating the heart of Hiroshima to the world, failure is not an option.”
Mr. Oaba, then 69, asked eminent people, and including his grandchildren to make impressions of the work ‘PEACE’ using stamps he had devised in several different fonts. He then fashioned the results into a poster for peace, in which no one could distinguish their own contributions on the poster.
‘That is what peace is”, said Mr. Oaba, “each person quietly doing their part”.
The finished shape, a sphere that might strike some as a sun, others as an orb of passion.