• Inducted in 1994
  • Design
  • Born January 13, 1930
  • Died January 10, 2002

Ikko Tanaka

Strong, clean, and impactful are the best descriptives you could use to describe Ikko Tanaka’s work. They are universal images, honed with a fastidious eye: finding the natural flow of photographs in a book spread, steadying the central point of a corporate symbol so the mind retains every detail, and enriching the typographic and illustrative forces of a poster into a pure, homogeneous form.

Tanaka has been honored by the Tokyo Art Directors Club, the Mainchi Industrial Design Award, the Yugoslavia-based International Exhibition of Graphic Design, Japan’s Ministry of Education, the Japan Cultural Award, and the Warsaw International Poster Biennale, amongst many others.

Since establishing the Tokyo-based Ikko Tanaka Design Studio in 1963, he has created the display design for the Oceanic Cultural Museum at the Ocean Expo ’75 in Okinawa, designed the symbols for Expo ’85 in Tsukuba and World City Expo Tokyo ’96. He has worked for such illustrious clients as the Selbu Saison Group, The Intemational Garden and Greenery Exposition, Hanae Mori, Issey Miyake, and the Mazda Corporation.

Tanaka has exhibited and lectured throughout the world: at the A.G.I. Conference Kroller Muller Museum and Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, Cooper Union in New York, the Pompidou Center in Paris, the Museum of Modem Art in New York, The School of Design Altos de Chavon in Dominica, and the Museum fur Gestaltung in Zurich.

He has curated and designed exhibitions for the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, for a Japanese design exhibition in pre-Glasnost Moscow, and throughout Japan.

As a result of his commitment to design, his influence can be seen in the work of a generation of young designers, many of which don’t speak Japanese. But the strong, easily accessible images he creates transcend language, carrying their messages far beyond the limitations of the written word.

Please note: Content of biography is presented here as it was published in 1994.