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Ikki Kobayashi — Life through Design Drawings

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【Special Feature】
Ikki Kobayashi — Life through Design Drawings

Direction by Ikki Kobayashi, Akitsu Sekkei and Idea
Design by Akitsu Sekkei

Ikki Kobayashi is currently a freelance graphic designer based in Tokyo, Japan. After graduating from Tama Art University in 2015, Kobayashi joined Shiseido, where he was in charge of design work in the Creative Division. After retiring, he received the JAGDA New Designer Award in 2019.

This feature contains 38 new drawings that Kobayashi has been working on since the winter of 2023. In his work, the designs start primarily as sketches and drawings, from which he creates paths in Illustrator and completes them digitally. In order to focus on the process of these ‘forms’ created by Kobayashi and how he thinks through the physical act of drawing, we have entitled the feature Life through Design Drawings, showcasing his drawings before they reach the design stage. The pages have been designed by Akitsu Sekkei, Kobayashi’s classmate from university and a close follower of his activities.

In our advanced digital society, manufacturing has become increas- ingly streamlined, and massive quantities of goods are produced and consumed at astonishing speeds. The generative AI rage that swept through in the past few years has only spurred the situation, and it is now possible to design without being able to draw, by manipulating images based on certain algorithms, collaborating with others, and borrowing the help of tools.

Debate over whether the approach is analogue or digital is no longer a major issue in design. People can dabble in a variety of ways, and both analogue and digital approaches depend on the right person and the right place. Having said that, human judgment is necessary in both the beginning and end of the process to deter- mine where incentives lie for what to make, who to make it for, and when to determine its finished, at least for the present moment.

The experience we receive through our hands and eyes is data for these judgments, and is more reliable than the algorithms of big data. The incomprehensible feelings, and sensitivity to embrace the admiration we may feel for frills or the very ordinary in our daily lives become the foundation, and strength of form. We hope these pages offer a chance to consider the sacredness of creating form, as seen in Kobayashi’s honest attitude toward it, as he draws throughout the uncounted days—making, working, and living.



Chew well before swallowing
Text by Ikki Kobayashi


Squeals of delight / Ripples, Ochiaigawa River / Crying / Sudachi citrus / Grapevine / Komugi nendo (flour clay) / Leaf litter / Collected branches / Collected concrete pieces / Paper cuttings, December 2023 / Stone wall / Bamboo grass / Dry grass / Coloring in / Sketch book / Letters / Eraser shavings / Paper scraps / Paper cuttings, January 2024 / Fresh snow / Playing with dolls / Lego bricks / Bubble bath / Bathtub / Thaw / Lawn / Weeding / New leaves / Branches / Buds / Time / Rain / Cherry blossoms / Voice / Plastic bags / Detergent / Water marks / Azaleas


Ikki Kobayashi Trustworthiness born from repetition
Text by Idea
Photography by Akitsu Sekkei


list of works



Typojanchi 2023 and the Korean Typography Society
The Current State of Research and Practice of Korean Typography

Text by Tetsuya Goto
Design by front-door English Proofreading: Duncan Brotherton


Which Mirror Do You Want to Lick?
Seoul Edition Insert

Edit and design by the curators
Text by Chris Lee


Which Mirror Do You Want to Lick?
Seoul Edition Insert Japanese Translation

Translation by Manami Yamamoto


Design Eccentric From the World Collectors’ Room
vol. 6 The Design Reviewed Archive, part 6 Gebrauchsgraphik – Almost a Century of Design Reference

Text by Matt Lamont
Design by Kazuhiro Yamada + Akiko Takeo (nipponia)
Translation by Manami Yamamoto


GRAPHIC TRIAL 2024 – asobi – Exhibition Report


The 26th Yusaku Kamekura Design Award, JAGDA Award and JAGDA New Designer Award 2024, Announcement