Idea #406: Ikki Kobayashi

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Laboratories, Akitsu Sekkei
Seibundo Shinkosha
Idea + Publications

The latest issue of Idea is largely devoted to the work of the amazing Ikki Kobayashi. Social media phenom 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. Kobayashi was awarded the JAGDA New Designer Award in 2019 and subsequently went freelance.

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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 increasingly 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

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

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

Edit and design by the curators
Text by Chris Lee

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

Pick up a copy of Idea no. 406 here:

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