In the 1980s, Japan’s strong trade surplus and currency were causing friction and antagonism overseas. In response, three renowned Japanese artists took on the challenge of changing Japan’s global image through graphic design. Their eye-catching designs often incorporated familiar traditional symbols and motifs, notably the iconic red circle against a white background of Japan’s national flag, from which this exhibition gains it name, Red Circle: Designing Japan in Contemporary Posters. Paul Rand also crafted memorable graphic design in the second half of the twentieth century. Rand was celebrated for crafting the brand identities of such American corporate icons as ABC, IBM, UPS, and Westinghouse. This installation features the poster Rand created as part of IBM’s THINK promotional campaign, a rebus which transforms the letters of IBM’s logo into pictures. Join Docents as they introduce and connect these two exciting exhibitions focusing on graphic design.
Red Circle: Designing Japan in Contemporary Posters and In Focus: Paul Rand
This work was recently gifted to UMMA by Maria Phillips and Franc Nunoo-Quarcoo.
Lead support for Red Circle: Designing Japan in Contemporary Posters is provided by AISIN, the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, and the University of Michigan Center for Japanese Studies.