Unpinning History : Japanese Posters in the Age of Commercialism, Imperialism, and Modernism

Tsuru no tamago sekken, Honpo Tokyo Asai Shiten [Clane egg soap, Asai branch store, Head store in Tokyo ]

Tsuru no Tamago Sekken was printed in post-First World War Japan in which the population, economy, and consumer culture began to boom. Sugiura Hisui designed this poster for the soap company, Asai Sekken, to advertise not only the product but also personal hygiene, which was gaining popularity among the growing population of middle-class consumers. Referred to as the “pioneer of graphic design” in Japan, Hisui described his style as “sōsaku zuan,” or, “creative design” and strived to establish the field of design and the social role of a designer. Between 1922 and 1924, Hisui stayed in Europe, including France and Germany. In particular, the latter country’s avant-garde designers inspired him to integrate a more modern style characterized by bold and flat form, playful typography, and clear and minimal coloring, which are all employed in this poster. Stylization and minimalism demonstrate Hisui’s awareness that design is central to branding and marketing. In addition, Hisui’s choice to portray a flamingo, rather than the standard crane to advertise “crane egg soap,” exemplifies his interest in exotic fauna in addition to foreign cultures. (Caroline Cotten) 

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