Agata Yamaguchi’s minimalist posters grapple with life’s stranger moments

After deciding to depict the weird things that kept happening to him, the graphic designer began a series of posters that are surreal yet weirdly relatable.

Date
5 September 2022

There’s one quite simple reason as to why Agata Yamaguchi loves minimalism so much: it's the ease and efficiency of expression it allows for. Much of his humorous poster series is created with the intention of invoking a sense of reliability in his audience. He wants them to be reminded of similar situations they have been in, or feelings they have felt, when encountering his pared back visuals and uncomplicated word choices.

Agata’s pretty sure that the minimalist approach is a successful one, since the more minimal the work he posts on Instagram, the better the response he gets. This, he says, shows it to be a style that transcends geographical and language barriers. One such piece of Agata’s that proves this theory is Egg Cuisine. Focussing on the very “surreal” shape and colour of uncooked eggs compared to the “gorgeous” aesthetics of a fried one, the piece shows a simple shell on a green background – enhanced by the subtle shading Agata adds – and two abstract fried eggs. Receiving a lot of feedback on the piece, Agata deduces that “I think I may not be the only one who thinks eggs are a bit weird”.

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Collé: breakfast (Copyright © Collé, 2022)

Agata’s poster series began after he decided to start documenting the “trivial” yet slightly surreal and unexpected things that kept happening in his life. On one particular day, “I opened a butter packet to put on my bread, and the butter flew out and onto the floor, only to be eaten by the cafe guard dog,” Agata details. “Then, I ran into an old lady with a solemn expression, doing exercises while waiting for a train”. Agata also has no reservations using his works to interact with life’s less funny or lighthearted moments and negative emotions. This focus has arisen especially after the pandemic, when running his graphic design studio Collé became particularly difficult and stress-inducing.

But, when Agata does depict more unsavoury moments, he still uses humour “to neutralise the horror”. In Face Myself, Agata uses a human-like figure looking in a mirror – or a rippling water – staring back at their reflection with a bemused expression. Trying to express “my inner self when particularly busy”, Agata wanted to recreate this stress-induced out-of-body experience. “We all know when we’re busy we forget to take care of ourselves, and go days without really looking at ourselves,” Agata says. “When I look in the mirror for the first time in a while, I don't know if I'm the real me or someone else.” Perfectly recreating the feeling of disassociation, with waving visuals that give the reflection a comical appearance, the final image is especially relatable – but laughably so.

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Collé: EggCuisine (Copyright © Collé, 2022)

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Collé: hair (Copyright © Collé, 2022)

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Collé:トマト(Copyright © Collé, 2022)

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Collé: superhot (Copyright © Collé, 2022)

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Collé: 人間観察 (Copyright © Collé, 2022)

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Collé: coffee Copyright © Collé, 2022)

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Collé: pasta (Copyright © Collé, 2022)

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Collé: failed experiment (Copyright © Collé, 2022)

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Collé: fruitbasket (Copyright © Collé, 2022)

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Collé: sakana (Copyright © Collé, 2022)

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Collé: facing myself (Copyright © Collé, 2022)

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About the Author

Olivia Hingley

Olivia joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021 and soon became staff writer. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English literature and history, she’s particularly interested in photography, publications and type design.

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