Kenichi Kuromaru on finding unique expression in optical illusions, simple shapes and mixing alphabets
Playing with perception, the designer’s work shows just how effective simple design can be.
- Olivia Hingley
- 13 February 2023
When Kenichi Kuromaru was a student, there was one graphic artist that particularly struck a chord with him: Shigeo Fukuda. Admiring his work for its ability to trick the eye of the viewer, Kenichi also admired its simplicity; the ease of expression in Fukuda’s work achieved with only a few outlines and vague shapes. It’s easy to see how Fukuda’s work has inspired that of Kuromaru’s, who's part of the collective homesickdesign LCC. The various objects featured throughout his work range from those which are instantly recognisable – a chair, a pepper mill – to ones that take a second longer to decipher, such as the shape of a swan which emerges from a seemingly abstract graphic.
Another key facet of Kuromaru’s practice is playing with linguistic forms – “one of my favourite expressions is mixing Japanese letters with the Roman alphabet”, he shares. This approach comes across in his poster for the Iwate ADC exhibition. Wrapping both Japanese lettering and Roman text around bulbous shapes, not only does the text transmit information, the differing forms and styles of the texts create a pleasing, variable pattern.
Kenichi Kuromaru: Motion graphics for Web and SNS (Copyright @ homesickdesign, 2022)
About the Author
Olivia (she/her) 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.