Okuyama Taiki is a Japanese graphic designer incorporating a sense of liveliness and fun into his creative practice. While running a novelty book store in Tokyo that was free (a rather foreign concept over here) Okuyama became interested in the values of exchange that led to a career in design. The book store became a place “to share new values, form new communities and create new creations”, explains Okuyama. This attitude translates over to his designs that frequently take on multiple meanings in their visual communication. Okuyama’s projects depend on what is peaking the designer’s interests at that time, recently delving into the disciplines of art, music and agriculture.
A versatile creative, Okuyama tells It’s Nice That that his interests lie in projects that “bring a new awareness”, evidently expressed in the range of design output. From a branding identity for a strawberry farm, to a series of animated visuals for a Japanese rock band, Okuyama finds an appropriate means of communication for each brief individually. All the designer’s projects however, have one thing in common: communication is the main intention of the design, whatever the medium may be. “Communication between information and people, and between people and people, is the most important issue to me”, says the graphic designer.
This emphasis is seen in two of his projects, Playing Body Player as well as in the visuals for Owarhythm Benkai. Firstly, Playing Body Player is the visual identity for an exhibition of the same title organised by Seijo University of Art and Design. The exhibition showcases writers and artists explicitly using the body as a performative means of expression. Okuyama’s logo and identity reflects the use of the body through the fluid lines that denote physical, languid movement. The design is both contemporary with its deconstructed typeface yet maintains its roots in Japanese, minimalist design with the restricted colours and generous use of white space. Additionally, the rhythmic headline continues through to the pamphlet’s contents through the warped images and text boxes, creating a satisfyingly, uniform visual identity.
For the visuals for the Japanese rock band Owarhythm Benkai, Okuyama pays tribute to the neon signage aesthetic. He concisely engages the viewer with the use of looping colours that aren’t too in your face while still grabbing attention; utilising the medium of gifs to simply animate striking visuals which in turn, maximises on intrigue.
About the Author
Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor. Feel free to drop Jyni a note if you have an exciting story for the site.