Yutaka Satoh’s posters are the perfect crossover between art and design. With their satisfying colour palettes and considered arrangements of unusual shapes, Yutaka’s creations could just as easily hang on the walls of a gallery as they could advertise upcoming events. The Tokyo-based artist commonly produces posters for exhibitions, concerts and shows alongside his long list of accomplished personal projects. Yet his distinct aesthetics never falter whether he is designing a commissioned piece of work or a stand-alone project; a testament to Yutaka’s loyalty to his craft.
Yutaka’s designs often merge information with intriguing, abstract visuals. This may not come as a surprise to those that know him. “When I was young, I was not good at drawing. But I liked writing words and letters on paper. For example, I used to ‘draw’ someone’s name with pencils on pieces of paper,” Yutaka tells It’s Nice That. The artist clearly still adopts this mindset; Yutaka allows little room for distinction between text and the surrounding visuals.
Many of Yutaka’s designs are the result of the artist following his instincts. Subtle pastels and bright colours are added to posters according to his intuitive judgements. “In most cases, inspiration lurks in my day-to-day life. But I am also influenced by past memories. It feels as though a chemical reaction occurs when ‘colour’ and ‘smell’ that are engraved in my memory are combined with the present,” Yutaka says. By visualising and incorporating nostalgic emotions into his posters, the designer creates series of consistently unique pieces of art.
“I focus mainly on the balance between textual and visual communication. The popularisation of social media means that everyone easily obtains a huge amount information. But most of the data we consume lacks poetry. I believe poetic communication will make for deeper connections. It is for this reason I want to communicate ‘beyond language’. I use colour and form to create an alternative space through which information is transmitted,” Yutaka explains. The artist’s work marries words with visuals in new and unexpected ways. By weaving letters with geometric shapes and doodles, Yutaka prompts the viewer to reconsider how information can be received and processed.
When asked about his favourite artwork, Yutaka references his elegant Lee Lang poster. “Here I’ve laid out three different languages – English, Japanese, Korean – within one poster. Balancing each language and distributing them equally across the poster was important.” Yutaka’s incorporation of three distinct languages functions as a reminder that language is both a means to communicate as well as a series of visual symbols. The Latin alphabet is legible to an English speaker, for example, but may look like little more than visual signs to a Japanese reader.