News / Graphic Design

Muji exhibits 25 vintage Ikko Tanaka posters from its advertising archive

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Ikko Tanaka: Muji newspaper ad (1981)

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Ikko Tanaka: Muji poster (2000)

Japanese retailer Muji is holding an exhibition of 25 archival advertising posters designed by Ikko Tanaka. The collection of prints will be on display in London’s Covent Garden from 18 – 23 October, and in Milan from 27 October – 7 November, celebrating 25 years of Muji in Europe.

Each poster was an advert for Muji between 1980 and 2000, each designed by the renowned Japanese graphic designer who died in 2002. Tanaka is credited with developing the Muji brand identity, and worked as the company’s art director until 2001. The designs vary from text-heavy artworks, such as a newspaper ad from 1980, to simple, line-drawn illustrations accompanied by a small block of text, for example the Baby Muji ad from 1999. Many of the posters also use minimalist photography, mirroring the utilitarian, stripped-back aesthetic of Muji’s products.

“The posters offer a perspective on how the brand gained its reputation for innovation, charm and humour,” says Muji.

The exhibition will take place at 21 Slingsby Place, London WC2E 9AB from 18 – 23 October and Muji’s store on Corso Buenos Aires, Milan from 27 October – 7 November.

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Ikko Tanaka: Muji’s first newspaper ad (1980)

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Ikko Tanaka: Muji poster (1983)

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Ikko Tanaka: Muji poster

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Ikko Tanaka: Muji poster (1990)

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Ikko Tanaka: Muji poster (1990)

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Ikko Tanaka: Muji poster (1991)

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Ikko Tanaka: Muji poster (1997)

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Ikko Tanaka: Muji poster (1998)

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Ikko Tanaka: Muji poster (1999)