Kohei Sugiura

Kohei Sugiura is one of the most famous magazine designers in Japan. He is also known throughout Asia. The book Wind and Lightning: A Half-Century of Magazine Design by Kohei Sugiura (Trans Art 2004) presents his work from 1960 to 2004.

But first let’s take a look at his name. His first name Kohei is written 康平, which surprised me since my friend Kohei’s name is written 浩平. The second kanji, which they share, means peace/harmony/fairness. The last name Sugiura is written 杉浦. I don’t know the second kanji, but the first one is the same “sugi” as in Suginami-ku, the ward where I live. Suginami is written 杉並.

Here are some photos of his works from the 1960s:






What strikes me the most is how timeless and modern it looks. Especially the last pictures’ simple covers and illustrations could as well have been published today. I really like them.

Here are some later designs:




Notice how these covers are designed for continuity; just the issue number and the colour change between the issues. It looks so good when you see a long series of issues together, like this. There is total focus on the text and images. The form just acts a simple but reliable support for the content. Very elegant.

Some other examples of his design (though it’s for the stringent parts above I’ll remember him):




Another example of simple consistency over the issues:


Perfectly gridded page:


2 thoughts on “Kohei Sugiura

  1. This is Jane Li from China Artpower Internationl Publishing Co., Ltd, specializing in art & design books publishing, whose magazine ACS (Artpower Creative Space) features one or two prestigious architects or design masters in every issue.

    I am wondering if you could provide the e-mail address of the Japanese graphic design master Kohei Sugiura, as ACS is trying to invite him to do an exclusive column, though we are not able to find the contact information. Thanks and expect your reply.

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