Masahiro Shintani

Masahiro Shintani, born 1943, is a very influential magazine designer.

(His last name Shintani means “new valley”: 新谷. That name exists in Swedish too: Nydahl.)

In the 1970s, which was a sort of golden age of Japanese magazines, he was the founding art director of (pop) culture magazines such as An-An (1970), Popeye (1976), Brutus (1980) and Olive (1982) (all published by Magazine House).

Shintani’s book デザインにルールなんてない (Design has no rules) contains numerous samples of his work.







This style feels very American to me, and many articles seem to deal with American pop culture. In fact, Mr Shintani also designed two one-shots called Made in America. It must have felt very fresh in Japan in the 1970s. But the style holds! This kind of instrumental design is still how mainstream/accessible lifestyle magazines present their content:



The book also contains some interesting sketches that you can compare to the printed result in the magazine:



In many ways, modern magazine design peaked in the 1970s. Nothing significant has happened since then, and won’t happen, since magazines aren’t big business anymore. Attempts to apply this kind of magazine design on various digital devices like the ipad is just silly. New media must have their own style.

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