Sushinkansen is a photo book containing a series of travel photography taken in the country of Japan. I designed the book with the aim to capture the spirit of popular 'kawaii' and 'anime' Japanese visual style as well as its more traditional arts such as origami and painting.


The story

There is a reason why Japan is known worldwide as a unique travel destination. For most travellers, even those from its neighbouring countries, the arts and culture of Japan truly is something that came from another world. From an art and design perspective, whereas the rest of the world teach their designers the famous "less is more" or "simple is better" Japan embraces an explosion of colours and ornaments which such energy and elegance it will make you realise that eventually the definition of "beauty" in art and design truly is a matter of perspective.
"can you make this graph more interesting?" - Client, literally every day -
After I familiarised myself with various form of Japanese arts and designs, from how they design their magazine layouts to their traditional architecture, I wanted to embrace more of the vibrant and colourful side of Japanese visual design by translating the energetic atmosphere of real busy streets of Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka into the book's design. I took inspiration from their creative food packaging, lucky charms, colourful handicrafts, kimono pattern and shop signs.


the idea

The shops and markets in Japan is anything but monochrome. From fascinating food replica to the sparkly billboard, none of it ever too shy in using vibrant colours. Simplicity in visual design is something that probably does not thrive well in this oriental land. I took inspiration from the visuals of busy shops in Gion district, Kyoto to create the colour palette. Just like in Japan, this is not the time to be shy.
The Japanese letters of Kanji, Hiragana and Katana often written vertically, especially on shop signs and comics. Besides choosing typeface that is a quirky imitation to the Japanese letters, I treat the main typeface as if they were vertical shop signs.
To fully represent the spirit of Japanese art and design, the graphic elements I created were inspired by various Japanese art forms such as traditional fan, origami paper pattern, manga (Japanese comics), handcrafts and street signs.
I took inspiration from the illustrated Japanese children's science and knowledge books which use little characters as pointers to interesting facts and other callouts. The two characters I created were inspired by shokuhin sampuru, which is the famous art of food model making that is common to be found in many shop front of restaurants in Japan.
To place callouts and other interesting facts in the book, I used various speech bubbles decorated with small Sakura flower inspired by Manga (Japanese comics) format.
These speech bubbles often paired with one of the little food characters or pointing towards a person in the photograph to ensure that is indeed interacting with something rather than floating without an anchor.
speech bubbles

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