Mitsuo Katsui 🌈 consists of a poster, booklet, animation, and digital app that celebrate the Japanese designer's use of the light, color, gradation, and form.

Timeline —
5 months
Role —
Creative direction
Print, identity, and motion design
Concept writing and research
For —
Mitsuo Katsui 勝井三雄, a legendary Japanese designer
With —
Individual project
Advised by
Brett Yasko

Who is Mitsuo Katsui?Mitsuo Katsui is the master of colors, gradients, and rainbows, and one of my design heroes. I came across his work and instantaneously fell in love with his use of gradation, light, and ephemeral spaces. I chose him as my designer for this project to challenge my lack of color usage in my current work.

Finding the balance between two design voicesWorking on this project, it was crucial that my own designer voice was evident in my design artifacts while heavily relying on Katsui's work, words, and philosophy to drive the creative direction. In the end, I made a poster 1, booklet 2, animation 3, and mobile app experience 4 that tells the story of the designer in both literal and metaphorical ways.

Please reach out if you are interested in learning more about the process for this project! I'm so proud of this project, and there were many interesting hurdles I had to jump through to make this.

Design Artifacts
How did I tell Mitsuo's story through multiple mediums?

artifact 1PosterThe first design deliverable is an 24x36 inch informational poster that tells the story of Mitsuo Katsui through color, typography, geometry, and abstraction.

The face of the designer is abstracted through geometry and contrasts with the colorful squares that is often referenced in his work. In the middle, the word 'Light' is written in Kanji as that is a theme heavily emphasized throughout his work. The typography is also treated through a stylized reflection technique that Katsui often uses.

Artifact 2BookletAlongside the poster, I designed a 20 page booklet that goes through the story of Katsui's journey to becoming a designer and his design philosophies.

His projects from various years are used throughout the book to both emphasize specific pieces as well as to show the breadth of this work. In the centerfold, it opens up to a long rainbow to visually contrast from the rest of the book and also pay homage to Katsui's attention and care for color.

ARTFACT 3AnimationMy favorite artifact that came out of this project, is an 1 minute 20 second animation that tells the story of Katsui from the perspective of John Maeda. He was someone who gained mentorship from Katsui over the years, and I was fortunate enough to meet with Maeda and interview him to get an audio recording on my designer.

The core of this artifact relied on the art direction and storytelling as I had to consider how the illustration style, pacing, background audio, and script would all come together to tell a compelling, colorful, and immersive narrative about Katsui.