I was honored to be invited as a guest juror for the Tokyo Type Directors Club Annual Awards 2009. I had the overwhelming yet envious task of sifting through 3,316 entries (including 930 entries from abroad) over the course of three days to select 9 award winning works.
It was apparent during the judging that contemporary graphic designers throughout the world continue to embrace individualistic aesthetic visions, while following national traditions, international influences and modern vernacular models, at the same time assimilating advanced technology, and new media. The wide range of type, book, and interactive designs, within the context of a competitive international design competition, demonstrated that designers throughout the world continue to produce high quality work. What repeatedly drew my attention were the graceful forms of Japanese characters and Chinese calligraphy. As an educator and writer of graphic design history, I was equally impressed by Katsumi Asaba's TDC prize-winning work, Diary "Asaba's Journal". The diary reveals a designer's daily narrative journey through one calendar year and likely resulting from a lifetime of observation.
Thanks to the hard work of the Tokyo TDC Annual Awards Committee, and the competitive spirit of these Annual Awards, this event plays an important role in supporting and encouraging new talent throughout the world. The wealth of work documented in this yearbook not only presents a group of groundbreaking design, but represents a larger body of work that plays an essential role in visual communication throughout the world.