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Style in various forms is evident in Japan. From shockingly vibrant posters to carefully landscaped gardens, Japan is without shortage of design elements. But even with all the intricacies and vastness of Japanese design, every form shares the same core: they are clutter-free, they evoke a sense of cal, and they are simple. 

Simplicity

The Japanese style underscores the principle “less is more.” This means clutter is an absolute no-no. The overall feel of a Japanese design is clean, straightforward, and structured. Any element without a clear purpose is considered clutter, something that should be discarded. It all boils down to the essentials, the elements that are truly needed in the design.

If you’re starting a Japanese-inspired project, get rid of unnecessary elements. Instead, prioritize the basics.

Subtlety

Japanese design is all about subtle and effortless elegance. The style is attention-grabbing for the right reasons – and never about opulence. Even if the concept is chaotic, there is a subdued yet striking aspect within the chaos.

For your project, connect sophistication, artistry, and functionality to come up with a design that has an authentic Japanese feel.

Peace

Everywhere you go in Japan, there is a sense of calm, peace, and quiet. Even in the busy streets of Tokyo, the locals respect each other’s personal space. This calmness is also very obvious in Japanese design and art. The use of natural elements like wood, bamboo, and rock creates a relaxing ambience. On some design aspects, there is also a general sense of spiritualism, which is mainly reflected in Japanese architecture. This is where minimalism stems from.

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Try to translate peace and quiet on your design to achieve this conventional Japanese detail.

Bright Colors

Japanese style – especially for graphic designs – is often injected with life through vibrant colors. A quick color search for modern Japanese graphic design will lead you to a full spectrum of palettes. But the most common combinations include the colors red, gold, and black. The three colors are simple yet elegant, minimal yet sophisticated – the classic Japanese style. The use of these colors is grounded intensely in Japanese culture. Just think of Harajuku or Shibuya. It just makes sense that the vibrancy of these places is translated to these powerful colors.

If you’re doing contemporary Japanese design, these vibrant colors are the best options.

Floral Patterns

Floral patterns and Japan go hand in hand. The Japanese associates certain flowers with certain stories, symbols, and feelings. Because of how important florals are in the Japanese culture, they’re often used in design both as a decoration and a symbol.

Floral patterns are great to incorporate emotions in your design project.

Past and Present

In Japan, traditions are respected the same way modernity is celebrated. The most amazing Japanese artworks are usually a combination of modern Japanese elements and some of their rooted, traditional attributes. In essence, Japanese design is the combination of its tradition (simple, calm, understated) and modernism (minimal, vibrant, man-made).

Mix the past and the present to get the best of Japanese design.

Here are 60 exceptional Japanese graphic design to help you with your project.

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Posted by Igor Ovsyannykov

I'm a digital nomad and entrepreneur bouncing around South East Asia. When I'm not working here, I'm out taking photos. Follow me on Instagram: @igorovsyannykov

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