IDEA #391 — Alternative Reality


Alternative Reality: design and imagination in dangerous times; where fantasy and reality intersect

Issue #391, published at the beginning of the worldwide Covid pandemic, responds to the shift in economic and cultural activities that occurred, recognizing how the existing notions about the form and use of design were likewise transformed by global circumstances.

The first half of this feature presents the Phantom Spoon project and introduces the phantom design projects of designers from around the world, who contributed with PR materials for exhibitions and events that were either canceled or postponed due to the pandemic. By presenting each graphic along with the circumstances in which the project was discontinued as well as the story of its production, a visual archive is created of this period of global lockdown, in which parallel forms of design expression were produced.

In the second half, IDEA interviewed newspaper design departments from different countries about information graphics in the news media for the article, “Data Journalism and Design.” By presenting different approaches to the same data and interviews with designers, the authors invite readers to reflect on parallel design expressions in this time of crisis. News organizations included in this section include The Nikkei, The New York Times, and the South China Morning Post.

Additional articles in Japanese include an interview with Hitoshi Suzuki and a profile of the designer Tsutomu Toda (b. 1951) who oversaw the design of the lengendary magazine Yu, before moving into editorial design and becoming a leader in the computerization of book and magazine production in Japan; an interview with designer Takahiro Kuramine; and a conversation between illustrator Noritake and designer Daijiro Ohara.

Contributors to this issue include Bibliomania, Mina Tabei, No Ideas, Polymode, Ines Cox, Juan Pablo Rahal, Charles Mazé & Coline Sunier, Mevis & Van Deursen, Roxanne Maillet, BAD Studio, Ryu Mieno, Saki Souda, Åbäke and Sarah Garcin, Yoshihisa Tanaka, IN-FO.CO, Brigade Cynophile, Mathias Schweizer, Shinwoo Park, Koji Kurihara, Fanette Mellier, Atelier Baudelaire × GeneralPublic Studio, Information Office, Shiraz Abdullahi Gallab, Ohara Daijiro, FISK, So Hashizume, Traduttore, traditore, Omnivore, Inc, Richard Niessen, Jean-Claude Chianale, Studio Remote, Benny Van den Meulengracht-Vrancx, Chris Hamamoto & Jon Sueda, Berton Hasebe, Our Polite Society, New Documents, the Rodina, Ian lynam, Colpa, Yangyifan Dong, Minkyoung Kim and James Chae, Yui Takada, Ramon Tejada, León Muñoz Santini Studio, Laura Coombs and Mindy Seu

IDEA is Japan's leading graphic design magazine. Each issue offers insight into international and Japanese designers and their work through historical analysis, criticism, and examples of projects. In print since 1953, IDEA is a critical forum for design criticism in Asia. 

Designed by Kensaku Kato, Hiroyuki Kishida (LABORATORIES)

Published by Seibundo Shinkosha Co., Ltd., 2020

Bilingual, with texts in Japanese and English

Softcover, 200 pages, 8.9 × 11.75 inches

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