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Letterform Archive Introduces New Publication: The Complete Commercial Artist: Making Modern Design in Japan, 1928–1930

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Katie Peeler, [email protected], +1.415.223.2823

SAN FRANCISCO, California, February 22, 2024 —  Letterform Archive’s newest publication, The Complete Commercial Artist: Making Modern Design in Japan, 1928-1930, is a journey through the most important Japanese design publication of its time. With an introduction and walk-through by art and design historian Gennifer Weisenfeld, the book is brimming with colorful, inventive designs for posters, storefronts, shop window, photo collages, manga ads, and more.

 In the 1920s, Japanese designers developed a radical new vision for their profession. Engaging modernist and avant-garde trends from abroad, refashioning local graphic and calligraphic forms, and using the latest tools and techniques, they poured fresh colors and expressive forms into all facets of consumer life, from streetscapes to the printed page.

The Complete Commercial Artist, a twenty-four–volume compendium released between 1928 and 1930, is the most important—and most visually dazzling—document of this still underappreciated moment in global design history. Produced by pioneers of modern graphic arts and lettering in Japan, it remains a remarkable source of inspiration and novelty for contemporary audiences.

Art historian Gennifer Weisenfeld takes readers inside the rare compendium, introducing hundreds of full-color reproductions across the series, with an extensive historical essay and volume-by-volume deep-dives into the designs and their social context. Offering insights into Japanese lettering and design practices, key cultural traditions and modernist innovations, and the debates animating art and design in the 1920s, Weisenfeld provides fresh perspective on the emergence of Japanese commercial art amid a transforming world landscape.

Paperback with jacket and vellum belly band $60 | 10⅜ × 7⅞ inches | 432 pp, 500+ images | ISBN: 978-1-7368633-4-3

For more about The Complete Commercial Artist: Making Modern Design in Japan, 1928-1930, visit

About Letterform Archive

Founded in 2015, Letterform Archive is a non-profit center for preserving and sharing the history of the graphic arts. Letterform Archive Books produces exquisite titles based on its collection of more than 100,000 artifacts, as well as bold new books on design, type, and lettering. Distributed worldwide by D.A.P. (Distributed Arts Publishers), the Archive’s publications include Die Fläche: Design and Lettering of the Vienna Secession, 1902-1911, Strikethrough: Typography Messages of Protest, Bauhaus Typography at 100, W. A. Dwiggins: A Life in Design, Morla : Design, and Only on Saturday: The Wood Type Prints of Jack Stauffacher. Upcoming titles include Citizen Printer: The Social Justice Art of Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr. and Alphabet in Motion: A Pop-Up Book for Typophiles by papercraft virtuoso Kelly Anderson. Learn more at

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