Japanese Gaffer Tape Signage


This illustrates why I like Japan. And also features kanji and gaffertape.

If you’ve ever been to Japan you will have seen guards with illuminated batons who direct people away from construction sites. On one hand it looks an even worse job than the bored security guards in the UK but as is often the case in Japan the guards take their job seriously and seem to have pride in it.

Shuetsu Sato went one step further. On his own initiative he started to make signs out of gaffertape while the station he was working at was under renovation. I believe it was Shinjuku which is confusing at the best of times. He does it out of public-spiritedness, to help people find their way. His bosses allow or encourage it. He takes great care over his work. I’d say he takes great pride in it. Apparently in his own freetime he has made signs in other locations.

He came to the attention of some artists who made a documentary about him and has now even appeared in a pop promo making one of his signs.

The typography is amazing, especially considering the materials he works with. It’s a lesson in information design.
For me it demonstrates Japan’s wealth in talented amateurs doing amazing things for the joy of it. It also demonstrates Japans genuine public-spiritedness and attention to detail. I think “only in Japan”.

Unfortunately I’ve never seen any of these signs myself. The photo above is by antjeverena on Flickr and is used (and cropped) under his Creative Commons license.

26. January 2009 by ロバート
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