Seigensha, 2018. Paperback, 260pp., 4.25 x 6 inches
A revised reprint of Masahiro Anezaki’s ‘Practical Ornamental Characters and Designs’, first published in 1926, this book reproduces and rearranges the entire archive of characters he collected and edited.
At the outset of the 20th century, long before typesetting and words like typography and lettering became established in Japan, designers in the commercial art field carefully drew characters by hand, one at a time, directly onto a variety of media. This included bills, flyers, signboards, posters, and more. Unlike what is seen in modern typography today, these handwritten characters contain a wealth of creativity and dynamism, reflective of the unconventional spirit of the time.