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Katsushika Hokusai


[Book Design, 2021]

Project focus:

Design a 32+page compelling artist catalog about Katsushika Hokusai.

Establish distinctive grid structure, typographic system, image handling, page layouts, and binding methods.

Who is Hokusai?

Katsushika Hokusai (葛飾 北斎) was a Japanese artist, ukiyo-e painter, and printmaker of the Edo period.

He is best known for the woodblock print series "Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji", which includes the internationally iconic print The Great Wave off Kanagawa, and is recognized as one of the greatest artists in the world.

Hokusai had a broad impact in his lifetime and subsequently, with his influence spanning to the present day. He was an early experimenter with the western linear perspective among Japanese artists. His contributions moved ukiyo-e's focus from scenes of city life like kabuki actors and sumo wrestlers to landscapes.

In Europe, he influenced the Impressionist movement with themes echoing his work appearing in the work of Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, as well as Art Nouveau, or Jugendstil in Germany.

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Design approach:

The book is in a 12" x 9" landscape format due to the orientation of Hokusai's work.

The front and back covers are studies for his most famous themes (Fine Wind, Clear Morning & The Great Wave off Kanagawa). I incorporated blue book cloth paper and hand-sewed the book using the Japanese binding method to have more connection with Japanese art.


Throughout the entire book, I kept a system of double-line frames, applying to the title of each chapter and for quotations. The design was inspired by Hokusai's work where he had his title on every print. I prioritized the titles in Kanji and the English version on the side.


In the "Ukiyo-e Print" chapter, I designed a three-layer translucent page, one with only dark blue, one with only light blue, and one with yellow color, to showcase how the ukiyo-e woodblock print works.


In the "Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji" chapter, I designed two fold-outs where you could see four pages together with the full Hokusai's Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji series prints and the 10 additional prints.


In the "Other Series of Work" chapter, I designed an accordion fold brochure for the "A Tour of the Waterfalls of the Provinces" series. The series contains a total of 8 prints, and each print is shown on a page of the brochure, and on the other side of the brochure is the title of the series and a zoom-in version of the most two famous prints from the series.

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