Kenjiro Sano, Mr Black & white

Kenjiro Sano Mr_Design | Mr_Black & White Exhibition Roundup

Find below a roundup of award-winning designer Kenjiro Sano’s MR_BLACK & WHITE exhibition which was running between 3rd March and 2nd April 2015 at Creation Gallery G8 in Tokyo.

Officially this is the 17th Yusaku Kamekura Design Award Exhibition to honour the first president of JAGDA (Japan Graphic Designers Association).

Kenjiro Sano Mr_Design | Mr_Black & White Exhibition at Recruit G8 Creation Gallery Tokyo Japan

Sano’s Hokusai inspired drawings.

JAGDA organizes the Yusaku Kamekura Design Award, choosing the best work from designs submitted to the “Graphic Design in Japan” annual. This year’s award goes to Kenjiro Sano’s posters for the “Hokusai Inspired Manga Exhibition” presented at Tokyo Designers Week 2014. These posters capture the outlines of traditional Hokusai’s drawings in simple tracing lines. Further the exhibition recognises Sano’s comprehensive body of work.

Kenjiro Sano Mr_Design | Mr_Black & White Exhibition at Recruit G8 Creation Gallery Tokyo Japan

Kenjiro Sano allowed himself a visual pun with the exhibition posters. Officially the exhibition is dedicated to the first president of JAGDA called Yusaku Kamekura. Japanese people notoriously shorten all kinds of words, including names. “Kame” by itself means turtle in Japanese.

Kenjiro Sano’s work is characterised by a cheerful spirit and ranges from advertising including graphic design, commercial film, character design, exhibition design to product design.

Kenjiro Sano Mr_Design | Mr_Black & White Exhibition at Recruit G8 Creation Gallery Tokyo Japan

Kenjiro Sano was born in Tokyo in 1972. After graduating from Tama Art University with a degree in Graphic Design, he joined Hakuhodo (an advertising agency). Later he established his own company, MR_DESIGN INC., and more recently MR_DESIGN_NEWYORK. Today Sano also serves as a professor at Tama Art University in the Department of Integrated Design.
Some of his most well-known work include projects for TOYOTOWN for Toyota, BOSS for Suntory, Lismo! for AU, the commercial film Stand By Me Doraemon and many others. Some of the awards he won were the New York ADC Gold Award, D&AD Yellow Pencil, Cannes Lions Gold, Tokyo ADC Members Award, Japan Package Design Association Gold Prize and ACC Gold Prize.

The Exhibition

Kenjiro Sano Mr_Design | Mr_Black & White Exhibition at Recruit G8 Creation Gallery Tokyo Japan

This is approximately the gallery tour you can experience in the round-up below.

Kenjiro Sano Mr_Design | Mr_Black & White Exhibition at Recruit G8 Creation Gallery Tokyo Japan

The Posters

Kenjiro Sano Mr_Design | Mr_Black & White Exhibition at Recruit G8 Creation Gallery Tokyo Japan Kenjiro Sano Mr_Design | Mr_Black & White Exhibition at Recruit G8 Creation Gallery Tokyo Japan
Kenjiro Sano Mr_Design | Mr_Black & White Exhibition at Recruit G8 Creation Gallery Tokyo Japan

Photo Art Direction for Toyota

Kenjiro Sano Mr_Design | Mr_Black & White Exhibition at Recruit G8 Creation Gallery Tokyo Japan
Kenjiro Sano Mr_Design | Mr_Black & White Exhibition at Recruit G8 Creation Gallery Tokyo Japan

The exhibition walls are sprinkled with fun little illustrations drawn by Sano.

Kenjiro Sano Mr_Design | Mr_Black & White Exhibition at Recruit G8 Creation Gallery Tokyo Japan

Assorted fashion editorials directed by Sano.

Kenjiro Sano Mr_Design | Mr_Black & White Exhibition at Recruit G8 Creation Gallery Tokyo Japan Kenjiro Sano Mr_Design | Mr_Black & White Exhibition at Recruit G8 Creation Gallery Tokyo Japan Kenjiro Sano Mr_Design | Mr_Black & White Exhibition at Recruit G8 Creation Gallery Tokyo Japan

The TV Commercials

Find below a list of TV commercial directed by Kenjiro Sano, plus a few sample videos.

Kenjiro Sano Mr_Design | Mr_Black & White Exhibition at Recruit G8 Creation Gallery Tokyo Japan Kenjiro Sano Mr_Design | Mr_Black & White Exhibition at Recruit G8 Creation Gallery Tokyo Japan

The Main Room

Kenjiro Sano Mr_Design | Mr_Black & White Exhibition at Recruit G8 Creation Gallery Tokyo Japan
Kenjiro Sano Mr_Design | Mr_Black & White Exhibition at Recruit G8 Creation Gallery Tokyo Japan

A cloth designed what appears to be a Sugar Glider.

Kenjiro Sano Mr_Design | Mr_Black & White Exhibition at Recruit G8 Creation Gallery Tokyo Japan

Collateral for Toyota’s ReBORN campaign which marks Toyota’s 75 year anniversary. the campaign also features the popular Doraemon character.

Kenjiro Sano Mr_Design | Mr_Black & White Exhibition at Recruit G8 Creation Gallery Tokyo Japan

Popup card for Toyota’s ReBORN campaign.

Kenjiro Sano Mr_Design | Mr_Black & White Exhibition at Recruit G8 Creation Gallery Tokyo Japan

Popup cards for Toyota’s TOYOTOWN campaign.

Kenjiro Sano Mr_Design | Mr_Black & White Exhibition at Recruit G8 Creation Gallery Tokyo Japan

Assorted products and print items designed by Sano

Kenjiro Sano Mr_Design | Mr_Black & White Exhibition at Recruit G8 Creation Gallery Tokyo Japan

Notepads in various shapes such as houses, wood blocks or Sushi styles.

Kenjiro Sano Mr_Design | Mr_Black & White Exhibition at Recruit G8 Creation Gallery Tokyo Japan

Character designs directed by Sano.

Kenjiro Sano Mr_Design | Mr_Black & White Exhibition at Recruit G8 Creation Gallery Tokyo Japan

The 2014 new years card designed for Kenjiro Sano’s studio MR_Design.

Kenjiro Sano Mr_Design | Mr_Black & White Exhibition at Recruit G8 Creation Gallery Tokyo Japan
Kenjiro Sano Mr_Design | Mr_Black & White Exhibition at Recruit G8 Creation Gallery Tokyo Japan

Art direction for fashion label “N”.

Kenjiro Sano Mr_Design | Mr_Black & White Exhibition at Recruit G8 Creation Gallery Tokyo Japan
Kenjiro Sano Mr_Design | Mr_Black & White Exhibition at Recruit G8 Creation Gallery Tokyo Japan

2014 Art Directors Club Tokyo year book cover and packaging design

Kenjiro Sano Mr_Design | Mr_Black & White Exhibition at Recruit G8 Creation Gallery Tokyo Japan

A cake shaped note pad.

Kenjiro Sano Mr_Design | Mr_Black & White Exhibition at Recruit G8 Creation Gallery Tokyo Japan

Packaging designs for “Natto” (fermented Soya beans).

Kenjiro Sano Mr_Design | Mr_Black & White Exhibition at Recruit G8 Creation Gallery Tokyo Japan

Tokyo Sushi badge.

Kenjiro Sano Mr_Design | Mr_Black & White Exhibition at Recruit G8 Creation Gallery Tokyo Japan

黒 (Kuro) – the Kanji letter for “black” – All designs in this small side-room are kept in black and white.

Kenjiro Sano Mr_Design | Mr_Black & White Exhibition at Recruit G8 Creation Gallery Tokyo Japan
Kenjiro Sano Mr_Design | Mr_Black & White Exhibition at Recruit G8 Creation Gallery Tokyo Japan

Poster ads for Tama Art University (in Japanese: Tama Bijutsu Daigaku. Therefore also called “Tamabi”).

Kenjiro Sano Mr_Design | Mr_Black & White Exhibition at Recruit G8 Creation Gallery Tokyo Japan

Nyan Mage – a Samurai-cat mascot for the amusement part Edo Wonderland.

Kenjiro Sano Mr_Design | Mr_Black & White Exhibition at Recruit G8 Creation Gallery Tokyo Japan

“Nyan Mage” is lying in the middle of the small side-room.

Kenjiro Sano Mr_Design | Mr_Black & White Exhibition at Recruit G8 Creation Gallery Tokyo Japan Kenjiro Sano Mr_Design | Mr_Black & White Exhibition at Recruit G8 Creation Gallery Tokyo Japan
Kenjiro Sano Mr_Design | Mr_Black & White Exhibition at Recruit G8 Creation Gallery Tokyo Japan

Sano’s award winning Cubist typographical renditions of Hokusai woodblock prints. The small illustrations show the original Hokusai art work from 150 years ago.

Kenjiro Sano Mr_Design | Mr_Black & White Exhibition at Recruit G8 Creation Gallery Tokyo Japan Kenjiro Sano Mr_Design | Mr_Black & White Exhibition at Recruit G8 Creation Gallery Tokyo Japan
Kenjiro Sano Mr_Design | Mr_Black & White Exhibition at Recruit G8 Creation Gallery Tokyo Japan

Top: Landscape for Braun. Bottom: Logomark and posters for the Tokyo International Film Festival.

Kenjiro Sano Mr_Design | Mr_Black & White Exhibition at Recruit G8 Creation Gallery Tokyo Japan

Author Information


Founder & designer at Tokyo based Bento Graphics Inc. Specialities are corporate identity design, interface design, user experience design and website/mobile development with responsive design.

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