A paste-up and illustration guide of our JIDA logo, stored in our office (photographed in December 2015).

JIDA’s Beginnings and Symbolic “d” Mark

 

Masako Uchino, JIDA Professional Committee Member

 

The Japan Industrial Designers’ Association (JIDA) was founded in 1952. The association had no logo at the time, and the following year, the already renowned graphic designer Yusaku Kamekura followed through on a recommendation and joined JIDA. It’s said that Kamekura, noticing the absence of a mark, designed one. More interesting background on the “d” mark may be found in the commentary section of Yusaku Kamekura’s publication of selected works.

 


No. 173: Japan Industrial Designers’ Association logo, 1953

The association may have been established about a year before I made its logo. I was made a member with some urging from two or three people like Masaru Katsumi. When I became a member, it was my responsibility to make the association logo. I illustrated the “d” from “designer.” The look of it makes me feel nostalgic; I quite like its simplicity and quiet, solid heft. A year later, I reconciled with the fact that I was principally a professional graphic designer and left the association. It became as if I’d joined the association just to design the mark. The funny thing is that, years later, architect Walter Gropius came to Japan and saw this mark, and he said how very Japanese it was for the mark to resemble some kind of agricultural tool. It’s a fairly well-known story now.

Yusaku Kamekura’s Designs. 1st ed. Tokyo: Rokuyosya, October 8, 1983: 224.


 

Kamekura thus describes the conception of JIDA’s “d” mark and the early days of design. Incidentally, last year, several members notified our office that an Italian cosmetics company Davines sported a logo with a “d” strikingly similar to JIDA’s. A 2020 Tokyo Olympics emblem design proposal sparked a similar outcry, and in relation to this, the name Yusaku Kamekura, who designed the 1964 Olympic logo and poster, flashed across newspapers and the covers of magazines.

It’s against this backdrop that we thought to renew the curiosity of our members about JIDA’s historic “d” mark.

 

At its inception, the association took on a name translated into English as the Japan Industrial Designers’ Association. As the name expressly states, the association was for designers, not design itself, reflecting the philosophy of its founding members.

 

Years later, in 2021, in response to circumstances quite changed since JIDA’s founding, we elected to revise this name from the Japan Industrial Designers’ Association to the Japan Industrial Design Association.

We have nevertheless inherited the intentions set upon JIDA’s founding, and we hope our members continue to be interested in the present and future of industrial design.

 

Yukikazu Ueda, Director of the JIDA Professional Committee
Toshiharu Horikoshi, Professional Committee Chair
Research and text: Masako Uchino, Professional Committee Member (Patent Attorney)
(This text is a combination of new text and that which was written in 2015 by the Professional Committee during research conducted on the association logo.)

 


Postscript, 2021 Public Relations Committee

 

In Seichi no kozo: Nihon no indasutoriaru dezain (Structure of Dexterity: Industrial Design Works in Japan, ed. JIDA, 1983), Masaru Katsumi recalls pointing out that as a new design association, JIDA needed a logotype, and Isamu Kenmochi, who agreed with the notion, proposed they appeal to Yusaku Kamekura for its design. That Kamekura did go on to design the signature “d” mark is described above.

 

With the change to JIDA’s name in 2021, we deemed it necessary to change the association description and review JIDA’s logo (that is, the “d” mark). Reviews were repeated based on circumstances of the mark’s uses up to that point, and the research results compiled by various committees like the one seen above. Findings were reviewed thereafter by Taku Satoh, who is also the president of JAGDA.

 

With his deep understanding for and insight into JIDA’s “d” mark, which as described here has been passed down by numerous parties since JIDA’s founding, Mr. Satoh digitized Mr. Kamekura’s illustration guide for greater accuracy and designed a logotype fit to accompany JIDA’s mark.

 

We hope it, along with the changed association name, will be passed down into the future.