Takenobu Igarashi:
A to Z

The complete retrospective of Japan’s ingenious master of three-dimensional typography

  • Funding ended
  • 352 backers
  • £26,398.41 of £25,000.00 pledged
Funded 105%
  • Funding ended
  • 352 backers
  • £26,398.41 of £25,000.00 pledged
Funded 105%


In the mid-1970s designer Takenobu Igarashi began a prolific, decade-long exploration into possibilities of three-dimensional typography. His first experiments with axonometric lettering appeared on magazine covers, posters, and record sleeves – taking influence from the Avant Garde typography of the 1920s but rendered afresh as bold sculptural letterforms.

Timeless, arresting, and technically dazzling, Igarashi’s signature style demonstrates a mastery of three-dimensional type and perspective draftsmanship, refined long before the introduction of computers into the design industry.

A to Z offers an exhaustive guide to Igarashi’s experiments with typography, featuring not only his celebrated print and physical works – many photographed specially for this publication – but also a first look, using never before seen archival work, at the plans, drawings and production drafts behind his iconic works. Spanning early print works, hand-drawn experiments, self-initiated sculptural pieces, and high-profile 3D identities for a range of international clients and institutions, A to Z is a long overdue overview of one of the most revered but least celebrated graphic designers of the 20th century.


Sakura Nomiyama




Graphic Design


260 x 200mm
140gsm uncoated stock



A copy of A to Z

  • Exclusive Volume edition and cover
  • Your name in the book
  • Previews and access to special content

Custom cover edition

A copy of A to Z featuring a letterform cover of your choosing

  • Personalized cover
  • Your name in the book
  • Previews and access to special content
  • Tracked shipping

Book + Print

A copy of A to Z and an A1 ‘Design’ screen print, signed by Takenobu Igarashi

  • Exclusive reissue of poster
  • Your name in the book
  • Previews and access to special content
  • Tracked shipping

Custom cover edition + print

A signed copy of A to Z featuring a letterform cover of your choosing and an A1 ‘Design’ screen print, signed by Takenobu Igarashi

  • Personalized cover
  • Exclusive reissue of classic poster
  • Your name in the book
  • Tracked shipping

Book Early Bird

A copy of A to Z

  • Reduced price
  • Exclusive Volume edition and cover
  • Your name in the book
  • Previews and access to special content

Funding successful. This project closed on Sunday, December 16 2018 6:00 pm UTC +00:00.

All pledges will be refunded in full if the funding goal is not met within the allotted time.

Takenobu Igarashi is a master-mentor who taught me the ABCs of form (and life)

John Maeda

New perspectives on typography

Presented in thematic sections labelled from ‘A’ to ‘Z’, which set out the principles and practices of Igarashi’s distinctive spatial and typographic thinking, the book eschews a traditional chronology in favour of a more playful form, mixing landmark designs, production drawings and previously unseen works alongside a guiding narrative produced in close collaboration with Igarashi himself.

The publication has been conceived not only to act as a monograph but as a guide to designers of all disciplines, offering detailed insight into Igarashi’s visionary design process. Readers will be able to pore over unused designs, pen and pencil markup boards and the detailed drawings that reveal the process and underpinnings of Igarashi’s aesthetic.

Substantial and utilitarian, A to Z is at once a landmark publication and an everyday design resource and inspiration. Designed by acclaimed Tokyo studio, Mori Inc., under Igarashi’s direction, the volume is an essential addition for designers’ studios, the typographer’s bookshelf or the collector’s library.

26 letterform covers, choose yours

Using the latest HP Indigo print technology, our special edition, available only as part of this campaign, offers backers and collectors the unique opportunity to personalize their editions by choosing their own Igarashi letterform for the cover. From the 1983 ‘Alphabet Card’ series produced for Alphabet Gallery, readers can select their favourite letterform or initials. Backers of this reward will be surveyed for their chosen letterforms prior to production.

The book case will be printed in dazzling colors onto a finely textured Buckram substrate as a one-off edition, signed by Igarashi and shipped by courier. The ultimate edition for fans and devotees of the master typographer.

Takenobu Igarashi monumentalized type and typography when most of us were still living in Gutenberg’s shadow. With his unprecedented 3D type, Igarashi created a even larger shadow that brought the old world together with the future one.

Steven Heller


Igarashi created a series of cover illustrations for Design News Magazine, published by the Japan Institute of Design Promotion between 1980 and 1981. The compositions featured bold, sculptural renderings of a single word, ‘Design’, and are largely regarded as among Igarashi’s most singular works.

Backers of the print reward will receive an A1 (594 x 841 mm) screenprinted reproduction from the series, in black and bright yellow, on heavyweight uncoated stock and signed by Igarashi. Prints will be shipped in a secure and sturdy archival tube.

Volume’s edition of this classic Igarashi piece is only available as part of this campaign and will not be reissued again.

The Roman alphabet, composed of basic geometric figures, has a fascinatingly simple structure, making the most complex expression possible.

Takenobu Igarashi

Meet the author

Born in 1944 in Japan, Takenobu Igarashi graduated from Tama Art University in 1968 and began his career as a graphic designer in the 1970s. His work captured the attention of global clients and designers, and in the 1980s he collaborated with design titans Massimo Vignelli and Alan Fletcher. Later in his career, as he pursued less commercial activities, he has found deep engagement with Japanese crafts, and – coinciding with a period living in Los Angeles – produced sculpture and artworks for public spaces based on letterforms, in a variety of materials and scales, across Japan and internationally. Today, his works are in the permanent collections of over 30 museums, including The Museum of Modern Art, New York. He has been emeritus professor of Tama Art University since 2015.

Progress bulletin

One comment

Dear A to Z backer,

From the entire team at Volume, we first of all want to thank you for your patience as we’ve worked through the final stages of this exceptional publication. The editorial and production processes have been painstaking, working directly with Mori Design in Tokyo, and with Igarashi-san in Sapporo. As a result, although the book has now been finalized, it is not yet on press. But this isn’t just a holding update.

As the book and its design over almost 400 pages have developed, the creative team and Igarashi have been evolving the packaging behind the book. Sakura Nomiyama, the book’s editor, explains: ‘Throughout the book, readers can sneak into Igarashi’s design process and creative mind with a lot of materials that have never been shown before. The book shows his journey in multiple dimensions, but also offers inspiration to people to expand their creative imaginations. In this sense, it can be seen almost as a practical resource, and as such Mr Igarashi thought it appropriate for the Volume edition to have a more casual appearance.’ The result will be a chunky paperback, featuring a 3D letterform on the cover created only for the Volume edition and presented in a cardboard slipcase with sticker. The Volume edition will be limited to fewer than 250 copies, and not available anywhere else.

This development has, however, had an impact on the production process. The nature of Igarashi’s work and the book feel Mori Design have created have also provided us with an opportunity to explore the latest digital printing processes. While the entire team is doing everything it can to print and ship the books before the holiday season, we do not want to compromise quality, so there is a chance the book won’t be ready until early in the New Year. Regardless, Volume would like to apologize for the delayed schedule in the form of a £10 voucher towards the next project you would like to support. Details will follow.

We expect that any supporter of a project dedicated to the masterworks of Takenobu Igarashi is a true connoisseur of design, so we hope you can appreciate the thinking above and bear with us just a few weeks longer.

The Volume team





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1 Reply to “Progress bulletin”

  1. muddy_funster32

    So excited for this 🙂

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