Ikko Tanaka is known in japan as the father of graphic design.
In 1963 he formed Tanaka Design Studio where he worked for corporations such as Mazda, Hanae Mori, Issey Miyake and the International Garden and Greenery Exhibition. He rose to prominence in the graphics industry in Japan with designs that synthesized Japanese pictorial traditions with popular Western styles of typography and layout.
He designed, among other things, posters, logos, packaging and annual reports. Among his wide ranging work, his designs for the symbols for the Expo ’85 in Tsukuba and the World City Expo Tokyo ’96 garnered much attention.
In 1975 he was appointed Creative Director of Seibu Department Stores Ltd and became responsible for art direction of the Sezon group. A master of typography, he was known for his crisp, abstract imagery, meticulous sense of colour and elimination of all inconsequential detail
Ikko Tanaka is also credited with developing the Muji together with Kazuko Koike (marketing consultant), and Takashi Sugimoto (interior designer). Tanaka articulated the Muji vision and appearance, and he provided ideas and prototypes that visualized the design strategy. He worked as Muji’s art director until 2001.
Throughout his career he won many awards and showed his work at multiple exhibitions.
He died in 2002 of a heart attack at the age of 71.