"Power of Design" Exhibition

Tobacco & Salt Museum

poster for "Power of Design" Exhibition

This event has ended.

The small cigarette packages, charged by the power of design, appeal eloquently to the customer. Although the package design is now widely recognized its importance to be the "face" of the product, one of the first people in Japan to acknowledge the power of design was the tobacco merchant of the Meiji era. From the traditional woodcut printing to the more stylish designs and printing techniques imported from the west, the tobacco products from the numerous merchants competed for their beauty.

Although the introduction of the monopoly into the tobacco market in the end of 19th century resulted in limiting product variety, the monopoly bureau started hiring professional designers to work on the selected brands, thus creating new trends in designs through the Taisho and Showa era.

During the long war years, the cigarette packages literally lost colors. The new era of post-war design in Japan began with the cigarette “Peace”, executed by Raymond Loewy, one of the best-known industrial designers in history. In the following decades of rapid economic growth and internationalization, Japanese minds and views continued to shift and so did the cigarette packages design, mirroring the mood of the time.

The exhibition reviews each package from various aspects: the historical background, the printing technique, and the intentions of the designer. This is a brief historical outline of modern Japanese design viewed from just one item, the cigarette package.

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From 2009-04-18 To 2009-05-29

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