[Adventures around fonts] Part 7: Approaching the activities of the unique and rich "karuta"-"font karuta" production team with love


Hello, this is sales department Ando.

The first ``adventure over fonts'' in 2020 is the production of `` font karuta'' which has overwhelming support from people who are interested in characters such as typefaces and game lovers as well as designers and creators since its release in 2017. We interviewed Megumi Sekine, Chiyo Date, Waniko Hoshi and Ryoko Yokota who are involved.

Ordinary karuta is a variant of "font karuta", which has different tastes and lids. While listening to the history of birth, attractiveness, and future prospects in detail, how did the production team begin to interact with the letters about the "Lovely unique rich typeface" released at the end of last year as a font karuta reader? Approached.

[Font Karuta Production Team]
* In the following, clockwise from the left in the front row of the photo

Megumi Sekine (Megumi Sekine)
Graduated from Kuwasawa Design School. After working at a design office for 7 years, became a freelancer. Engaged in graphic design for Advertisement, magazines, books, logo design, and illustration.

Star Waniko (Waniko Hoshi)
After working for the Publishing Culture Industry Promotion Foundation, started freelance work as a kimono while working on illustration, manga, editing and web design. Showa Naya Studio & Kimono Class Management. Author of comics essay "Recommendation of Okimono Life".

Chiyo Date (Chiyo Date)
Graphic designer, writer, lecturer. After working as a production company and working as a freelancer, established TART DESIGN OFFICE in 2012. Major books include "Design Rules [New Edition]" and "Color Design Sample Book".

Ryoko Yokota (Yoshiko Yokota)
Graduated from the University of Tsukuba, College of Art. After working as an Advertisement director at a printing company, he became freelance. He is mainly involved in magazine and book design and DTP, including "MdN".

"Loveful, unique and rich typefaces" with condensed font appeal

The interview was conducted at our new office (Kita-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo), which opened in December last year.

-- Happy New Year. Thank you for your time today.

Font Karuta Production Team: Congratulations. Thank you for your cooperation.

――Everyone, while doing the main job every day, I think that you had a busy day towards the end of the year, with "Loving unique and rich typeface" at the end of last year (2019/12/30) .. I think that each person has a role, and I was involved in the production of this book from various angles. Please tell me about the particularly difficult points.

Sekine: I was in charge of the format design and the image diagram on the left page. The image diagram is produced by Mr. Date 7: me 3. The pages of Display typeface progressed smoothly, but it was difficult to make a difference between Mincho typeface and Gothic typeface, and the speed suddenly dropped.

Yokota: I was in charge of the layout. At the close-up on the right page, the layout looked like a puzzle when there were many letters. I was careful not to make it difficult to understand.

Date: I was in charge of explaining each typeface on the right page. With the image of a visual book, the explanation was cut to the last minute. I really wanted to write more (laughs).

――I think you hit this book with thoughts that couldn't fit in the explanation of the font Karuta (60 characters) (laughs), but the explanation of 300 characters expresses the difference in the design of all 89 typefaces. I think it was quite a daunting task. Was there a standard typeface for comparison?

Date: Mincho type is "Yu Mincho type", Gothic type is "Yu Gothic type". With the standard (zero) typeface, which has no bias and has a very good overall balance, I took a closer look at the differences in the size of the old and new areas. I picked up the point of "I want to introduce here!" while switching the file each time I typed all JIS standard + alpha characters.

――I think that another big feature of this book is that each page has a Usage. Who was in charge of collecting the examples?

Hoshi: I was in charge of collecting examples. I wanted to include familiar cases such as those used in signboards and publications, rather than being excellent in design, but since only 4 people can not collect it very much, font search team We formed and had about 15 people cooperate (laughs).

From the point of view of permission and financial reasons, there were some who forgot to cry and posted, and some even issued a "research request" to the Font Search Corps to see if there was a better example (laughs).

"The difference in fonts is often compared to a voice actor. The character and emotions of words change depending on the character, so that the character's personality changes when the voice actor changes." (pp.14 ― "A font is a "voice color"? "Than). "Lovely, unique and rich typefaces" with two pages devoted to the explanation of each typeface, in order to make it easy for beginners to understand. The font love of the production team is scattered everywhere. About 20 of our fonts are also posted.

――By the way, how long did it take from conception to publication?

Date: The concept itself was six months ago. However, it took only about two months from the actual production to the publication. I should have had a little more room (laughs).

――Are there any points that you should have done this because the production was limited time?

Date: I have no complaints. Actually, I already have a plan for the next work. I think that the base of the design was done this time, so I would like to prepare the extended version with the typeface that could not be posted and the new typeface released by each font maker while following this time in terms of the overall configuration.

In the first edition of "Font Karuta," I was worried about how to decide on 48 typefaces, but later I said "I also wanted to include this," so I prepared an extended version (*1) one after another. It's the same flow.

*1 Expanded version of Font Karuta:
In November 2017, we released "Expansion Pack White/Black" only for Mincho type, and "Expansion Pack Wind/Thunder" only for Gothic type in November 2018 (both packs are currently sold out). In November 2019, the third edition `` Sweet & Bitter Was released.

――To whom do you want to send this book?

Star: I hope that not only designers, but also general people who are not familiar with design will take it widely. It is used in the adult furikake Packaging Matisse (Pp.36-37), this font is the same as Evangelion's Heavy Mincho font! I hope this book will make you interested in fonts through this book.

■ Create your own font karuta from sudden inspiration!

--In the first place, I heard that the history of the birth of "Font Karuta" was interesting.

Sekine: At the New Year's party in 2017, when a group of creators gathered, I thought, “Let's bring something to play with!” and made me a karuta with a printer at home.

Font Karuta's "mastermind" Sekine (No. 1). In charge of product design and Event exhibition related to karuta.

-Why was it "Karuta"?

Coughene: I had a sudden inspiration for no particular reason (laughs). It's New Year's, and I wonder if it's exciting with karuta. When Mr. Date posted the situation at that time on Twitter, it was unexpectedly talked about and had a great response, so the story was “Let's commercialize!” and the product was commercialized the following month.

――(While looking at Date's tweet at the time), you can see the green border, the word "unique typeface with love" and the prototype of the current "font karuta".

Date: By the way, all of Sekine's own cards are included in the card holder. "The bills get dirty," he says. But this is really the prototype.

Font Karuta's "Character", character child Date (No. 2). In charge of explanations and manuscripts of karuta-related works.

――And, in the process of commercialization, this member was gathered.

Date: The original meeting was a bulletin board on the Internet. We use a bulletin board for working mothers to exchange information about nursery schools on a nationwide scale, but these four people are the ones I met at the creator subcommittee there.

It was based on a similar living environment, and I knew what kind of work each person was doing, so I was loosely connected. And among the creators who gathered at the New Year party, these four were the ones who actually moved toward commercialization (laughs). Now, we do everything from design to production, manufacturing, product management, and sales.

All the words written on the note are "Loveful, unique and rich typeface." However, the fonts used are all different. The reader reads the name of the font written on the reading card and picks up the ticket that uses that font. "Font Karuta" is a simple and profound game!

――What did you pay particular attention to when commercializing “Font Karuta”?

Sekine: As a premise, karuta is a game, so if you collect all your favorite fonts and recommended fonts, the game will lose its appeal. I think it's more interesting as a game to put in fonts with various variations, because it's easy to remember, and on the other hand, it's difficult to distinguish them. We selected it from that perspective.

――Please tell us about the appeal of “karuta” again.

Yokota: The format of the game called Karuta is familiar to Japanese people, so I think it's easy to get started. On top of that, "font karuta" is rich in game play, and I'm not familiar with the fonts, so I can't take a bill. In the first half, people who are familiar with fonts get the bills, but in the second half, people with good memory and reflexes often take the bills. Even people who do not know can get excited, and I think that it also has an element of ice break.

Hoshi: The other day, I participated in the "Karuuta2020" held at Shibuya Hikarie as an exhibitor, but I strongly felt that it is a product that is packed with love and is fun to play.

Personally, I would like to create an "educational karuta" on the theme of education, where you can know the types and classifications of fonts and in what situations they are more effective from a childhood. ..

Mr. Hoshi (No. 3), the font karuta "foreign officer". In charge of website production and sales.

――The theme of "education" is worth the effort. By the way, do your children like "font karuta"?

Date: Hoshi and I have children of the same age (second grader), but they are strong and strong. There is no match. Now, the text that has been got at school Text to see the "this, or" letterpress Fumihisa tomorrow morning, "Do?" Or to say normally (laughs).

-It's a ridiculous level (laughs).

Date: I feel that the younger generation of today is especially accustomed to Display typefaces in an environment where they are exposed to large amounts of textual information every day, such as YouTube and TV tickers.

――Not only in the younger generation, we have had a great number of opportunities to interact with content through displays, but it's not easy for us to widely promote Karuta in this era, right?

Date: Personally, I think it is the printed matter that makes the text most readable and beautiful. Of course it's nice to see the letters through the display, but I would like you to take a closer look at the printed matter.

Yokota: There is also a version of "Font Karuta" that uses letterpress printing, and when you compare it to an ordinary tag, the feeling of ink shine is completely different. It would be great if you could see it, touch it, and enjoy it.

"Tsukiji Typographic No. 2 Minchotai" is included as a special edition created by typographic printing (a printing method that uses a combination of printing characters = a printing method that uses typographic printing). Compared with the regular version, the ink shine is definitely different.

――Mr. Hoshi-san received the keyword “education” earlier, but what kind of new karuta do you think Yokota-san, the brain of “font karuta”, would like to make in the future?

Yokota: What I want to make is "European version". I want to fly to the world by supporting the European version. I also hope to spread the Japanese karuta culture to the world.

--Since the number of European typefaces is so large that it is not comparable to Japanese typefaces, isn't it difficult to choose?

Yokota: You can make an infinite amount of that (laughs).

――I see, that's one way of thinking (laughs).

Font Karuta's "brain" Yokota (No. 4). In charge of design and specifications for both printing and games.

"Bidai" "Elementary school lettering" "University graduation thesis" "Santa Claus printing machine"

――Here, I would like to look back on the “encounters with letters” of everyone involved in the production of karuta. First of all, I would like to ask Mr. Sekine.

Sekine: I was the best child in drawing in elementary school, junior high school and class. When I applied for a poster exhibition, I won a prize, and I was very interested. However, when I went to a prep school at the University of Art, there were many people who were the best at drawing in the class, and I was frightened, saying, "It was a frog in the well...". Even so, I've always wanted to go to art school, so I went to school safely without giving up.

I've always liked graphic production since then. There was a theme, and the kids liked to think about what pictures and characters would be suitable for that theme.

――How about Date?

Date: When I was in the upper grades of elementary school, I was in the lettering club for club activities (laughs). I was working on a design typeface with my teacher. I can clearly remember that I made a "tomato" typeface with a lot of fluffy texture.

When I think about it now, my interest in letters is from the fun part where meaning and words come in at the same time. I was really happy when I was able to successfully match the letters as shapes with the letters as meaning. That hasn't changed even now, and when designing, I always think "what kind of typeface is appropriate to convey the meaning of this character?"

――Please tell us about the points of contact with Mr. Hoshi.

Hoshi: I am the type who entered the world of characters from print. My mother, a nursery teacher, was a picture book enthusiast, and I had a picture book at the same level as my elementary school library. I was born and raised in the mountains by the influence of my mother who loved books like no other, to the extent that I wanted to open a private library for my children in the neighborhood. It was a child who came out (laughs).

I wanted to do a job related to books anyway, so I went to the Faculty of Letters at the university. By the way, I wrote a novel for a university graduation thesis, but the main character was a girl working part-time at a sign shop (laugh).

――A very interesting episode (laughs). Do you like signboards?

Hoshi: Yes, I love it. I always wonder, "Why can I write such nice signboard characters?" "Signboard store is amazing!" I myself belonged to a manga circle when I was in college, but I really liked writing letters on the signboards of cultural festivals. I still like to write letters in bag letters.

Date: I also like fukuro letters. In the first place, I think it's quite different depending on the person whether the character is captured as a line or as a surface. I think that I think that I can write and draw on sack letters because I see letters as faces.

――I see, Date's perspective is a study! Finally, Mr. Yokota, please.

Yokota: What were your dreams for the future when you were in elementary school? I said, "I want to be a bookstore." I also love books very much, and my parents were often angry at me saying, "Do not read all the books, study."

You made a picture book when you were in the first grade of elementary school. I think that it's a common story to draw a picture and attach a sentence, but I remember that I finally made a book (laugh). From that time on, you would have thought that it would not be a book without binding. When I was in the 3rd and 4th grade of elementary school, I asked Santa Claus for a printing machine (laughs). Playing with a small printing machine, the child became an adult and joined a printing company.

Since I was a junior high school student, I used to write letters on posters, but I wanted to be a designer after I was in high school. So I chose the Visual Communication Design Course at the University of Tsukuba. Now I am a freelance designer making books.

--I have never heard of an elementary school student asking Santa Claus for a printing machine (laughs). Thank you for the gem episode. Next time, I'd like to ask you about your design preferences.

Cough: At work, I think it's important to be close to the needs of clients. My favorite design is pop, colorful and lively, and I am especially excited when I work on such a job. If it is the typeface of Fontworks, "PalRamune"Swallow"Baby Pop I love cute Display typefaces.

Date: The design I aim for and the design I aim for are different. I'm longing for a design that has typography exactly built in, but I'm working with the highest priority given to what the client wants and what the design that benefits the client is.

Star: I like simple designs. Easy to understand colors with simple lines like Dick Bruna's (*2) draws. It's a picture book world view.

*2 Dick Bruna (1927-2017):
Graphic designer from the Netherlands. Known as the creator of Nineche Prouse (Miffy) and Black Bear. He established his own Styles with simple lines and clear colors "Bruna color", which were influenced by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Fernand Léger, and De Stil.

Yokota: I think we should separate design and art. You may like and dislike art, but design is meaningless unless you can use it. Even in the case of graphics, if you can't play the role you were given, it will not be a design. In that sense, I think it would be interesting to look at train route maps and timetables.

――I think that the fresh sensibilities of each person are concentrated in a small universe called Karuta. Lastly, what is your aspiration for this year's “Font Karuta” production team?

Date: I think that my main business is enough for my aspirations and plans (laughs). I just do my best to make what I want to make.

Cough: Give yourself money and do what you like. From now on, I want to continue making love-loving and fascinating tags.

--It's a great idea (laughs). Thank you for your wonderful story today.

After Recording After the interview ...

One week after the interview (1/15), "FONTPLUS DAY Seminar Vol.23" was held.

The "FONTPLUS DAY Seminar" is an Event where speakers and participants will learn together on themes related to visual expressions such as typeface, typography, design, etc.This time, as a commemoration of "Lovely unique and rich typeface" release, In addition to the four members of the font karuta production team, it was a special meeting with Mr. Kazuhiro Yamada (*3) who was in charge of binding.

*3 Kazuhiro Yamada (1985-):
Bookbinding and character/graphic designer. After graduating from Tama Art University, studied under Yukimasa Matsuda. After that, he was involved in "Tazugane Kaku Gothic" as the first Japanese Type Designers at Monotype. Independence in 2017. Presided over by nipponia. Even now, he continues to make ambitious fonts such as "NPG Eena" and "NPG Kunad".

We call it "The Inside Story of Book Production", explain how to enjoy this book, introduce fonts and examples that could not be posted due to various circumstances, and from the first half to the second half of the flow of "font karuta" bill taking by seminar participants Mr. Yamada joined us, and the seminar had a high degree of freedom to talk about all the secret stories about binding design and font production that he was involved in, but through the seminar the production team's "Karuta Ai" spread to the participants of the venue. It was very interesting to see how it went.

I heard that karuta itself has been popular in Japan since the latter half of the 16th century (originally, the word "carta" in Portuguese means letters and cards) and has been passed down to the present day. Early in the new year, I felt the flow of eternity and once again felt the potential of karuta.

Personally, I put the "Tsukiji print No. 2 Mincho typeface" that I got at the time of the interview in a card holder like Sekine, carry it around every day, and take it out secretly when I take a break at the company, letterpress printing I'm fully satisfied with the feeling of light (laughs).


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