Designers for Japan

Designers for Japan is a collective of designers, photographers, art directors and imagemakers from around the world. Its aims are to offer support to peers, colleagues and friends in Japan, aid disaster relief and to act as a forum for anyone wishing to look at how visual communications can help in future disasters, wherever they may be

Designers for Japan prints for sale from Simon Taylor (left) and Graham Wood (right)

Designers for Japan is a collective of designers, photographers, art directors and imagemakers from around the world. Its aims are to offer support to peers, colleagues and friends in Japan, aid disaster relief and to act as a forum for anyone wishing to look at how visual communications can help in future disasters, wherever they may be

As soon as the terrible events of March 11 became known, there was a great urge to help among designers and imagemakers, many of whom have strong links to Japan. But how?

The website Designers for Japan was set up to focus that effort and, hopefully, to help create models for future responses to humanitarian crises by this community. It has three main aims: fundraising, long-term support and to drive practical ways in which visual communications can help both in Japan and in future crises.

First, fundraising. An auction of design and art-related items is planned for the near future. In the meantime, the dozens of imagemakers and designers who have already offered helped have been asked to create a print which can be sold to raise money for the Red Cross and for ShelterBox, the charity that provides emergency relief kits.

Designers for Japan prints for sale from Genevieve Gauckler (left) and M/M (Paris) (right)

Contributors were asked to create an image that reflected their admiration for Japan and to express their feelings towards the country, its people and its creative community. The prints are on sale via Print-Process at £30 for A2 or £60 for A1. All proceeds after print, paper, production and postage will be split between the two charities.

Buy here.

Designers for Japan prints for sale from Christopher Gray (left) and James Goggin (right)

Creative Review has leaned organisational support to the project and a selection of the prints will be featured in our May Monograph booklet. If you would like to contribute a print, please email

Maharishi Designers for Japan print

As well as fundraising, Designers for Japan hopes to promote practical means by which visual communications can aid in disaster relief, both in Japan and in any future crises. Currently, there is a desperate need for food, shelter, water and information. Our community can help with the latter.

Designers for Japan, which is supported by CR, will attempt to address these issues through contact with NGOs and organisations in Japan, discussion and, through that, the setting of briefs to both students and professionals, but more ideas are very much encouraged. Please email suggestions to

In addition, there is a daily letter from Tokyo on the site from designer Toru Yoshikawa, giving a street level view of the situation.

AKQA creative director Rei Inamoto recently joined the organisers of Designers for Japan: “For many victims who lost their homes and families, what’s really tough is not just behind them but ahead of them. The series of events – one alone is tragic enough, they had three – is unbelievably traumatic but the world is quickly moving on from it. It’s been only two weeks but the news has been replaced with other events (in some cases, rightfully so),” he says. “I’d like Designers for Japan to be an ongoing platform for many a designer around the world, long into the future.”

Please see All contributions/help/advice welcome.

Designers for Japan prints for sale from Build, Hudson Powell and Blam. More here

  • Some great work here, and good to see design being used in such a positive way.

  • Yoshi

    These look awful, so cheesy. Currently working in Tokyo, life is finally returning to normal. I’ve seen much much better design work related to the recent disaster.

  • PatrickBurgoyne

    @ Yoshi

    If you’d like to contribute please send your print design to
    Artwork should be set up at A1 as illustrator .eps or .pdf or if working in Photoshop A1 at 300dpi as a RGB file only [ie not CMYK]


  • Michael

    Is it me or does anybody else find this ‘design to the rescue’ response arrogant?

    Especially when they’re lazy and [deleted by moderator] like most of the above.

    If you want to help just give [deleted by moderator] money.

  • mike

    yoshi got told

  • PatrickBurgoyne

    @ ‘Michael’
    It’s not just about money, it’s about designers coming together to try use their skills to meet the needs of NGOs and government agencies in aiding disaster relief.
    How is that arrogant?

  • People seem to be deliberately missing the point with this whole poster debate in some sort of quest for the moral high ground.
    It’s a fairly innocent response, given that when graphic designers want to respond to things, they generally do some graphic design about it. Nobody is sitting in front of their mac thinking they’re going to change the world – and if they are, they’ll soon be corrected – but a few poster sales aren’t exactly going to hurt the cause are they.

    If anyone went to one of the many nights that were organised in aid of Japan, did you stand there complaining about the arrogance of the DJs? Did you refuse to pay the entry fee lest it inflate the organisers’ egos?

    Surely people just do what they know how to do to try and help in whatever way they can.

  • I think the cause is great, and I agree with Mike. This isn’t about moral high ground at all, its about awareness, contribution and respect, surely?

  • Rob

    Mike pretty much hits it on the head there.

    I really cannot get my head around all the negativity that people doing this kind of thing are attracting. If you make and sell a product that contributes to the aid of the people in Japan then surely the end justifies the means? If you are a Baker you can make and sell cakes and give the money to charity. If you are a musician you can organise a gig in your local to raise money. In exactly the same way, why shouldn’t a designer put their skills to work in order to help?

    Yeah, of course, people should be motivated to donate through purely their empathy or sympathy but if you genuinely believe that that is the best way to get people put their hands in their pockets for charity then you’re extremely naive to the nature of the world. I can’t help but think that just shouting at people to JUST GIVE MONEY on internet forums is also an extremely ineffective way of trying to encourage people to do it.

    Perhaps people are terrified of being judged by their peers. Maybe they think they will look pretentious if they buy an arty designer poster about Japan or they will look like they’re trying to profit off of tragedy if they contribute? Grow a spine and get involved. Stop being so relentlessly passive and negative. That is definitely not going to help anyone. All that really matters is here is that firstly, money is going to go and help those most in need, and secondly people are talking about the problems and through that, being motivated to help.

  • Philippe Wisniewski

    I emailed designers for Japan directly, and asked if I could submit a piece of art work and got reply saying that you have to be invited to submit is this true? I think it’s an excellent idea to use our creativity to help others and certainly like to help this cause, As well as having an exciting idea for poster design. If someone could send me details on how to enter a piece of art work, I would be much obliged.

    “design will save the world”

  • Philippe Wisniewski