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Kenjiro Sano


Kenjiro Sano (1972) is a designer. He studied Graphic Design at the Faculty of Art and Design at Tama Art University in Tokyo, where he now teaches in the Department of Integrated Design. After serving as art director and creative director of Hakuhodo Design, in 2008 and 2014 he established his MR_DESIGN and MR_DESIGN_NEW YORK design agencies through which he specialises in graphic design, character design, commercials, films, book and product design.

He is famous for his ability to create appealing characters, symbols and logos that make his work instantly eye-catching and unique. His designs are simple, powerful, clear and full of humour. He uses sketches inspired by his imagination as a reference point for his designs. He has produced work for Toyota, Suntory, Sony Computer Entertainment, Shiseido, Nissan, Honda and Panasonic. He served as art director for the promotion of the film Stand by Me Doraemon and created the official logo for the Tokyo International Film Festival.

His work is exhibited worldwide and his nico stationery products, which include his distinctive sushi memo blocks, are sold at MoMA /The Museum of Modern Art (New York), Colette (Paris), the Design Museum (London), the Mori Art Museum (Tokyo), the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art (Kanazawa) and the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art (Tokyo). He has won numerous awards, including the New York Art Directors Club Gold Award, the British Design & Art Direction Yellow Pencil, the One Club's One Show Design Gold Award, the Cannes Lions Gold Award, the Tokyo Art Directors Club Members Award, the Japan Package Design Award Gold, the Jun Miura Award (Nyan Mage) and the Mainichi Design Award. Kenjiro Sano was elected as a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI) in 2013.
Het spook nijntje
This title of his Miffy statue is Het spook nijntje [Miffy the Ghost]: ‘I wanted to create a 3-dimensional illustration of my favourite children’s book, miffy the ghost. I used antique fabric and cut it very carefully so it resembles the image on the cover of the book as closely as possible. Her eyes are embroidered. I wanted to emphasise the sense of childlike cuteness and made everything by hand. It’s amazing to see how, even when she is draped in a sheet, Miffy still retains her ‘Miffy-ness’. I am endlessly impressed by the iconic beauty and shape of Miffy.’ Kenjiro produced the statue together with Miwako Tanaka, Ryusuke Ozawa and Yuri Gomi.