The Arts of Japan

Ribingu Dezain


Bijutsu Shuppan-Sha1955–1958

Living Design was a magazine specializing in design published between 1955 and 1958, covering graphic design, industrial design, and architecture. Although short-lived, it was influential in promoting discourse on the design practice and shaping the profession’s development in Japan.

Notably, Living Design is one of the first magazines to bear the word “Design” in its title. Previously, terms such as “Zuan” or ”Commercial Art” in Japanese commonly referred to the concept of design. Using the English word “Design” to describe the practice was still relatively new, even if spelled in Katakana.

At first glance, the title suggests a focus on interior design. It did, however, take a broader perspective on design. The first issue’s editorial explains that its title, “Living Design,” refers to “living and breathing design we see in our daily lives.”

In this spirit, the magazine discussed contemporary design in a variety of fields, from industrial design to graphic design, fashion, and architecture.

It balanced lifestyle themes with academic discourses on design topics contributed by leading modernist figures, such as industrial designer Kenmochi Isamu (1912-1971) and Katsumi Masaru (1909-1983) a pioneer in Japanese design theory.

From the first through the twelfth issue, for example, Katsumi contributed an article series titled “100 Years of Design Movement”, covering international design history from the 1850s to the 1950s.

With the February issue of 1957, Living Design ended its monthly publication cycle and became a quarterly publication until it ceased publication in December 1958.



Ribingu Dezain

English Title
Living Design
First Published
Last Published
Bijutsu Shuppan-Sha
Ōshita, Masao