Top Tokyo tape typography
July 30, 2007 11:42 AM   Subscribe

What do subway officials make of his efforts (which are awesome)? I've always wanted to visit Tokyo but my horrible sense of direction combined with a dislike of crowds makes me think I would be a bundle of raw nerves the entire time. Still...what I wouldn't give to visit Tokyo.

Also: Oooh...that Pink Tentacle blog is great! Thanks for the introducing me to it.
posted by LeeJay at 11:52 AM on July 30, 2007

Translation Services to aisle 63393, Translation Services to aisle 63393!
posted by blue_beetle at 11:53 AM on July 30, 2007

"Slashdot Japan"?
posted by DU at 12:00 PM on July 30, 2007

I'm curious, is "sticky tape" somehow different from "tape"?
posted by sidereal at 12:06 PM on July 30, 2007

I'm curious, is "sticky tape" somehow different from "tape"?

sticky as opposed to magnetic recording tape or measuring tape, maybe?
posted by juv3nal at 12:41 PM on July 30, 2007

Or Bubble Tape?
posted by hermitosis at 12:53 PM on July 30, 2007

Whoops, I guess that would be colored AND sticky.
posted by hermitosis at 12:55 PM on July 30, 2007

This is amazing. That guy's typography skills are top notch, and the arrow diagrams look so precise and slick as to have been computer-generated. He must cut the tape to make the smaller curves, right? What a time investment...

"Slashdot Japan"?

Quick, someone translate "FIRST P0ST!111" to Japanese for me!
posted by invitapriore at 12:58 PM on July 30, 2007

Awesome blog. I especially liked "Pimp My Rice Paddy."
posted by desjardins at 2:13 PM on July 30, 2007

Hey! They took that idea from my first children's book!
(Yeah, it's an Amazon self-link. Guilty.)
posted by miss lynnster at 2:39 PM on July 30, 2007

What... they don't have paint? Not trying to snark, just can't see how this is cheaper (unless they reuse the tape... which I don't see people doing)
posted by Debaser626 at 2:50 PM on July 30, 2007

Where in the article did it say he does this with tape because its cheaper? I would assume the real reason is because it's easier for a non-sign painter to show straight lines and consistent width using tape. Tape has a shiny, opaque finish and is easy to work with using only a ruler and razor blade. No need for stencils or a lot of prep work or cleanup.
However, regarding cost, I'm sure it's quite bit cheaper than hiring a professional sign painter or having vinyl cut.
posted by oneirodynia at 3:10 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

I bet it's easier to correct mistakes and make updates with the tape. Most signs are made on or of adhesive vinyl these days anyway, which is basically tape. This guy's method is probably very cost effective as it doesn't require vinyl cutting gear. Plus, he gets to create the sign right in the actual environment in which it will be used - this probably promotes readability & accuracy. And on top of all that, his style is beautiful, clean and direct without being cold or distant. I say tape-painting, yes!
posted by Area Control at 3:59 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

Wow, what a coincidence: last night I did a show at a little record shop in Koenji (Tokyo) and afterward the shop master showed us a short video about this tape guy. Don't know who made the video, but it wasn't a pro job (like from TV or anything): just some guy's independent video featuring this tape wizard!

Apparently he's now moving on to Nippori station, which is also undergoing big renovations at the moment, to make some new signs there.

BTW, he's using what they call "gum tape" here in Japan, known as "duct tape" in the states.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:19 PM on July 30, 2007 [2 favorites]

D'oh! The above-mentioned video is, of course, linked in the Pink Tentacle blog. So, just watched it, and with translation services provided by my SO, I can now give some background on this guy and his story:

His name is Sato Shuetsu. Shinjuku station has been under such massive renovation (usual routes blocked, traffic redirected through maze-like makeshift pathways) that it became vey difficult for people to find their way to their train. So the rail company (Japan Rail, or JR) hired guards to stand around in the station, directing traffic and answering passenger queries. Mr. Sato was such a guard. But there are just too many people passing through the station, and Sato saw a need for good signage. He started making the signs himself, totally on his own. JR officials soon discovered his work, however, and now that's his job, making these amazing duct tape signs! Pretty great story, eh?

And as concerns his move to Nippori station (yay! close to my house!) he's already started there. There's a short clip about that on YouTube as well. Here it is.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:14 PM on July 30, 2007 [3 favorites]

I've been here for years and even with the signage I still have trouble coming out of Shinjuku station at the right exit sometimes. The only one I can reliably find is the central east exit. But then, I suck at following directions.
posted by nightchrome at 7:04 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

Wow... I've seen his signs, but I never even noticed they were made out of tape. Not all that observant of me I suppose.

Mind you, since my kanji reading ability was quite limited during the time I was in Tokyo I'll confess that I didn't pay as much attention to all kanji signs as I did to other signs.

nightchrome That's because Shinjuku station is evil incarnate. Add the construction and it becomes even more amazingly difficult to navigate. I've got a good sense of direction and I'm good at following directions, and I got lost semi-regularly. As did my native Tokyoite friend.

As for the post: Nifty and impressive. Thanks WPW!
posted by sotonohito at 4:59 AM on July 31, 2007 [1 favorite]

« Older Bring these back tomorrow   |   Near Miss in Las Vegas Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments