Skip to Content

20 Japanese Graphic Design Principles Clients Love

20 Japanese Graphic Design Principles Clients Love

If you want to know about the top Japanese graphic design principles, then do not worry as in this guide, we have got you covered with the top and best 20 Japanese graphic design principles that clients love!

These days, trends in technology are rapidly changing in the world. Similar is the case with a graphic design whose trends are constantly changing.

In earlier days, for the promotion of products and to get the attention of shoppers, businesses were very focused on window-dressing.

The windows of the physical stores were made attractive as well as pleasing so the customers can visit the store and buy some products.

With the technological advancements and the increasing trend of online shopping today, this same concept has gone digital.

Now, the businesses are making the windows of their devices pleasing enough to capture the attention of the user!

In other words, they are making efforts to implement the best user interface designs for their websites, blogs as well as e-commerce stores, and it is possible only with Graphic Design.

japanese graphic design principles

Elements of Graphic Design

Graphic design is an established concept that uses space, typography, and image in the process of visual communication as well as problem-solving. It applies various visual steps and page layout techniques for creating visual content to communicate messages.

Tempting visual designs, bold colors, beautiful representation of characters and personalities, minimal and experimental design elements, and densely packed information are some key terms that describe the Japanese designs. But they do not fully cover the culture of Japanese graphic design.

If you want to enter the world of Japanese graphic design, then read this guide until the end. In today’s guide, we are going to uncover some of the emerging Japanese graphic design principles so that you can get to know about the basic visual design techniques.

Custom Typography

Typography is the practice of bringing out the inner life of fonts as it uses various design elements in text and letters. It is an art of making letters become imagery that not only intensifies the reading experience but also gives a striking look to the overall design. It usually focuses on the style and size of typefaces.

Customized typography is an important principle that Japanese graphic designers follow in their graphic designs to make the complex system of characters unique as well as appealing. They usually use custom lettering in their creations to make a design that fits best with the client’s requirements. They truly understand why the placement of certain curves and crossbars make sense in design.

The principle of custom typography is gaining popularity in Japanese graphic designs. It usually helps to tie the design together so that the website does not feel confusing and disjointed, and the text on a website conveys a meaningful message.

According to Ryan Hageman, a famous graphic designer, creating a Japanese typeface requires a lot of work due to which there are not too many expressive as well as off-the-shelf typefaces. Instead of creating an entire typeface, the Japanese graphic designers are putting efforts to draw the characters for a few words to get attention to the written content.

They also put a lot of emphasis on consistency in this regard. In short, custom typography is an ideal solution for branding.

Bright Colors

Japanese designs are usually filled with colors and life. Using bright colors in graphic designs is one of the popular Japanese graphic design principles that clients love. The most common colors that Japanese use in their designs are red, black, and gold. These colors are not only used in Japanese graphic designs but have deep roots in Japanese culture.

For example, let’s take a look at the colorful street art of Harajuku and the sparkling look of Shibuya. The streets of these cities are full of color and life. By scrolling through their design culture, we can come to know that the Japanese love colors, and that is what makes the Japanese graphic designers use bright colors in their artwork.

At times, instead of using two or three colors, Japanese graphic designers break the rule and use a diverse color palette in their designs to add life, interest, and character to it, hence creating some remarkable designs.

Contrast and Cohesion

Contrast and cohesion also play a vital role in Japanese designs as they can make the text bold, clear, and easy to read. It is defined as the difference between the two different design elements, such as dark or light, small or large, etc. Modern graphic design in Japan uses a wide range of color schemes to make the piece of art not only look aesthetic and pleasing but also capture the attention of users.

The Japanese graphic designers use the principle of contrast and cohesion in the design of their websites so that certain features of a website can become a point of attraction. Moreover, they also use color theory so their websites can arouse emotions from the users.

For example, color theory associates red color with action, black with grace and smoothness, and blue color with trust and confidence.

While incorporating contrast and cohesion in the designs, it is very necessary to maintain consistency to deliver a strong and powerful visual look.


The next in our list of top 20 Japanese graphic design principles is a balance that contributes to the structure as well as stability of design by the unique placement of elements. The Japanese graphic designs include balance by creating a visual weight of the elements that form the design.

These include colors, shapes, images, as well as text boxes. They usually place dark colors next to lighter colors to give a heavier feel in the design. Moreover, they also use the symmetrical and asymmetrical balance to create the flow in the overall design.

Mixed Languages

Mixed languages is another crucial design principle that clients love. As the name implies, it is the combination of two languages. Japanese graphic designers always try to include mixed languages in their work to catch the attention of the audience. The posters of their films typically use Japanese and Roman characters as it has become a trend to use these languages to create an aesthetic effect.

Ryan Hageman, a graphic designer at Gurafiku, once made a poster of the film “Lost in Translation,” in which he incorporated the blend of Japanese and English languages. He was of the view that when Japanese text becomes prominent, the characters in English will fade away.

Similarly, when people put emphasis on the English text, the Japanese characters would fade away, creating an engaging effect in the design.


One principle that applies to graphic design as a whole is minimalism that became famous in the early 20th century. It is an original Japanese concept which artists use in their work.

Less is always more!

Yes! You read it right! Japanese always use minimalistic designs in their art by eliminating unnecessary elements and focusing only on the primary elements. It means that only those elements should be included in the design that is important to the final design.

They should not be included just for the sake of the presentation. Minimalism is the basic Japanese design principle that Apple and Google use in their designs because it never gets old.

Both of them use text blocks, limited colors, and white spaces on their sites to capture the attention of users. In short, minimalism is the graphic design principle that will remain on trend for upcoming years.

Negative Space

Always remember that graphic design is not only related to visual features. It also includes the blank space or area surrounding the text or an image. It is known as negative space or white space.

The negative space not only adds to the aesthetics of design but also enhances text readability. To make the design appealing, the Japanese graphic designers focus on negative space as they focus on positive space.


The principle of alignment is also one of the major Japanese graphic design principles that help in creating professional-looking designs. According to the principle of alignment, the elements of design should be lined up in relation to each other.

To make your designs appealing, you need to use different alignments such as center alignment, left alignment, right alignment, and justified alignment. Never align all the elements of design to a single setting as it cannot create visual appeal.

Visual Hierarchy

The principle of visual hierarchy holds a significant position in the field of graphic design. It means using the elements of design at the appropriate position, size, style color as well as alignment so the design can become useful for the audience.


Proximity is the process of placing related design elements together to create appealing and attractive designs. It is one of the key principles of graphic designing that Japanese graphic designer follows in their designs. The elements should be grouped together in such a way that they deliver a clear message to the audience.

Complex Gradients

For adding color to the background and bringing life to the design, the principle of complex gradients plays a huge role. There is an increasing trend among Japanese to use a combination of colors in the artwork.

The museums in Japan are the real examples of using complex gradients in the artworks!

Similar is the case with graphic design. Following the principle of complex gradients, the Japanese graphic designers use various colors in the fonts as well as backgrounds to give a gentle transition.

Brush Strokes

Calligraphy is a crucial part of Japanese culture. Now, it can be seen in Japanese graphic designs. In addition to the combination of colors, brush strokes are commonly used in Japanese calligraphy.

It is, in fact, one of the prevailing Japanese graphic design principles that clients love. The designers use messy and stripy brush strokes to show the flow of each messy stroke into the next stroke, reflecting the art of calligraphy.


The scale is an important principle of modern Japanese design. It contributes a lot in the visual hierarchy by placing the graphic elements according to their size and color so they can appear larger or smaller in designs.

Floral Pattern

Another trend that you can observe in Japanese graphic designs is the floral pattern. Floriography is very popular in Japanese culture, so the Japanese graphic designers make use of the floral patterns to create emotions and represent symbols.

For example, a red floral pattern is the symbol of love; white shows goodness and morality, and pink is said to be the color of rehabilitation.


Repetition is also one of the most prominent principles of graphic designing that brings life and color to designs. It not adds a visual appeal to the designs but also puts emphasis on certain graphic elements to capture the user’s attention.

Creative Fonts

Japanese graphic designers also use creative fonts in their designs along with the classic fonts. Classic fonts are very commonly used in art pieces, but when it comes to creative fonts, graphic designers must be very careful. Japanese designers always try to use creative fonts in the headings as they are a little bit harder to read.

Cute Culture

The cute culture is very common in Japanese TV shows as well as the products of popular brands. It can also be seen in Japanese graphic designs as they believe that cuteness in artworks minimize hostility and enhance the love for each other.

Maintaining Color Palette

The next design principle in our list is maintaining a color palette, which is very important to bring consistency in the whole design.


Another important design principle that clients love is circles that show harmony and creates balance in the designs.

Density of Information

The information-dense designs are always welcomed by the Japanese graphic design experts because they think that information about the website conveys an important message about the brand to the customers.

Read Also:


Are you looking for inspiration to create some beautiful graphic designs? If you are saying yes, then you should definitely think about Japanese design. The reason is the Japanese are very popular in creating spellbinding and captivating animated films by using state-of-the-art technologies. So, it is very important to take inspiration from the graphic design trends in Japan.

The trends in graphic design are changing with the passage of time. The trend that becomes out of date for a specific time period usually comes back in the future with better and superior results. All the Japanese graphic design principles mentioned above represent some emerging visual design techniques that act as the driving force behind the success of several marketing initiatives!

Which Japanese graphic design principles do you use in your work?