Yuko Shimizu is an award winning Japanese illustrator based in New York and instructor at the School of Visual Arts. She works with a wide-range of publishing, editorial and advertising clients. The intricacy and beauty which is suffusive throughout her extensive body of work is breath-taking. Please do not mix her up with another Yuko Shimizu. This Yuko did NOT create Hello Kitty.
Photo of Yuko by Giorgio Arcelli
Work by Yuko Shimuzu:
Yuko Shimizu nominated the graphic designer John Gall:
Last year, I think I read about 30 books. I love books. Probably my favorite pastime. There was only one book out of 30 I didn’t finish last year. And it had nothing to do with the book itself. It was actually a really good book. I probably will re-read it at some point. It just had a really really terrible cover, and I was dreading being seen with that book in my hand (though, I am sure, nobody on my subway car cared).
Don’t judge a book by its cover. Indeed. But covers are also the first introduction to the books. The first impression. walking into a bookstore is like going into to a party full of strangers and getting to know them for the first time. Sometimes, first impression is right, sometimes, getting to know more surprises us big time. But that first introduction is always important regardless. It’s similar to those who wear Nike or Adidas logo T-shirts, you want people to associate you with what you wear. Book nerds wear books as part of our identity. And covers do magic. The books we carry ends up becoming the first impression of us, those who carry them.
There are a lot of book designers who create amazing covers that make me wow at first sight.
I chose John, because, you know, he is the one who did all those amazing Haruki Murakami book covers for Vintage Books!
They are strange, mysterious and beautiful. They are also contemporary and nostalgic at the same time. The first impressions capture the wold Murakami creates so vividly. I once told John that I wished original Japanese edition of Murakami books had as nice covers as those he designed.
I try not to judge books by their covers, then again, I walk into my local independent book stores, and the ones I pick up to check out are the ones whose first impressions speak to me strongly, asking me to pick them up. And, not surprisingly, many of those books I pick up, and those I end up purchasing are created by John.
(I was lucky enough to work with John once, for re-issue of Yukio Mishima’s Spring Snow (Vintage). Mishima is one of my favorite writers, and Spring Snow is one of his masterpieces. A favorite author’s favorite book with one of my favorite book designers. I was so lucky.)
Work by John Gall: