Street graphics have become the visual language of cities. Signs and symbols instruct, inform, portray concerns, and express aspirations. Culturally specific, they are also increasingly universal, always creative, and always fun.
Tokyo's vibrant street graphics combine ancient tradition, twentieth-century mass production, and a twenty-first-century urban vision that is uniquely Japanese. A colorful clash of imagery renders the familiar strange and the strange bizarre. Cartoon characters can signify the police or pornography. Fashion statements are derived from diverse sources -- ancient Egypt or even a hospital operating room. Slot machines vend erotica; pets and cops are robots; tempting dishes of sushi turn out to be inedible plastic representations. Ridley Scott's futuristic film Blade Runner was inspired by Tokyo's neon nightscape, where a fashionable department store doubles as a giant digital TV screen featuring lifesize dinosaurs in Godzilla's hometown.
Barry Dawson's photographic vision of Tokyo forms a creative reference for students and designers, as well as an imaginative, offbeat pictorial guide for visitors and armchair travelers.