Born in 1930 in Nara City, Ikko Tanaka graduated from the Kyoto City Specialist School of Arts (currently the Kyoto City University of Arts). After time at Kanegafuchi Spinning K.K., and Osaka head office of SANKEI SHIMBUN CO., LTD., he relocated to Tokyo in 1957 and joined Light Publicity Co., Ltd. In 1960, he became one of the founding members of Nippon Design Center, Inc. and subsequently established IKKO TANAKA DESIGN STUDIO in 1963. Later, he participated in many exhibitions overseas in the 1980s where he worked to introduce Japanese design overseas. Up to his sudden death in 2002, Tanaka constantly worked on the front lines as one of Japan’s top graphic designers, and that work still influences the world design today.
Tanaka’s unique works incorporate into Western modern design pre-modern Japanese common aesthetic senses exemplified by traditional craft, Rimpa school and Ukiyo-e, and those have caught on as modern expression. At the same time, his works are monumental achievements of graphic design in Japan, having not lost their luster even today.