Happy New Year! Before we get back into the swing of things it’s time for a bit of monkey business. Each year we select a handful of our favorite nengajo, or New Year’s cards, created by Japanese designers, illustrators and other creatives. Given that this year’s zodiac is the monkey, expect a lot of ape-themed designs.
While it’s true that sending nengajo is in a secular decline, we still enjoy the tradition as it allows us to reflect back on those we shared a moment with, whether it was intentional or by chance.
Tokyo-based designer Eiko Tamura’s graphic monkey face incorporates an image of Mt. Fuji
a series of typographic New Year’s cards from graphitica
Going above and beyond once again is Tokyo-based photographer Irwin Wong, along with his team, who created this amazing staged image.
Kenichi Yamada, the designer behind TERRA, carved a wooden monkey and posted it to his instagram account.
Botanic artist Makoto Azuma posted this tranquil yet stunning photo on January 1st.
I was surprised we didn’t see more Son Goku-themed cards. This one is from designer Masahiro Minami.
Freelance designer Mayo riffed on vintage packaging to create this colorful card.
Illustrator Miki created this card that’s reminiscent of the Amidakuji game.
I love this card from Design studio AQ. Classic design with a positive twist of the proverbial monkeys turning a blind eye: “see more, hear more, speak more.”
Minimal yet stylish card from illustrator and graphic designer Minoru Arita.
A lovely card from the illustrator behind all of Spoon & Tamago’s graphics: Naho Ogawa
An adorable card from water-color painter Noryco, who admits that her monkey sort of looks like a frog.
a fantastic sketch of a quiet shrine in Osaka by illustrator Sakki Jusuke.
and our collection wouldn’t be complete without at least 1 otaku creation. This one is from illustrator TNSK