Aluminum Alphabet Series by Takenobu Igarashi


Letter J and Letter W (left to right)

Aside from his graphic designs, Igarashi is equally famous for his alphabetical sculptures that he created in the 1980s. One prime example is his Aluminum Alphabet Series, which is interestingly his only series that has the complete set of 26 letters A to Z. In this series, “each sculptural form consists of a series of aluminum plates of varying thickness joined together by flat-head aluminum fasteners” (Thielemans). He was not commissioned to create these, but rather he made these letters as a way to help himself explore each form and movement that an originally flat letter can exude in a three dimensional space. Albeit equally and almost more work than measuring and drawing out each form and eventually constructing them, it proved to be a successful series. The few contemporary sculptures in public that could compare to Igarashi’s work were brightly colored large-scale letterform sculptures. His, however, were practically the complete opposite. These sculptures are miniscule in comparison, roughly at about 120 mm tall and 140 mm wide, and provided no color. Upon completion in 1983, he contacted photographer Mitsumasa Fujitsuka. Each letter is individually photographed, with a black backdrop and dramatic hard light shining on the surfaces to provide further contrast and depth per form. The bright, almost white light hitting the aluminum of any given sculpture is interrupted by an equally contrasting darkness of the shadows and backdrop. Igarashi’s Aluminum Alphabet series shows an exceptional understanding of form and artistic interpretation, and offers the viewer beautiful eye candy that could be achieved even without color.


“68: Takenobu Igarashi.” 68 | Takenobu Igarashi,

Riechers, Angela. “Takenobu Igarashi Pushed the Parameters of Typography with His Hand-Drawn 3D Letterforms.” Eye on Design, AIGA, 14 Oct. 2020,

Thielemans, Sophie. “The Aluminium Alphabet Series by TAKENOBU IGARASHI.” Sophie Thielemans, 18 Mar. 2014,