Stephen Kenny is a London-based letterpress artist who—despite residing in a different continent entirely—has produced works that grace the walls of many Japanese homes and stores. He established ‘A Two Pipe Problem’ in 2008, then ‘The Printer’s Devil’ in 2019, both of which are letterpress studios that specialize in minimalist posters sold in the UK and in Japan.

Many of his works seamlessly incorporate Japanese characters alongside English words, the combination of which creates a visually appealing contrast. His works can be found in many places in Japan; he’s worked with Japanese brands like Uniqlo and Full Count, and posters and tote bags with his designs can be found online.

For his latest creations, he’s making use of two themes: izakayas, or Japanese-style bars, and the coronavirus. With his izakaya-themed posters, he’s taking inspiration from the traditional wood blocks (or in some places, paper strips) that line izakaya walls. Their purpose is to show off what the izakaya has to offer by listing individual menu items like “beer” or “gyōza”. They’re meant to be straightforward and functional, so Kenny’s designs reflect this unpretentious aspect of a typical Japanese bar.

For his other new set of posters, he’s taking coronavirus safety warnings and printing out the words that many of us should have been heeding by now. In this one, he’s expertfully blended English and Japanese typography yet again. The Japanese characters, “ストップ コロナ” (“Stop corona”), along with the big bold circle in the middle, instantly draw your attention to this simple, but effective poster.

Stephen Kenny’s latest posters and some of his other works can be purchased in Japan through Heming's Official Online Store.

By - Jen Laforteza.