Lee Basford - Art Director in Tokyo

Lee Basford

I'm an art director in Tokyo, Japan

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About me

I'm a graphic designer, artist and photographer working in and around the overlap of art and design, blending these disciplines to create work for arts, film, fashion, video games and music companies that include Sony, Uniqlo, Nike, Rapha, Capcom, Sega, EMI, Parlophone, Saatchi, and Artificial Eye.

Over the years, I've written, illustrated, and photographed for Paper-Sky, Dazed and Confused, Tokion, Level and designed typefaces for T26 and Fountain fonts. Since 2000 I've exhibited both as a solo artist and collectively in England, Japan, USA, Germany, China and Ireland. My work has featured in numerous books and design journals, including; Creative Review, +81, 200% Cotton, The 3D Type Book, Cutting Edge Illustration, Concrete 2 Canvas and Graphic Britain.

In 2007 I was invited by UNIQLO to their Creative Awards ceremony in Japan where I received a Judges Choice Award and was more recently invited to take part in the Lightning Bolts + Innovation Art Show curated by Nike and debuting at the Beijing Olympics.

My Creations

  1. GAS as Interface are multifaceted company based in Tokyo that bring together the creativity of artists with the needs of business. For almost 20 years they have published books, curated exhibitions and worked together with global companies like UNIQLO, The North Face, Casio and Collette to produce innovative campaigns and... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  2. Working with the detailed photography of Francesc Guillamet, simplicity was important but also retaining an element of fun and the human side of things found in the experimentation of the restaurants work.

  3. The client was looking for an interesting design solution for the UK market, to appeal to the arthouse audience while still retaining a commercial edge. With only a low-res foreign poster as a starting point I decided to use illustration to make up for the lack of imagery; utilising traditional... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  4. A T shirt design for the Japanese Fashion company Adam et Ropé. Produced in a limited edition as part of their art series, the t-shirt was packaged in a signed and numbered box in an edition of 60 which included a poster and artists book.

  5. We were asked by UNIQLO to create six designs for their Nippon-Omiyage T-shirt lineup, the first in the series were Tokyo, Ginza and Kobe, all using handmade typography and a connection to the location itself. The second set of designs were based less on places with the first two focusing... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  6. This collection brings together Bruce Springsteen's first seven studio albums, featuring eight CDs in mini LP sleeves.

  7. Accompanied by Daisuke Kitayama, Akira Sekine and Mitsukuni Sato. I had the privilege of being invited to ride in Tohoku as part of an annual memorial since the first Rapha Continental ride in 2012 to produce a photo story
    Today marks the fourth year since the east coast of Japan... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  8. Biwakoguma: Osaka to Tokyo

    14 October 2015

    Riding a handmade bicycle is something special; riding a steel frame made with your own hands takes things to an entirely different level. In a photo story for Rapha I followed Tsuyoshi Ishizu, Japanese frame builder, cycling from Osaka to Tokyo with his 10-year-old son to test one of his... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  9. It's always a privilege to see work in print. I worked on a series of photographs in the new issue of Papersky with Rapha, documenting three cyclists exploring 'Their' Tokyo and what this city means to them
    You can see the full stories in Papersky magazine along with individual maps... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  10. Rapha Cyclocross Nobeyama

    9 December 2016

    I visited Rapha’s Supercross series Nobeyama last weekend, Japan’s highest town, nestled in the Yatsugatake Mountains at an altitude of 1,345m. Now in its seventh year, the event began with fresh snow and freezing temperatures and ended in torrential rain for the UCI Elite races, where the mud became so... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  11. Rapha: Return to Tohoku

    15 March 2016

    I wasn't in Japan in 2011 when the earthquake struck but received a panicked phone call during the initial aftershocks. A few months after the tsunami I was able to visit Tohoku to take aid and supplies. The scene then was shocking; debris, twisted cars and remnants of what used... continue reading (1, 1 image)

  12. Between 14th-16th April, 2016, a series of earthquakes hit Kumamoto on the far-west island of Kyushu. In response, Rapha Japan took their Mobile Cycle Club to locations across the country to raise funds for the area that hosted Rapha's Prestige ride in Oguni back in 2013.

    The final two days... continue reading (0, 1 image)

  13. Rapha Rides: Tokyo

    30 June 2017
    Rapha Rides: Tokyo

    Rapha is travelling to 20 cities around the world to uncover the local knowledge, the shortcuts, the places to visit, and the roads to ride. I worked on the design, wr...

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  14. Tour de Tohoku: The Road to Here

    My exhibition, 'Tour de Tohoku: The Road to Here' started on Saturday at Paul Smith SPACE in Omotesando. I've visited the Tohoku region many times, cycling and taking ...

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  15. Nobeyama Supercross

    5 December 2017
    Nobeyama Supercross

    I visited Rapha’s Supercross series Nobeyama last weekend, Japan’s highest town where cyclocross in minus temperatures is a lung-searing experience. With unpredictable...

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  16. Rapha Rides Osaka

    20 February 12:44
    Rapha Rides Osaka

    Last year Rapha is traveled to 20 cities around the world to uncover the local knowledge, the shortcuts, the places to visit, and the roads to ride. I worked on the de...

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