The essential elements of life
Mitsuo Katsui's 1987 logo for the International Horticultural Expo 1990
Having successfully hosted Expo ‘70, the Japanese coastal city of Osaka returned to the world stage two decades later with another. Rather than a ‘World’s Fair’, which explored a central and current theme through cultural, societal, environmental and technological lenses, the International Garden and Greenery Exposition, Osaka, Japan 1990, shortened to Expo ’90, was a more focused International Horticultural Expo. Although lesser-known, the Horticultural Expos have a long history, with the first taking place in the Netherlands back in the 1960s.
The theme for this Expo was ‘The Harmonious Coexistence of Nature and Mankind’. This intended to promote a more humanistic world for the 21st century and was part of a strategy devised by Osaka City and the Japanese Government to raise awareness around key environmental issues and triple the amount of green space in Japan.
The event was formalised by the 99th General Assembly of the BIE on 4th June, 1986. Work on the Expo event began shortly after, and in 1987 Japanese designer Mitsuo Katsui became involved in the design of the Expo’s official symbol, mascot and visual guidelines.
Continue reading to understand the ideas that shaped the Expo 90 symbol. View its various configurations, construction and the English and Japanese versions. And, see some sheets from the guidelines document, an internet first.