My stories

Satoru Nihei is a graphic designer born and raised in Fukushima, Japan and practicing in the United States. Nihei’s work explores the personal and emotional life experiences through typographic form and design. In his work Nihei addresses emotional human presence in an expressive, contemplative, whimsical and often a playful manner. The work evokes a keen sense of human psyche, tapping into the unknown uncertainty of life.

Nihei was the 2017–2018 Thirst Artist in Residence (3st AiR) in Chicago. He worked on various projects in collaboration with Rick Valicenti and the Thirst studio members.

Nihei’s design work has been published internationally, in The Tokyo Type Directors Club Design Annual, METROPOLIS, Graphic Design: The New Basics authored by Ellen Lupton and Jennifer Cole Phillips and among others.

In 2010 Nihei’s work and interview were published in Font Family: Get Familiar with Fonts along with Stefan Sagmeister and Rick Valicenti.

In 2017 Nihei’s recent daily poster project earned recognition from the Society of Typographic Arts Chicago. Additionally Nihei’s essay on Darkness, Doubt, and Design was published on Design Observer. Nihei’s work is included in national and international collections and exhibitions. Three of Nihei’s posters were selected for the final exhibition of the Golden Bee 12 / Moscow Global Biennale of Graphic Design. Most recently, Stefan Sagmeister acquired an A0 edition of the LEAP poster for his extensive personal design/art collection.

Despite the fact that Nihei was a high school dropout, he received his AA in painting from Mushashino Art University, a BFA in graphic design from Maine College of Art, and his MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2011.


Shenzhen International Poster Festival, 2018
Jazz in the Ruins, 2018
International Biennale of Theatre Poster, 2018
Golden Bee 13 / Moscow Global Biennale of Graphic Design, 2018
Trnava Poster Triennial, 2018
Thirst Artist in Residence, 2017–2018
The Society of Typographic Arts Chicago (STA 100), 2017
Graphic Matters, 2017
Jazz in the Ruins, 2017
Golden Bee 12 / Moscow Global Biennale of Graphic Design, 2016
Detroit Jazz Festival Poster Competition, 2011
Tokyo Type Directors Club, 2006
AIGA 50 Books/50 Covers of 2004


The 3rd Shenzhen International Poster Festival, Shenzhen, China 2018
The 14th edition of the Jazz in the Ruins, Gliwice, Poland, 2018
The 16th International Biennale of Theatre Poster, Rzeszów, Poland, 2018
Golden Bee 13 / Moscow Global Biennale of Graphic Design, Russia, 2018
Trnava Poster Triennial, Slovakia, 2018
Beautifools Memoir, Chicago, 2018, Breda, the Netherlands, 2018
TYPEFORCE 9, Chicago, 2018
My Love for Me, Cincinnati, 2017
Graphic Matters, Breda, the Netherlands, 2017
Typojanchi, South Korea, 2017
TYPEFORCE 8, Chicago 2017
Golden Bee 12 / Moscow Global Biennale of Graphic Design, Russia, 2016
Way too beyond: Big Sats’ Top 30, Los Angeles, 2016
Project Passion, Mankato, 2016
No Object is an Island: New Dialogues with the Cranbrook Collection, Detroit, 2011–2012

Lectures & Workshops

Trinity International University, 2018
School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 2018
Maine College of Art, 2018
Cranbrook Academy of Art, 2018
Leeward Community College, 2017
Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), 2017
Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), 2016
Lawrence Tech University, 2015
Alfred University, 2010


Design Observer, 2017
Papercraft 2: Design and Art With Paper, 2011
Playful Type 2, 2010
Font Family: Get Familiar with Fonts!, 2010
Graphic Design: The New Basics, 2008
Eye, Summer 2007
Tokyo Type Directors Club Design Annual, 2006
AIGA 50 Books / 50 Covers, 2004