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GitaiMagazine ISSUE#03: MAP = TREE
Gitai Archive

Maps Camouflaged as Tree Rings

The Mimetic Maps 2 art book is a new work of the series “Mimetic Maps” which is continuing the experimental mix of art and graphic design. 
Recording the process of how to simulate the topographic maps such as the well-known symbol of Japan: Mt.fuji to 
the colored tree ring patterns that everyone is familiar with. 
The unexpected similarities between tree rings and maps will be remarkable.





 made of topographic maps

While I was creating this collection, I found that these artworks could be used in a variety of different applications. 
One of my ideas is the “tree rings pattern” could be used for textiles and wrapping paper. 
Looking from afar, the patterns could be seen as polka dots or could give the impression of a lumber yard. 
By looking closer and focusing on the details, you can find the information from topographic maps such as names of the places and symbols. 
This gives textiles and wrapping an especially interesting aspect compared to more conventional examples.


Changing the impression in a moment

The feature of this artwork is to show how ordinary maps can be totally changed simply by overlaying colored film. 
All the map images remain unchanged from the original online source provided by the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan.



Forest books gallery, Suzhou, China, Jan. 2018.

UNFOLD 2018 : Shanghai Art Book Fair 

M50, Shanghai, China, Jan. 2018.

The original inspiration for this experimental graphic design project comes from Mitate ”見立て”; which is a traditional Japanese method of making something appear as something else.

Above is an example of another one of my own experiments with the Mitate style. I arranged my original illustration of Mt.fuji into a single-toned color block which the actual map originally used for its background color. From this, the shape of Mt.fuji’s illustration immediately turns into an unknown peninsula.
My art book project started from my own curiosity about the possibilities of the arrangement of the shapes in actual maps. I then noticed that the topographic map of Mt.fuji could be easily compared to the faces of a log. After many experiments with different maps and types of wood, finally I settled on what I believe to be most beautiful examples and made my art-book Mimetic Maps 2 to share it with the world.

Special Thanks: YafaKoseko&Dave guy


Gitai archive
Treerings in Maps

year: 2017 / pages: 32p.  
paper : vent nouveau / dimension : A4 / binding : Saddle Stitch Staple 
printing office : Graphic inc. Kyoto ​​​​​​​
Available on

created by
Koseko design&press (小瀬古文庫) 

is a graphic artist based in Shonan, Japan. His theme is how could create amazing expressions inspired by concept of Mitate, which has been used in Japanese traditional art practices like zen gardens for centuries.



GitaiMagazine ISSUE#03: MAP = TREE

GitaiMagazine ISSUE#03: MAP = TREE

Maps camouflaged as tree rings The Mimetic Maps 2 art book is a new work of the series “Mimetic Maps” which is continuing the experimental mix o Read More