The characteristic of his designs is a blending of deeply rooted Japanese traditions with western modernism to produce contemporary visual expression.
Ikko Tanaka's work includes the design of the symbols for Expo '85 in Tsukuba and World City Expo Tokyo '96. Amongst others he has worked for the Seibu Saison Group, The International Garden and Greenery Exposition, Hanae Mori, Issey Miyake, and the Mazda Corporation. Tanaka has curated and designed exhibitions for the Victoria and Albert Museum (London) and throughout Japan. He has designed the main logo of Osaka University.
Ikko Tanaka is also credited with developing the Muji together with Kazuko Koike (marketing consultant), and Takashi Sugimoto (interior designer). Tanaka articulated the Muji vision and appearance, and he provided ideas and prototypes that visualized the design strategy. He worked as Muji's art director until 2001.
Ikko Tanaka has received several awards, including the JAAC Special Selection, Mainichi Design Award, Minister of Education Newcomer Prize, Tokyo ADC Members' Grand Prize, Mainichi Art Award, Purple Ribbon Medal, and the New York ADC Hall of Fame Prize. Tanka has exhibition in New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Mexico.
Ikko Tanaka has published several books, including "Design, no Zengo Sayu."
Born in 1930 in Nara City, Ikko Tanaka studied art at the Kyoto City School of Fine Arts. Ikko Tanaka worked at the Sankei Shinbun, Nippon Design Center, and subsequently established his first design studio in Tokyo, the Ikko Tanaka Design Studio, in 1963.
In September 2012 there was a retrsopective of his work at 21_21 Design Sight in Tokyo, curated by one of his closest collaborators Kazuko Koike.