After completing the design course at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music in 1964, Matsunaga worked in the advertising division of Shiseido Co., Ltd. In 1971 he founded Shin Matsunaga Design Inc.
His work centers on graphic designs, including posters and corporate identity designs, but his creative activities also cover a range of other fields, such as drawings and monuments. His major works; corporate identity design for Issey Miyake Inc.; package design for French cigarette 'Gitanes' selected as the 1st prize at international competition and the symbol mark design for the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubish etc.
The direct approach and simple yet powerful impact of his designs have won a wide following. He has had one-man shows in Warsaw, New York, Belgium, and many other cities in the world. The permanent collections of 60 museums around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York and Victoria and Albert Museum in London, contain many of his works.
He has received numerous awards, including International Poster Biennale, Warsaw gold medal, and the Education Minister's Art Encouragement Prize for Freshman. Collections of his work in print include The Design Works of Shin Matsunaga (Kodansha), Phollage (Shinshindo), Graphic Cosmos - The World of Shin Matunaga (shueisha), and 'Shin Matsunaga on Design' (Agosto).
He is a member of AGI, a committee member of the Tokyo Art Directors Club, a trustee of the Japan Graphic Designers Association, Inc..