FX’s Shōgun, an original adaptation of James Clavell’s bestselling novel, is set in Japan in the year 1600 at the dawn of a century-defining civil war. Producer Hiroyuki Sanada stars as “Lord Yoshii Toranaga” who is fighting for his life as his enemies on the Council of Regents unite against him, when a mysterious European ship is found marooned in a nearby fishing village. Its English pilot, “John Blackthorne” (Cosmo Jarvis), comes bearing secrets that could help Toranaga tip the scales of power and devastate the formidable inf luence of Blackthorne’s own enemies — the Jesuit priests and Portuguese merchants. Toranaga’s and Blackthorne’s fates become inextricably tied to their translator, “Toda Mariko” (Anna Sawai), a mysterious Christian noblewoman and the last of a disgraced line. While serving her lord amidst this fraught political landscape, Mariko must reconcile her newfound companionship with Blackthorne, her commitment to the faith that saved her and her duty to her late father.

The 10-episode limited series features an acclaimed Japanese cast, unprecedented for an American production, including Tadanobu Asano as “Kashigi Yabushige,” a notorious backstabber and close ally of Toranaga; Hiroto Kanai as “Kashigi Omi,” the young leader of the fishing village where Blackthorne’s ship was found; Takehiro Hira as “Ishido Kazunari,” a powerful bureaucrat who is Toranaga’s chief rival; Moeka Hoshi as “Usami Fuji,” a widow who must find new purpose amidst her lord’s fight; Tokuma Nishioka as “Toda Hiromatsu,” Toranaga’s trusted general and closest friend; Shinnosuke Abe as “Buntaro” (“Toda Hirokatsu”), Mariko’s jealous husband; Yuki Kura as “Yoshii Nagakado,” the brash son of Toranaga with a strong desire to prove himself; Yuka Kouri as “Kiku,” a courtesan renowned for her artistry throughout Japan; and Fumi Nikaido as “Ochiba no Kata,” the revered mother of the heir who will stop at nothing to put an end to Toranaga and his threat to her son’s power.

Shōgun is created for television by Rachel Kondo & Justin Marks, with Marks serving as showrunner and executive producer alongside Michaela Clavell, Edward L. McDonnell, Michael De Luca and Kondo. The series is produced by FX Productions.

Shōgun was one of those once in a lifetime projects you wish you can be fortunate enough to work on in our career as a designer. While I primarily was focused on creating the media guide for this series, which you can see below, I also was tasked to create supplemental character cards for Instagram that were posted online in the weeks leading up to the premiere of the series on Fx and Hulu.

The majority of the work I did for Shōgun was creating the media guide/press kit. Basically its a giant document/book that contains all of the information about the show, the season, the cast and their characters, the crew & production.

I was brought onto this project to take over work from another designer on the print design team who was going on vacation. He had a couple weeks worth of work put into the design of the book in which fonts and most of the photography choices had already been picked out.

My role in the production of the media guide was to pick up where he left off, which was about 25% completed when I came in, and basically take it all the way to 100% by redesigning most of the character pages and do some slight retouching as well as design the rest of the layouts for all the remaining pages in the crew and production sections.

Overall this project was one that I secretly wished I was able to work on when I first heard of it. Super proud of how it all turned out in the end.