Custom Seal Designs

In Japan, seals are used in place of signatures. Some seals can be purchased at the local business supply store and serve as nothing more than initials. Other seals are custom designed and registered with the local government and are legally binding.

School seals will normally be formal works done as a rectangle and using tensho (seal) script. Personal seals allow more opportunity for individual expression, after all, it is like a signature.

This is an order for a custom design and so you would be working directly with Eri Takase and a translator to create a unique, custom work.
We would take you through each step of the process including options for translation, fonts, and the layout. Electronic samples are shown that we can discuss and modify as needed. You will have input into each step of the process and can direct the design to the final artwork.

Final work can be ordered as a high-resolution digital image or on flat, white, acid-free paper. From either a seal may be carved or the design may be used to create a rubber stamp as is commonly available.

Custom Seal Designs

Seal designs may be ordered at our on-line store at Custom Seal Design.

As a calligrapher, I will work with you on the design of the seal but not on the physical seal. Most of my clients use a rubber stamp process than can usually be done locally for a nominal cost.

I do work with you on each step of the process including the translation, font selection, and layout. I do this by showing you samples via email and making changes based on your feedback. Once we arrive at a final design I would mail you the final images on flat, white, acid-free paper.

The first step in deciding on a seal is to select the appropriate Japanese characters for the name. The Names in Japanese page has over 2000 names in Japanese. When ordering a seal design, several new options will be given. Seals can be created using Katakana, Hiragana, or Kanji.yume_02

Seals are generally written using a style called Tensho which is commonly translated as “Seal Script”. Examples of the five broad categories of script styles are shown on the right. The character used for this example is “Yume” (pronounced “You may”) which means “Dream”.

The next step is to decide on the size and shape of the stamp. Options are oblong, round, square, and rectangular. Here we explore only the circle and square options:


Once the size and shape has been decided, the next step is to determine the general look and feel of the seal. The seals in red (shown below) are seals used by Eri Takase in her work. (1) is one of Eri’s nom de plume “Sairei” written right to left. (2)-(4) use the first character “E” of “Eri”. The “E” of “Eri” is shown in (5) written in Kaisho script. And (7) is Eri’s full name “Takase, Sairei” written top to bottom and right to left.

(1) and (2) in black are written right to left. (3)-(4) in black are the first character of the name.

By choosing the character and the style one can get varying levels of complexity or simplicity depending on the desired design.

(6) is “Daikichi” which means “Great Luck” and is a seal on many of Eri’s work. It is placed in the upper right-hand corner and has the effect of drawing the eye back to the middle of the work by offsetting the red seal in the lower left of the work.


Here the customer decided that the red version of (1) or (7) above was what he was looking for. But because the “Ka” (the character on the left of (1)) is so simple, there is not much to work with. So we changed our approach. (1) and (2) below use the last name, (3) uses the full name. (4) is another example of the first name. And (5) and (6) are two different examples of the full name written top to bottom, left to right.


Having decided that (1) from the above is just right, five samples of varying line widths were created. This gives the graphic artist some choice when creating the final designs. Both the original work and a digital version are created for the final product.


This process is designed to give many options and many ideas leading to a perfect design. Seal designs may be ordered at our on-line store at Custom Seal Design.