In 1999, Masumi Kobayashi created “Seed Letters” which helped her explore the idea of change. Kobayashi arrived at the exploration of change after researching written characters and their purpose. Through her research she was reminded that one of the main functions of letters is to preserve language and therefore “they [have] to be preserved in the way that they were originally written.” Since her research stressed preservation, Kobayashi wondered what would happen if the letters could change. To explore change, she planted beansprout seeds in the shape of letters that would grow and change their shape over time. Masumi Kobayashi said, “the experiment has made me want to rethink what artificial shapes, natural shapes and the shapes of the characters as well as the characters themselves mean to us.”
In 2000, Masumi Kobayashi was recognized by the Tokyo Type Directors Club (Tokyo TDC) which has the Tokyo TDC Awards, an international design competition. Masumi Kobayashi was given a gold prize in the non-TDC members division of the competition for “Seed Letters”.