Chinese Letters

I found these examples of Chinese writing from the AIGA archives…

The first piece is a poster for the Chinese market from Push Pin Studios. The designers used the lettering to both make the subject clear and to speak to the Chinese population that may not know English yet. Americans can roughly identity Chinese when they see it. The lack of English on the poster also shows that the market is probably only for Chinese people. I think the language was used correctly here. For an English speaker the script detracts from the poster because I can’t read it and it’s used in the traditional way: horizontally in columns, which is foreign to most Americans. The poster seems really blocky and oddly spaced out, but that might be the norm for Chinese posters.

The second piece is for Americans on how to communicate at the Chinese market. This design doesn’t have a lot of the Chinese lettering, but it’s enough to show Americans what the letters look like and a reference to how they’re made. I really like this piece because it’s arranged to please the American design eye. The script is still important to include so that people can feel like they can recognize maybe the name of the market or a few phrases.

The third piece is a simple book on how the Chinese letterforms work. I think the letters are most definitely used correctly if the purpose is to show people how Chinese letters look. The script was also an important part so that people could connect the actual script with the information about the lettering system. I think this piece is beautiful because it incorporates the best of the Chinese lettering with the best of American design.

The last piece is a book cover that uses Chinese symbols to convey the idea of the book. The symbols are most likely used accurately because the book is written by Emperor Yongzheng. I think the script means something to the writer as well as the Chinese people. The text connects the audience to the book. I really like the symbols in this piece because they form a background pattern that really makes the cover interesting.

Overall, the pieces use Chinese symbols to connect the audience to a certain nostalgia as well as functionality of the symbols.


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