Chinese Typo-graphy

The Identity and Development of The Chinese Written Language

October 29th, 20097:06 pm @ | 5,648 views


Chinese Character for 'Boat'

Chinese Pictograph for 'Boat'

Chinese characters were originally drawings of objects (pictographs), but during the course of history they have been refined that they are now abstract and many of them are no longer recognizable as images. By putting the image quality back into a character, the character can then be read as an image again and can therefore also be understood by people with different language backgrounds. Universality thus re-established.

There are approximately 80,000 Chinese characters, but only 26 letterforms in the English alphabet. If it takes 4 years to study the English typography, it would take more than 12,307 years to study the Chinese characters!

My work

My work explores the typographic relationship between Chinese and Western cultures, especially concentrates on the visual exploration of the boundaries between the two.

fish

Pictograph for 'fish'

I was fascinated by the development of Chinese characters and wanted to know more about the Chinese language. I feel it is an advantage for a typographic designer to understand languages in another culture. I am very lucky to have already that advantage, and it would be an honor to explore it furthermore.

I felt that the research into the past 11 years of my life has been meaningful. The documentation is not only an important reference for the future generations; it is also one of many immigrant stories that surround us. Apart from explorations between two different cultures, my work also gives viewer an opportunity to learn something about the Chinese culture, language, and people.

sky

Ancient Chinese character for 'sky'

From analogue to digital

I have witnessed the transformation between the ‘analogue’ and the ‘digital’ era, and have seen the quick transformation of digital-media, 10 years ago, no one thought the web would be like this today.  Sometimes I feel that a lot of ‘goodness’ in analogue tradition have been lost through new media, especially the richness of lines drawn by hand and the richness of materials made from traditional methods. I have come to understood that it is important to be sincere about the ‘original concept’ and ‘ideas’, technology has provided us with a set of new tools, to help us realize some of these concepts/ideas.

I am constantly reminding myself that technology cannot be used to disguise a bad idea, or to generate new ones, and should be utilized with much care, and not to be lost in it!