TYPOGRAPHIC INCLUSIVITY:
YUE HU ON CHINESE TYPOGRAPHY, ACID GRAPHICS AND SERIFS

EDITORIAL

16 DECEMBER 2021

Describing her work as ‘rational, brutalist, typographic’,

Yue Hu

works across branding, editorial and graphic design. In London’s Brutalist hotspot, the Barbican Centre, she shared some thoughts on typography in her country, new technologies in design, and serifs.


BENCE IVÁNYI:

 What place does graphic design and typography occupy in China?

YUE HU:

Recently, definitely more and more people think typography is important in China. There are lots of people that study in a Western country, and contemporary practitioners realise existing typefaces in the market are not enough for creative uses. But Chinese has thousands of characters, which is why [currently] we don’t actually have as much choices as with the Latin script. Recently there are more and more Chinese type foundries – before that lots of people were just using default typefaces.

BENCE:

In the West, contemporary graphic design is still largely informed by the “Swiss Style”. Is there an equivalent to that in China?

YUE:

It was definitely influenced by the “Swiss Style” a lot in the past. But I believe Chinese designers are trying to find their own way to interpret contemporary design now.

I feel like contemporary Chinese design is not really the same as Western design regarding minimalism. It’s the opposite, it’s quite maximalist. They use a lot of

AI

and

3D

to make computer generated, really colourful graphics. “Acid Graphics” is quite popular in China. 

People are really learning to use new technologies in their work; and when starting out, everyone always tries to do as much as possible. It’s like when you’re a student and learning – it’s really hard to say “let’s delete or reduce things from the design”.

Yue cited practitioners

@dabeiyuzhou

,

@eg.lio

,

@fkkwu

,

@stephyfung

who create exciting work with an inquisitive, maximalist approach.

BENCE:

What are some design practices common in China you wish more Western designers would adopt? I remember you mentioning larger type sizes a few times.

YUE:

Oh yeah, for book design specifically! Chinese characters have so many strokes, they have to be big to be readable, because one single difference of stroke could make a totally different character. That’s why the text size has to be larger – which is more user-friendly if you’re short sighted. So I think this is definitely something book designers [in the West] should learn from.


BENCE:

Who is your favourite designer from your country?

YUE:

I would say it’s definitely

Can Yang

. Her work is really rich in different kinds of ... – I feel like “style” is such a weak word for it. You never know what her next project will look like, very unpredictable!

BENCE:

What is your favourite typeface and why?

YUE:

Editorial New

. I’m really a serif kind of person, I love serif typefaces. Editorial New is unlike other serif faces – most are either traditional or boring. Editorial New is quite thin, narrow and tall, it’s a very elegant typeface. If you print it big, it reminds me of an elegant model. It also just works really well with everything, it matches well with either another serif or sans-serif as its secondary typeface.

Credits:


Interview with

Yue Hu

yuehu.design

@iamyue.hu





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