YUE HU ON CHINESE TYPOGRAPHY, ACID GRAPHICS AND SERIFS
16 DECEMBER 2021
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
3Dto 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
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
BENCE:What is your favourite typeface and why?