It is hard to deny the importance of typography in Chinese culture. The complexity of shape, the choice of color and the meaning of the characters themselves are able to influence the message through the context. No wonder, it starts to be increasingly popular to use Chinese typography in design not only in China, but also abroad.
Chinese typography is a source of inspiration for graphic designers that can be used to experiment with wordplay through language’s pictographs and sometimes the results are pretty amazing.
Literally “杯具” means “cups and other containers”, but Chinese increasingly use it online as a replacement to “悲剧” that is pronounced same way, but means “tragic”.
|Experimental Chinese Typography|
The expression “打酱油” means “get soy sauce” and refers to a popular internet meme with the meaning of “I was just passing by” and “None of my business”.
The “悲催” is simplified version of obsolete “悲摧”, which means “sorrowful”, one of the other meanings is “out of luck”.
The “腐女” stands for “tofu girl”, but it is also a slang word for “rotten woman”.
Chinese singer Huang Xiaoming in the “One World, One Dream” sung English phrase “” Not at all” in a way that it was pronounced similarly to “闹大套” which sounds like the Chinese phrase "闹笑话" meaning “to make a fool of oneself.”. This made “Not at all” so popular that it led to a social boom in Chinese media and people started using this phrase, when they want to refer to “somebody who made a fool out of themselves”.
This art project is a perfect example to show how Chinese typography might be used in design. Pictographs not only refer to the materials used on the picture, but also indirectly point out on the hidden meaning and allow to explore the context of the visuals on numerous levels. It provides an infinite opportunities for it to be used in advertising in Asia or as a fresh twist in Western promotional campaign. And the last but not least it is eye pleasing as an element of the design.
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