2011 China and Taiwan, Chinese Character Arts Festivel

The visual identity design for the 2011 Cross-Strait Chinese Character Art Festival, jointly organized by Mainland China and Taiwan, is the highest-level exhibition of its kind between the two regions. The first edition was held in Beijing, and this year, the second edition was hosted in Taipei, organized by the Chinese Culture Association.

The design process began with the logo, considering the relationship between Chinese characters on both sides of the strait. Traditional Chinese characters are an essential part of Chinese culture, but since the establishment of New China, they have been simplified in Mainland China. The debate over the use of traditional and simplified characters has been ongoing. To avoid this issue, the decision was made to use the Eight Principles of the Yan Zhenqing calligraphy style as the basic composition for the logo, thus sidestepping the traditional vs. simplified character issue.

The English term for “字體” (Chinese characters) is “Type Face.” The designer was curious about this term when encountering it in the United States. Why is it called “Type Face”? Is it because the shapes of different typefaces resemble different faces, just like human faces? Inspired by this idea, the designer created a series of masks with different languages’ characters worn by people of various ethnicities from different countries. This concept was then applied to the logo of the Chinese Character Art Festival. The question arose, what face could represent the Chinese people?

The answer was found in the facial makeup of Guan Gong in Beijing Opera. The red and black Guan Gong facial makeup symbolizes justice in Beijing Opera. The designer cleverly incorporated the Eight Principles of Yan Zhenqing’s calligraphy into the facial makeup, combining both elements and expressing the concept of Chinese character typography.

Design by Ken-Tsai Lee
Client/中華文化總會[the General Association of Chinese Culture,GACC]