Ming Romantic: A Complete Reimagining of Chinese Type
Excerpt from AIGA’s Eye on Design article, “Ming Romantic: A Complete Reimagining of Chinese Type”
...experimentation in Chinese type tends to lean more toward illustration, relying heavily on the pictogram origins of some Chinese characters. “With a Bodoni,”—or other Latin faces, says Lam—“it’s okay to treat the characters as a formal expression. But in Chinese culture, I think there’s more reservation about that.”
But it did bring up a question for Lam and designer YuJune Park, now his partner at their research-based design studio Synoptic Office. If they started to manipulate the shapes of Chinese characters—sharpening them up, thickening the verticals, thinning the horizontals—much like what you see in a modern typeface, could they create a completely new kind of Chinese type? If so, what would it look like? And how could it break with the pre-existing traditions of Chinese type?
“It came from our very deep desire to understand the space and try to find a way to break through what we perceived as a stagnation, and some of the conventions we saw in existing Chinese type,” says Park. “There’s not a lot of Chinese typography in general. We wanted to work with a new palate, and create new forms.”