For those new to Chinese zodiac, the Year of the Goat is a terrific time to get acquainted. The goat brings forth creativity, thoughtfulness and lucky numbers 2 and 7! It also brings forth the time and the chance to become familiar with graphic design in China. In staying with the lucky numbers, this article rounds up 7 current and influential Chinese designers.
1. Archer Zuo
design: Archer Zuo
Archer Zuo is a modest Beijing-based designer with a focus on contemporary Chinese typography. His work is meticulous and, upon visiting his website, it is easy to see that his design process is methodical and thoughtful. Zuo leaves no stone unturned and every design exists within its own cohesive visual language. The results are about as close to perfection as a designer can get.
2. Been Shen
Interactive installation design: Been Shen
Been Shen is another Beijing-based designer with a focus on multimedia design. In the example above, Rabbit God, Shen renders historic Chinese gods in a colorful and modern way as a means of educating the younger Chinese generation. The piece was designed for digital billboards in Beijing.
What makes Been Shen’s work fascinating is that graphic design was largely nonexistent until recent years. It is as if she is making up for lost time by bringing aspects of Chinese history into a radically modern perspective.
3. Guang Yu
design: Guang Yu
Guang Yu is a Beijing-based designer with an eye-catching style who is prolific in the realms of flyers, packaging, branding and more. What stands out about his work is his understanding and utilization of the printing process.
In the design work above, Yu uses two colors of ink to create a three-color palette. Also, his confidence in the ink transparency allows him to intentionally layer lines of type in a way that is powerful and eye-catching.
4. Lok Ng
design: Lok Ng
Lock Ng utilizes both contemporary typography and traditional calligraphy to form a style that is both unique and identifiable. In concept, this old-meets-new approach is similar to the work of Been Shen; however, it arrives at a visual destination of sophistication and profession.
Lok Ng may be another indicator of a design trend in China, where the country’s history is juxtaposed with modern styles.
5. Nod Young
design: Nod Young
Nod Young is a graphic designer in Beijing who is a partner of Tomeetyou Graphics and creative director in Smartisan Technology. His work focuses on geometry and color, which he claims reflect his world and the subtle emotions within. Similar to Archer Zuo, Young is able to create cohesive visual languages; a sign of a strong designer.
6. Lulu Li
Lulu Li is another Beijing-based designer. Her work is full of energy, bright colors and neon light that draw parallels to both Nod Young and Been Shen. Perhaps the use of radiant colors come as compensation to China’s lack of graphic design for such a long time. The style feels fresh, current and – most notably – aware of the digital age.
7. Ray Lei
Ray Lei is another designer who is ushering an age of modern design into China. He takes inspiration from skateboarding, comic strips and graffiti to create a visual style that consumes anything in its path.
cover: Guang Yu