The stereotypical visual association was never aimed to represent a culture through typography, but rather the stereotype of a culture’s typography. Chop suey typeface, or Wonton font, serves as a visual shorthand for “representing” a complex culture with reduced gestures. As a result, it hides itself under the facade of different ethnic groups, neglecting cultural authenticity, stripping the sophisticated context of the culture’s history and identity, and leaving a bare skeleton of style. These superficial type devices are making their grand gesture in different diasporas, which further worsens stereotypes of these cultures from a Western point of view.
As the goal of modern Chinese typographers is not to simply “respect” a particular type style but to present as much diverse and quality work as possible for designers to choose freely, we have to ask, what about Chinese-Latin typographers? Is calligraphy style the only way to represent Chinese culture in typography? Can we simply dissect a culture to a particular visual style?
As a part of appropriation art, typography has made its way of staying out of our radar for so long. The delicacy of cultural authenticity is never built on a superficial visual style created from a single point of view. Instead, the only way to define it is to live with it. How can designers and typographers act responsibly in communicating messages that elevate authenticity and celebrate difference? What is the nuance that requires our attention while facing a global audience? Can we reshape typography to be less stereotypical and more inclusive?
Stereo(type)ography is the thesis project that is dedicated to the complexity of culture and how it always presents itself through typography. It is the designer’s responsibility to enforce awareness through their work.
- Agency/Creative: Ellis Zhixuan Yu
- Article Title: Examining Stereotypes in Chinese-Latin Typography with Transmedia Design by Ellis Zhixuan Yu
- Organisation/Entity: Student
- Project Type: Graphic
- Project Status: Published
- Agency/Creative Country: United States
- Agency/Creative City: Pasadena
- Market Region: Global
- Project Deliverables: 2D Design, Graphic Design, Research, Typography
- Industry: Education
- Keywords: Typography, Stereotypes, Chinese-Latin typography, Transmedia Design, Graphic Design
designer: Ellis Zhixuan Yu