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Chinese graphic design competition exhibits in London

By Cecily Liu in London ( Updated: 2014-09-16 01:08

A collection of top quality Chinese graphic design works is been showcased at central London’s Asia House, attracting hundreds of visitors.

The exhibition is hosted by Graphic Design in China (GDC), a famous competition in China, and shows the best works that have entered the competition between 2003-2013. It represents GDC’s first exhibition in London, and is a part of the London Design Festival program.

The graphic design works showcased cover a wide range of design fields, including adverting design, product design, special design, and interactive design. They all reflect elements of the modern Chinese society in their own ways.

One example is a 2009 work titled ‘Paper Battlefield’, designed by McCann Worldgroup, a design company in Hong Kong, featuring 10 poster images of Nike League players being stamped on top of each other in different variations to represent a battlefield.

The 10 original posters featured basketball players in different postures, but each of them is full of energy and excitement. When the images are stamped on top of each other, the players’ bodies overlap and sometimes become blurred, but the resultant posters fully capture the spirit of the battlefield.

Another example is the 2011 work ‘The Keyboard of Isolation’, by Jody Xiong, which captured the isolation that family members experience in today’s technology driven world. Although the family members see each other every day, their lives are segregated by technology, represented by the amount of time they spend online every day.

The design is an installation, featuring a giant keyboard. Each key is made up of a glass bottle, and inside each bottle is a single person reading his or her laptop. Despite physical proximity to the other people, each person is isolated by the glass bottle, alone in his or her little world.

The installation reached an audience of 1800,000 within 2 months and 89 percent said they would like to spend less time online and more time with their families.

Different from artworks, design works generally serve a function or purpose, but is reflective of the social background the works are situated in. Across the GDC exhibition, there are many works serving commercial purposes, like posters, book covers, adverts, visual installations, or designs on packages of products.

One example is the 2011 work of ‘No Longer Right’, by Hon Kim Cheung, which featured a large glass sphere which is put in the middle of a shopping mall as decoration. The glass sphere had many words projected onto it, but the words do not make a coherent sentence.

Eric Zhu, chair of Shenzhen Graphic Design Association, said that the works exhibited reflect the variety and diversity of China’s design landscape today.

Deborah Dawton, chief executive of the UK Design Business Association, said it is great to see such great works of Chinese design in London, as these works add diversity to the London design scene.

Xiang Xiaowei, minister counselor of culture at the Chinese embassy in the UK, said he sees great potential for China and the UK to enhance cultural and creative industries cooperation, because the UK has great cultural industry heritage and China has a big market and political support to grow these industries.

The growth of cultural and creative industries in China will also help the Chinese economy to shift from a manufacturing and export driven model to a consumption driven model, Xiang said.

(The Graphic Design in China 2003-13 Exhibition is shown from Sep 15-20 at Asia House, 63 New Cavendish St London, W1G 7LP, United Kingdom.)

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