Visual design enables communication between cultures

Award-winning designer Chao Yang sees visual communication design as a means to communicate across borders.
Hymyilevä tummapukuinen Chao Yang esittelee juuri saamaansa palkintoa Red Dot Awards -palkintoseremoniassa
Chao Yang at the Red Dot Awards 2019 ceremony

Chao Yang, a doctoral candidate in Visual Communication Design at Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture won the Red Dot: Best of the Best Award 2019 with his poster series My Words. The work is the designer’s intention to express his understanding of nature and life via converging visual text languages.

The work is an abstract text, inspired by ripples and music as well as a combination of hand-written languages: Chinese, English, Iranian, French and Italian. It seems familiar but can't be identified, however. One can feel it is talking to the audience and conveys the designer’s emotions to them.

‘I want to keep and nourish my avant-garde thinking about design by continuously experimenting and exploring design practices. My work applies an international visual communication technique, where an experimental exploration is conducted on the ‘non-recognition’ and the ‘infor­mation communicative function’ of languages as visual texts’, explains Chao Yang.

Red Dot is the most influential design award in the design field and Best of the Best Award is admitted to very high quality design and creative performance. In 2019, the Red Dot Awards attracted tens of thousands of entries from more than 70 countries – the probability of winning is less than 0.8 %.

“In an attention-grabbing manner, this experimental project documents a dialogue between the designer and himself. Thoughts about culture and the ocean are visualized, yet they fully elude unambiguous understanding. Cleverly solved are details such as speech balloons, which are presented both in a traditional way such as Chinese drawings. Playing on perception, the poster series gains the interest of beholders”, states the jury.

kuva voittaneesta julistesarjasta, jossa abstraktit eri kieliset tekstit yhdistyvät graafisten luontoa kuvaavien elementtien ja yllättävänmuotoisten puhekuplien kanssa
Caption of My Words poster series by Chao Yang

Designer brings East to West

‘For me, visual communication design means an approach and method of design that serves for cultural communication”, says Yang. His design and creation focuses especially on the internationalization of Chinese culture elements’ visual communicating identification, mainly on ceramic culture.

‘In order to achieve the purpose of expressing Chinese culture and help it go global, I combine Chinese culture with Swiss internationalist graphic design style and German Bauhaus composition design style. The works I designed that applied in large-scale cultural, commercial and artistic projects have been internationally renowned’, explains Yang, who also beholds a position as an associate professor at the Communication University of Zhejiang (CUZ).

Yang has won over 160 influential design awards around the world, including the iF Award in Germany, Gold Award at the A’ Design Award and Competition in Italy, Gold Award at the International Design Awards (IDA) in the United States. He has also served as judge in many important international design competitions.

‘I have been focusing on the internationalization of design and expression of visual communication. If my design is lucky and wins the award, it means that I can communicate with the international judges by design. Maybe it also means that my ideas and direction of design are right, and I will continue to explore and move forward in this direction’, says Yang.

His design research project ‘Dong Ci Xi Yun’ (East @ West – From China to the world) was recently supported by the National Art Fund of the Chinese government. Furthermore, his ceramic art work ‘Eastern Porcelain with Western Charm’ was on display in the lobby of Beijing International Club Building. Yang has also designed ceramic gifts for Alibaba Ant Financial and a space decoration design for Yue Restaurant in Shanghai, as well as for Mercedes-Benz Center.

More information:

Doctoral candidate Chao Yang, Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, [email protected]

Red Dot: Best of the Best – My Words

Chao Yang wins iF Award in visual communication design

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