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When creating bilingual lettering, the form of the translation may match the other script perfectly, but sometimes they don’t share anything in common visually. The best scenario is to take the letterform into consideration during the naming stage. If the translation can not be altered, we can also look for other forms as an alternative solution.


As mentioned in the observation section, the density of Kanji character varies from a few strokes to sometimes more than twenty. The differences in density creates a visual rhythm in paragraphs, but when creating a logotype/lettering with a few characters, it may become…

After sketching out a style with the approaches above, the next step is to make sure that all the visual parameters are consistent, which may include: color, concentration, balance, tension, visual center, contrast, details and overall impression lockup, etc.

1. Color

The “color” here refers to overall proportion of the positive and negative spaces rather than any actual color. As most Kanji characters are more complicated and denser than Latin script, Kanji would usually be made a little bit bigger and lighter. So the amount of “ink” will be the same. …

There is never only one approach to create a bilingual lettering. Depending on the design object and design intent, solutions can be completely different. Existing type genres can be paired or brand new styles can be created to match each other.

The most important thing to keep in mind throughout the design process is that both scripts should convey the same message and personality rather than being limited to only sharing similar appearances. What is the meaning that this logotype/lettering wants to convey? Can this logotype/lettering express the spirit of the design object (client / brand)? …

The differences of contour, density and form between Latin & Kanji

In Latin script, a word is composed with alphabets arranged from left to right. The contour of a word can be viewed as a horizontal rectangular shape. Most strokes go vertically than horizontally with similar thickness. The negative spaces between the strokes are also visually equivalent. Overall, the texture of Latin script looks pretty even ⓐ.

I started a series of Latin-Kanji pairing studies “Bilingual Lettering” in 2016 and built a website for this project. After running the website for 4 years, I decided to move the content to Medium.

About the project

“Bilingual Lettering” project is a series of Latin-Kanji pairing studies for use in bilingual lettering and logotype.This project documents 50+ pairing exercises as well as some thoughts and notes gained through the process.

This project documents 50+ pairing exercises as well as some thoughts and notes gained through the process.


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