Collection of Research on Chinese Typography

The Type
The Type
Sep 13, 2019 · 3 min read

We at The Type have been promoting public awareness of typography and design in the Chinese community for over ten years. Whether it is introducing Western typography theories and knowledge, or conducting independent research on Chinese typography in recent years, we are often concerned about the inadequate typography education in China as well as the lack of exchange we have with the international community. Chinese typography is not easy to tackle, but we believe that, by more self-initiated and open research, we are able to address our challenges under a global perspective and invite more discussions and breakthroughs to the field.

So here is a three-volume collection of our on-going research and dialogues about typography and design in China, including its history and development, conventions and contemporary practice, and working in transcultural contexts.


Shanghai Type: a slice of modern Chinese type history

The development of Chinese type design since the foundation of the People’s Republic in 1949 cast significant influence to its contemporary developments. Yet it has remained as much a mystery to the outside world as to local designers. Thanks to the research throughout the Shanghai Type project, we attempt to illustrate a slice of the history of how modern Chinese type design began as a groundbreaking state-initiated endeavour, and then gradually faded in the age of market and commercialisation.

Kǒngquè: restoring the mindset of Chinese typesetting

The convention and wisdom of Chinese typography that was developed over centuries has failed to be inherited by today’s designers. This is caused partially by the Latin-orientated computer softwares and the negligence in the Chinese design education. Kǒngquè project aims to fill this gap by revisiting the typographic traditions in China in the modern context and restoring a mindset of native Chinese typography.

Transcultural Type Design: a dialogue from China

Among the Chinese-speaking designers, discourse around transcultural typography is still in its infancy. This small volume is the record of the first of a series of open discussions moderated by us, to address this global trend as well as the debate and strategies that come along in the Chinese context.

How to get them

The first English-language edition was printed in limited copies for ATypI 2019. Now they are out of stock and we are making a bilingual edition to be released soon. You may sign up to stay tune with our updates.


Editor-in-chief: Rex Chen
Series editor: Mira Ying
Design: He Rongkai & Jiang Hao at Atmosphere Office
First printed in August 2019

Shanghai Type

Research lead: Li Zhiqian
Advisor: Chen Qirui
Editor: Richor Wang
Translator: Hui Jing


Author: Eric Liu
Editor: Mira Ying

Transcultural Type Design

Editor: Mira Ying
Contributors: Peiran Tan, Li Zhiqian, Zheng Chuyang, Du Xiyao, Tien-min Liao, Roman Wilhelm
Translators: Hui Jing, Mira Ying

Founded in 2007, The Type is an independent Chinese project focusing on typography, design and society. Through writing, publishing, podcasting, events and other activities, it aims to deepen public understanding of the role of design and visual culture and society and promote research in the relevant fields. Our team members and contributors come from various backgrounds including but not limited to design, linguistics, history and cultural studies, publishing, curating, and information technology.

The Type

Written by

The Type

Typography, design, society.

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