Skip to main content
4–7 September, 2019

Saturday, 7 September | | Miraikan Hall

Talk | Presented in English

To Be, or Not to Be Read?

Sure, type foundries make functional font files for their customers, and in most cases the goal of these fonts is to display readable text (more or less). However, some designs seem deliberately to work against that goal. This presentation goes over some interesting diversity in Hanyi Fonts’ recent projects. Hanyi Fonts carried out multiple digital revival types for schools and IT companies. The projects had different purposes—the faithful revival of classic faces, education, algorithm improvement—and they approached them in very different ways. By collaborating with linguists and designers, unreadable manuscript styles like oracle bone script were reborn in a new form and did well in the marketplace. Hanyi Fonts also fielded a very uncommon custom request: to design, for the public good, a typeface with the least possible legibility. This presentation discusses why making a typeface that could be barely read got such positive feedback, and how this unusual job was completed. Zhang Xuan hopes these case studies will bear witness to the energy and possibilities of Chinese type design, and will lead people to have fun exploring the Chinese market.