If China came relatively late to modern graphic design, then the wealth of material emerging from the Asian giant suggests the country is rapidly catching up. A flurry of exhibitions and events in London, timed to coincide with the Beijing Olympics, reveals the diversity of young Chinese designers who both nod back to traditional forms and look forward to a playful, experimental and often robust new world. A recent book, 3030: New Graphic Design In China, provides a window on their ideas. It highlights the work of 30 designers around 30 years old, and includes their designs for posters and packaging, as well as books and illustration. The capsule collection ranges from whimsical illustrations to more challenging images, such as the ‘wrapped’ photography and whorled drawings of Yang Zhen. A softer style comes from Li Xinlu, whose feminine repeat sportif patterns are a gentle subversion of Chinese athletic ideals. Ren Qianyi has a stronger take on the feminine, while Don Wong depicts age and sex with considerable muscularity. Qiao Cheng’s collaging of photography and illustration produces equally strong ideas. Few predicted that China, which as recently as the 1990s offered few modern design courses, would within a few years generate such 3030: New Graphic Design In China, edited by Javin Mo, is published in Hong Kong by 3030 Press, priced £26, plus sourcing fee from
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