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MFA Thesis
“East-West/West-East”
September, 2019–May, 2020

This is an online documentation of Yi Mao’s MFA degree thesis project at ArtCenter College of Design (Pasadena, California). Starting from September 9th of Fall 2019 term to May of Spring 2020 term. This page functions as a documentation and sharing access for those who may be interested in such contents and topics related to this projects. However, it shall only functions with individuals’ coporations and ethcial believes of being against plagiarism and any pratical/academic dishonesty. Any contents, visual presentations, and structures potentially will be changed throughout the process.  If any parts of this resonate with you in the future, please feel free to contact me. Thanks!




Fall 2019: Week 1 (Sep 07–14, 2019)













1. Thesis workshop and brainstorming

some basics about a thesis project (Yi)

01. A thesis shall not be a fully completed project. It can be a starting point for an individual, being able to be expanded throughout his or her career.
02. A graduate/MFA level thesis project shall recognize the importance of contents, writing, citations, visual execution, and certain degree of completance.
03. A thesis project shall be felt like a graphic-design-related thesis project, carrying graphic design’s own unique aspects.
04. A thesis project shall offer reward to its audience including designers and non-designers. 




WK1 References: none.





Fall 2019: Week 2 (Sep 15–21, 2019)


2. Cultivating 3 thesis concepts

01. “East-west/West-east” (main direction)

“Within the context of global communication and trading, graphic designers undeniably shall recognize the siginifance of brigding non-Latin languages typography and Latin languages typography. Based on population and economy, East-Asian typography such as Chinese, Japanese and Hangul can be the first major part to be discovered and studied under this bridging non-Latin and Latin typography conversations.”


-Why would this be interesting to the Graphic | Design world at large or to other Designers?

East-Asian graphic designers are lack of easy-accessed resources of basic western typography and typesetting. It is unclear for a broader graphic designers base to understand what the fundamental rules are while applying East-Asian typography and English typography. With emergence of great East-Asian designers and influence of Asian cultures, Western designers start to largely use East-Asian languages in their works while sometimes creating mis-use communications.


-Why does it matter to me?

Being a Chinese student trained by sytemmatic western typography, it is truly suprising to know the fact that there is no systemmatic or largely recognized East-Asian typography typesetting and pedagogy. It will be beneficial to study East-Asian typography as a whole through discoverying its typsetting in order to introduce it to western graphic designers and typographers, bridging the gap between the two.


-Why is it relevant or timely now?

There are high demands of bilingual or multilingual communications from international companies and brands. But the capability and knowledge of designing with bilingual or multilingual communications are limited and rare.


-What do you want someone to take away after experiencing it?

To regonize that practically the use of non-Latin typography and Latin typography has been existing for long enough. To have a fundamental knowledge of what aspects shall pay attentional while using East-Asian typography and English typography.


-What research needs to happen?

a. readings on global trading, industrial revolution, languages, communication, East-Asian typography and Western typography.
ex. Edward Said, Orientalism
Idea Magazine—Idea Document: On the Shoulders of Giants
中文字体应用手册I:方正字库(1986 - 2017)
b. basic survey with students and designers.
c. interview with students, designers and educators.
d. observations and documentations of existing uses of East-Asian typography and Englisht typography within a specific area/environment/context...etc.


02. “Designer: Third Person Perspective”

“Graphic Designers shall accept the truth and nature that, we are constantly working and creating with a third-person perspective while fighting agianst subjectivity.”


03. “Typo Around the Corner”

“Fundamental demands on typography from mass audience at a social level should be the area that contemporary graphic designs shall pay attention to.”



WK2 References:








Fall 2019: Week 3 (Sep 22–29, 2019)


3. Thesis: “East-west/West-east

-1. Why would this be interesting to the Graphic | Design world at large or to other Designers?
East-Asian graphic designers are lack of easy-accessed resources of basic western typography and typesetting. It is unclear for a broader graphic designers base to understand what the fundamental rules are while applying East-Asian typography and English typography. With emergence of great East-Asian designers and influence of Asian
cultures, Western designers start to largely use East-Asian languages in their works while sometimes creating mis-use communications.

- 2. Why does it matter to the designer?
Being a Chinese student trained by systematic western typography, it is truly surprising to know the fact that there is no systematic or largely recognized East-Asian typography typesetting and pedagogy. It will be beneficial to study East-Asian typography as a whole through discovering its typsetting in order to introduce it to western graphic designers and typographers, bridging the gap between the two.

-3. Why is it relevant or timely now?
There are high demands of bilingual or multilingual communications from international companies and brands. But the capability and knowledge of designing with bilingual or multilingual communications are limited and rare.

-4. What does the designer want someone to take away after experiencing it?
To recognize that practically the use of non-Latin typography and Latin typography has been existing for long enough.
To have a fundamental knowledge of what aspects shall pay attentional while using East-Asian typography and English typography.

-5. What research needs to happen?
a. readings on global trading, industrial revolution, languages, communication, East-Asian typography and Western typography.
b. basic survey with designers
c. interview with designers and educators.
d. observations and documentations of existing uses of East-Asian typography and English typography within a specific area/environment/context...etc.


4. Research Methodology





WK3 References:






Fall 2019: Week 4 (Sep 29–Oct 05, 2019)


5. Visualizing Thesis Topic 








Fall 2019: Week 5–14 (Oct 12, 2019–Dec 12, 2019)


6. Research, reading, archiving, design sketching





Archiving Examples






Spring 2020: Week 1–2
(Jan 20th, 2020–Feb 2nd, 2020)


6. Thesis essay writing, archiving, reading, planning, and designing

Discalimer:
“East-West/West-East” is an MFA thesis project with the goal of fundamentally discovering the commonality and unity among Chinese, Korean, and Japanese typography in order to enhance the encountering with Latin Typography specifically English typography. Due to the variety and quantity of existing East-Asian typography, this thesis project is open-ended and cannot cover every inch of this specific typographical realm. But it is willing to contribute to any ongoing studies, conversations, projects, and digital platforms which explores such East-Asian typography topic.

Thesis Statement: 
While in a macro level, notions of globalization and nationalism are shifting in between the two over the time. The encountering across multiple cultures in a micro level, which is in a daily life scenario, is unstoppable. Graphic design and especially typography play the critical part in order to enhance and improve this daily-basis communication. The encountering between East-Asian typography and English typography will be one of the main driven forces. In the meantime, Chinese, Japanese, and Hangul typography shall increase their discussions on East-Asian typographical designs, aesthetic, typesetting, and mass applications in the social context.


Thesis outcome goal:
To fundamentally discuss and introduce East-Asian typography. To initially explore potential mutual references for pairing East-Asian typography and English typography. Experimenting the collective and synthesized East-Asian typography and English typography studies into branding and packaging. 


Tone of Voice 
Neutral but with a sense of humor. 


Initial Production Planning 
 








6. Design explorations







Spring 2020: Week 3–4 
(Feb 3rd, 2020–Feb 16th, 2020)


6. Thesis essay writing, archiving, reading, and planning




Thesis identity & label designing








6. Thesis packaging deliverable research










Spring 2020: Week 5–8 
(Feb 17th, 2020–Mar 15th, 2020)


6. Thesis deliverables designing:
  1. East-Asian Typography reference book
  2. East-Asian Typography process book
  3. thesis conceptual packaging design
  4. poster series
  5. online website
  6. pattern design
  7. shirts & totes






6. Thesis packaging deliverables designing:






Spring 2020: Week 9
(Mar 16th, 2020—March 22nd, 2020)



ArtCenter College of Design has been suspending on-campus classes since March 12th, 2020. All schedules are given one additional week. 








Spring 2020: Week 10 
(Mar 23rd, 2020—March 29th, 2020)



6. Thesis Reference Book “East-Asian Typography Atlas” spread examples:












6. Thesis schedule replanning:



6. Thesis Reference Book “East-Asian Typography Atlas” and Process Book working stations: 






Spring 2020: Week 11
(Mar 29th, 2020—April 4th, 2020)



6. Thesis Reference Book “East-Asian Typography Atlas” spread examples:















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