Culture ShockJune 22, 2012 No Comments
Believe it or not if you are American you are very used to Graphic Design. American Industry is well known for its cutting edge graphic design, brands such as Nike, Apple, and Budweiser. Since these brands permeate our lives we grow numb to the way graphic design permeates every aspect of our lives. Since we see graphic design everywhere it’s easy to begin to take it for granted. It’s only after you encounter graphic design of other cultures that you realize how varied graphic design can truly be.
While I was a student at Truman State University one of our professors worked to bring in a display of Chinese Graphic Design to our art gallery. It was an interesting display, but quite different from the graphic design I was used to. The design was very bright and colorful focusing on intricate graphics, and saturated colors. As an American viewer I found the design rather off-putting being too busy, and bright. I understood how it would attract attention, which is indeed one of the needs of graphic design, but I thought it wouldn’t be able to hold an audiences’ attention. In looking at the design for any length of time, I found that my eyes had nowhere to rest, and the colors began to distract from the message.
This isn’t to say that Chinese graphic design is inferior to American design. In thinking about it later, I realized that bright colorful graphics make sense in China’s vast urban areas. Since the audience is constantly surrounded by advertisements it is important to be as loud as possible in order to get your message out. A more understated American-based design would probably fail completely, unable to grab anyone’s attention.
It is fascinating the way our cultures affect the way we create. I wish I knew more about Chinese culture simply so that I could spin this thread a little longer, and get into the fine details of what differentiates our graphic design from theirs. Have you, our readers, visited any other cultures? If so we’d love to hear how their graphic design differs from ours, and why you think that is.
As always all opinions expressed in this article do not reflect the opinions held by TriLeaf Designs. I’m also sad to announce that this will be my last blog. It’s been fun writing for all of you!
Written by: Zach Gatliff