Kieu typeface, 2013
A trip to Vietnam in 2012 was the starting point for this project. I was surprised by the Vietnamese street signage that mostly utilized the same colors (red, yellow and blue) and typefaces (especially Cooper Black).
Via conversations with local designers I was informed that most signage in Vietnam are created by small print shops with little or no knowledge of type setting. Furthermore, I was told that Vietnam does not possess a formal education for graphic design and does not even have a word for the practice.
Vietnamese visual culture still possesses references to earlier sociocultural influences such as China, France and Russia who each brought significant visual styles to the country. I wanted to draw attention to this heritage by implementing Chinese calligraphy, French Art Deco and Russian Constructivism into a single typeface.
Most writing about graphic design history is done by Westerners who tend to focus on Western countries as the main actors in the development of graphic design. Asia seems largely overlooked in this context. Through the scope of Vietnamese design history, this project aims to spark a general conversation about Asian graphic design and its place in history.