AIZI / AI字 / 爱字: Artificial Intelligence and Chinese Type Design

Join us and learn about AIZI, an ECAL-EPFL joint research project aiming to foster a richer type design environment for the Chinese script with the help of artificial intelligence.

Among the world’s scripts, Chinese is the one with the biggest number of first-language users. However, the number of existing Chinese fonts available is extremely small in comparison. This is largely due to technical limitations. In digital typography, a set of Hanzi includes around 6,763 commonly used glyphs, whereas a comparable set in Latin script would consist in full caps, along with a few punctuation signs, so around 40 glyphs. Creating a Chinese typeface represents a considerable investment that prevents individuals from entering the fields and the exploration of graphically experimental shapes. In effect, it is an obstacle to creativity.


AIZI stands for “Artificial Intelligence Chinese Character”. It can also be written as AI字 or even 爱字. It is a joint research project between Master Type Design at ECAL (University of Art and Design Lausanne) and Computer Vision Lab at EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne) to help the creation of Chinese digital typefaces with the use of artificial intelligence. The aim of AIZI is to help give rise to a richer type of design environment for the Chinese script. The project has finished its first step toward its goal and established a website proposing a database of 90,000 entries which decomposes Chinese characters into radicals and components.

Swissnex in China is pleased to organize two events on the topic of utilizing AI in Chinese type design.


On 27 November, 2021, at Juanzong Books, we will host an event co-organized with ECAL and Juanzong Books. Matthieu Cortat, Head of Master Type Design at ECAL, will give a brief introduction to AIZI. Then, Shuhui Shi, a researcher for AIZI project, will delve deeper into how the project would develop an artificial intelligence algorithm that can automatically generate Chinese typefaces based on less than 500 basic characters. Then, Chinese type designers ZHENG Chuyang and Di Tao will share their experience in this field, as well as their thoughts on how to create a richer type design environment for the Chinese script.


On 5 December, 2021, at “Art & Design Education: FutureLab”, Matthieu Cortat and Shuhui Shi will join us again for a second event. In addition to introducing AIZI, Matthieu will delve deeper into the type of design education offered at ECAL.


Please see below for more details about each event.

November 27, 2021

Time:                14:30-16:00 (China) / 07:30-09:00 (Switzerland)

Location:          UCCA Edge, 2F, No. 88 Xizang Bei Lu, Jing’an District, Shanghai, China

Language:        English and Chinese, with interpreter on-site

Format:             Hybrid

Cost:                 Free

Registration (both onsite/online): Click here



* Live broadcasting via Zoom 14:30-16:00 (China) / 07:30-09:00 (Switzerland)

14:30-14:35 / 07:30-07:35                Welcome Speech by Cissy Sun, Head of Art-Science at Swissnex in China

14:35-14:45 / 07:35-07:45                 Presentation by Matthieu Cortat, Head of Master Type Design at ECAL

14:45-15:10 / 07:45-08:10                  Presentation by Shuhui Shi, Graphic and Type Designer

15:10-15:30 / 08:10-08:30                 Presentation by ZHENG Chuyang, Cofounder, 3type & Mallikātype

15:30-15:50 / 08:30-08:50                Presentation by Di Tao, Type Designer, Monotype

15:50-16:00 / 08:50-09:00               Q&A

December 5, 2021

Time:                   15:00-16:00 (China) / 08:00-09:00 (Switzerland)

Location:             Art & Design Education: FutureLab @ West Bund Dome (2350 Longteng Avenue, Xuhui District, Shanghai)

* Please follow the venue’s latest preventative measures for COVID-19

Language:           English and Chinese

Format:               On-site

Cost:                   Free lecture; ticket required to enter West Bund Dome to participate in all FutureLab events. Ticketing info: click here

Registration:      Click here



15:00-15:05 / 08:00-08:05                    Welcome Speech by Cissy Sun, Head of Art-Science at Swissnex in China

15:05-15:25 / 08:05-08:25                     Presentation by Matthieu Cortat, Head of Master Type Design at ECAL

15:25-15:50 / 08:25-08:50                     Presentation by Shuhui Shi, Graphic and Type Designer

15:50-16:00 / 08:50-09:00                    Q&A Session





ECAL/University of Art and Design Lausanne

ECAL/University of Art and Design Lausanne

Featuring regularly among the world’s top ten universities of art and design (fifth in the Dezeen Hot List 2016), ECAL benefits from numerous press articles and awards, an enviable number of exhibitions in famous venues, and the success of its graduates. ECAL currently offers a Foundation Course, six Bachelor, and seven Master/MAS programs in the fields of Fine Arts, Film, Graphic Design, Media & Interaction Design, Photography, Industrial & Product Design, Type Design, Design for Luxury & Craftsmanship, and Design Research for Digital Innovation (with EPFL+ECAL Lab).



Art and Design Education: FutureLab

Art and Design Education: FutureLab

Founded in 2019, Art and Design Education: FutureLab (hereinafter referred to as FutureLab) brings together world-leading art and design colleges and universities, focusing on the innovative practices and latest challenges of today’s education. FutureLab is an international exchange platform for teachers, students, scholars and institutions in the field of art and design.

This year, the 3rd edition of FutureLab will run from November 28 to December 5, 2021, at West Bund Dome, Shanghai with several sections, including College Show, “Ambition!” Degree Show, Deans’ Talk, Themed Forum and Workshops. By creating unique and innovative on-site teaching and learning scenes, FutureLab invites the audience to communicate directly with the professors and students of worldwide prestigious universities.


Juanzong Books

Juanzong Books @ UCCA Edge, Shanghai

Juanzong Books is committed to become the most effective architectural and cultural base in China. We are calling for architects and scholars around the globe, as well as independent architectural and academic publishers, to bring forth a cluster of architectural bookstores in China. By collaborating with brands and organizations, it aims to provide quality content on architecture for the industry and the public. The forums, activities and exhibitions that continue to cooperate with aca-demic institutions and commercial brands throughout the year let Juanzong Books rapidly grow into a diverse collection of architectural communities with cultural output and community appeal.