AIZI / AI字 / 爱字: Artificial Intelligence and Chinese Type Design
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
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
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
Matthieu CortatHead of Master Type Design, ECAL (University of Art and Design Lausanne)
Matthieu Cortat is a Swiss/French type designer, working in both fields of retail fonts (distributed by 205 Type Foundry) and custom typography, with clients such as Caran d’Ache, the Fondation Louis Vuitton, the City of Lausanne or the Terminal Four of JFK Airport in New York. Since 2016, he is the Head of the Master Type Design at ECAL, a programme that gives students a privileged access to one of the flagship disciplines in Swiss graphic design. He was in charge of the supervision of the AIZI project.
Shuhui ShiGraphic and Type Designer
Shuhui Shi is a graphic and type designer based in Hangzhou, China. She is always interested in the research and projects about Chinese culture and Hanzi. In 2016, she graduated from China Academy of Art and her graduation design, New Pictographic Hanzi, won the highest honor – Chongli Art Prize. In 2019, she obtained her diploma from ECAL MA Type Design with distinction excellence by her diploma work AIZI. She worked as a researcher at ECAL supported by RCDAV, and used to teach at School of Design and Innovation, China Academy of Art.
ZHENG ChuyangCo-founder, 3type & Mallikātype
ZHENG Chuyang is a Chinese type designer but with a great passion for multi-script and multi-lingual typography. Chuyang received his MA in Design from Dessau Bauhaus. Since then he has been working in design industries in Germany, China and other regions. He is a co-founder of Mallikātype now, where he focus on developing original Chinese typeface with high quality.
Di TaoType Designer, Monotype Studio
Tao is a Type Designer at the Monotype Studio in Shanghai and started his career at an ad agency. During that period, he got attracted to the magic of fonts and started learning type design by himself, then Tao worked at Founder Type, where he participated in dozens of Chinese font design and font customization projects.
During his spare time, Tao educates himself in the type design of other languages, including Latin, Kana and even Mongolian. He was the finalist at the Morisawa Type Design Competition 2019.
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
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 @ 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.