The Republican Period in China from 1912 to 1949 was very important for the development and reform of Chinese book design, because it marked a beginning to the exploration of modern concepts and new national styles. An increase in private presses and the formation of the book design profession was also seen during this period. To distinguish and decode the signatures of early modern book designers is difficult and important work in the research of the history of Chinese graphic design and visual culture.
How did these new publishing houses and early modern designers think about the signature issues? Did the publishing houses allow their resident designers to sign their design on the book? What kind of names, initials, figures, styles and layouts did these designers use for their signatures on the book covers? These minor details play key roles in the investigation and understanding of some concepts and attitudes about tradition, modernity, Westernization, national identity, intellectual property, artistic personality, design aesthetics, and the specialization of book design by the designers, publishers, authors, readers and the public.
These issues will be discussed by Dr. Yuan Xiyang a visiting scholar in Parsons department of Art and Design History and Theory as well as the Bard Graduate Center.
Dr. Yuan Xiyang is a professor of design history and design theory in the Design College, Nanjing University of the Arts, in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China. He has been a visiting scholar in the Department of Design History, Royal College of Art. From 2004 to 2005, he was a British Academy Research Fellow at the Department of Art and Archaeology, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. His research focuses on Chinese style, themes and elements in Western design and decorative arts since the Arts and Crafts Movement and the Aesthetic Movement, particularly the period of Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Post-modernism.