Beijing Typography 2009

Theme: Typography, Unity with New Life

In 1928, in his book entitled The New Typography, Jan Tschichold wrote "Unity of life: the arbitrary isolation of a part is no longer possible for us - every part belongs to and harmonizes with the whole. Where slackness is still the rule, we must make it our work to fight against laziness, envy, and narrow-mindedness. Typography too must now make itself part of all the other fields of creativity."

Almost a century has passed, yet we are still able to sense a similar freshness and eclecticism in our current digitalized age. Typography as a tool for information communication not only engages traditional mediums (such as books and posters), but is also permeating into new mediums such as space, interactive media and motion graphics. Contemporary typography demonstrates new possibilities, both in terms of words and images, and form and concept. Designers are adhering to the traditional, whilst looking forward to the unexpected. As a result, various understandings of and discussions on typography have started to emerge.

Chinese characters, for example, symbolize both word and image, indicating sound and meaning. In its five thousand-year history as a language system that incorporates pictograms, ideograms and phonograms, the Chinese language has evolved into a highly sophisticated writing culture, illustrated by the creation of the first form of (wood-based) printing. Furthermore, the idea of calligraphy as a "sophisticated art" has influenced many countries worldwide. Over the last 30 years, however, a new set of technological difficulties have been confronted and overcome, including the migration from traditional writing and mechanical systems to a digitalized one.

Blessed with their rich typographic history, designers are simultaneously confronted with many problems. For instance, what does typography mean in the face of the technological and socio-cultural transformations of today? Can anyone become a designer when equipped with computer technologies and digitized type? In what ways has new life affected typography and designers?

To showcase the research and international efforts of the past couple of years, as well as the re-thinking of the complex nature of typographic art, we cordially invite you to participate in bt'09, an exhibition founded on the theme of "Typography, Unity with New Life."

This will be the most influential and largest graphics exhibition to take place in China to date. We hope that, through this visual design exchange between different cultures and languages, the Chinese language will be able to inspire a contemporary visual expressiveness informed by a cultural richness.

Organizing Committee Constructure

Wang Min (China), Ahn Sang-soo (Korea), Helmut Schmid (Germany),
Jan Van Toorn (Holland), Huda Smitshuijzen Abifares (Lebanon),
David Small (USA), Wang Xu (China), Lv Jing-ren (China), Wang Ziyuan (China)


The exhibition will be held at the Central Academy of Fine Arts' newly established Art Museum - CAFA Art Museum. Designed by the Japanese architect Arata Isozaki, the museum was completed in 2007 and boastsa space of more than 20,000 m².


The exhibition will take place on Oct. 26 – Nov. 26, 2009. A publication will be launched at the exhibition; this will also be posted to participating designers. A national tour of exhibitions will be organized following the exhibition in Beijing.

Submissions Guidelines

1. Submissions may be of any type. We especially welcome original artwork in poster or book format but digital files are also accepted. These will be printed according to bt'09 exhibition rules or participant suggestions.
NOTE: All work collected by bt'09 will be by your generous contribution and will NOT be returned. A works-collection certificate will be sent outto each participant, along with the exhibition publication.

2. New media artworks, such as interactive design and motion graphics, are encouraged. Digital equipment, such as computers, DVD players, projectors, screens etc. can be provided if necessary. Please indicate whether there are any additional requirements for displaying work.

3. all participant will receive a submission form and Q&A paper which will be used for the display and publication of bt'09. please fulfill these and send back by email or fax, it is important.

4. A black & white portrait and a brief English biography (approximately 200 words), is also required. The portrait should be 5x5cm in size, witha minimum resolution of 300dpi.

5. Deadline for submission is 15 Sept. Please send a checklist of items for exhibition prior to shipping them to Beijing.


For any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us via e-mail: bt09@beijing2009.org, or fax: +86 10 6477 1096.

Time: 2009.10.24 -11.15
Venue: CAFA Art Museum