Old wave: symbols for the post-80s generation in China

Yi, Jingwei
Ho, King Tong
Gilderdale, Peter
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Master of Art and Design
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Auckland University of Technology

This project aims to explore the possibility of employing vintage symbols from the 80s China to inform contemporary Chinese design practice. Born in the eighties, and so belonging to what is commonly called the Post-80s generation1 , my childhood memories of China’s vintage symbols form the primary resources of this research project.

The research addresses these two questions: What is the ideology of the Post-80s? How can one explore the visual identity of this group through referencing the ideology of the Post-80s?

Through researching the characteristics of this generation, and referencing vintage objects which are unforgettable to the Post-80s, I intend to revive some of them for contemporary Chinese graphic design application. The research works towards a new visual approach by reshaping the Chinese aesthetic of these vintage symbols to form a new visual representation of the Post-80s.

The project starts by investigating the ideology of the Post-80s that allows me to establish my own view of the visual and cultural characteristics of vintage symbols of the 80s. This paves the way to unfold the potential of sketching or drawing with ball pens of blue and red colours that were a common drawing tool in my childhood. I also evaluate the structure of the Tangram game to connect with my childhood drawing and to shape the visual language as the design research. The creative output of the practice-based research is presented in a booklet publication that synthesises the design application of the blue and red visual language. The content of the booklet is based upon my research into the characteristics of the Post-80s that are influenced by the globalised Western thoughts to represent the contemporary values and visual identity of the Post-80s. At the same time, I strive to develop further my own identity as a graphic designer.

Ideology of the post-80s generation , Childhood memory of the post-80s , Chinese vintage symbols
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