Zhao Jian

Zhao Jian

Degree: Doctor

Professional Title: Professor

Master Supervisor

Position: Deputy Head of the Department of Visual Communication Design, Academy of Arts and Design, Tsinghua University


Academic Titles:

Member of Alliance Graphique Internationale

Deputy Secretary-General of the Binding Art Committee of the Publishers Association of China


Research Direction:

A. Research on Design Thinking in the Context of Visual Culture

B. Research on the Design of Chinese Books and Its Culture


Academic Proposition:

In essence, the implementation of visual communication is based on the copying of specific texts; visual communication design is to summarize “specific texts” in symbols and is also the selection of certain value and conceptual paradigms. It comes from a variety of information sources or symbolic sources. Definition of "duplication" consists of copying, printing and comprehensive technical means such as digitization and electronization; the meaning of “replica” not just refers to the technical level, but also points to the concept, value and functional paradigms of the more important "symbolic communication."

With the crisis and loss of Chinese culture in the past one hundred years, design subjects have seemingly become over-dependent on technical "adaptation" to dissolve the “gap phobia”. If we do not jump out of the development cycle centered on the psychology of worshiping technology, abuse the priority of discourse given to use by the times and ignore the visual appearance mechanism formed in the past and its modern implications, China’s designs will be unable to enter the portal to modern forms in its true sense and will not likely find the pivot in its undertaking in the information age.

Periodic changes of history make us aware that even today, the dialogue between traditional Chinese culture and modern Western culture, and Eastern civilization and Western civilization will continue. The design and cultural proposition contained in aspects including the situation in China’s early modern design and the formation of its concept, technology and form still has important historical value for the thinking on contemporary design; it maintains a continuous tension between tradition and modernity and past and future.


Course Overview:

His courses include undergraduate courses such a as Typeface Design, Layout Design, Book Design and Poster Design and postgraduate courses in the discipline of Visual Communication Design.


Academic Achievements:

He has published about 20 professional articles, special interviews and academic papers, and one textbook - Ramble in the World of Book Design (co-author). Among them, the important academic papers include: Invisible Structure (Decoration magazine), Cultural Inferiority Complex and Technology Worship Are Restricting China’s Contemporary Book Design (Art Observation magazine), Attempt to Expound the Traditional Paradigm of Chinese Books (Art Observation magazine), Cover Drawing and Cover Pictures: the Early Form of China’s Modern Book Design (Decoration magazine), etc.

In 1997, as a representative from Asia, he was invited to join the World Expo 2000 Hannover, Germany Image Poster Design and Creation Studio; in 2002, he was elected as member of the Team of Professors of the International Training Camp for the Asian Conference of the International Council of Graphic Design Associations (Icograda); in 2004, he was elected as member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI); in 2006, his design works were chosen for the Art Museum of China International Invitational Design Exhibition and five of his poster design works were collected by the Art Museum of China.

Dozens of his art and design works have been widely published in many academic journals, magazines and books at home and abroad. Meanwhile, his design works have won gold awards, silver awards or excellence awards in national professional exhibitions more than ten times. In 2006, he won the Leipzig World's Most Beautiful Book Prize, which is now one of the world's highest honors in the circles of graphic design. In 2010, his personal achievement in design art was incorporated into Meggs' History of Graphic Design. Meggs' History of Graphic Design was first published in 1983 and was praised by the U.S. Joint Publication Association as a milestone in the publishing industry.

Postgraduate projects directed by him: Research on the Mode of System Evolution of Graphs in Visual Communication Design, Ideographic Characteristics of Graphs Represented by Chinese Character Graphs and Their Visual Communication, Research on the Readability of Printed Chinese Characters, Research on the Multi-dimensionalization of the Visual Expression of Graphic Design, and Research on the Relationship Between the Constitutive Characteristics of Chinese Character Strokes and Their Linear Arrangement.


Representative works:

Book Design: Cao Xueqin’s Kite Art won the Leipzig World's Most Beautiful Book prize of 2006

Poster Design: China Wind was the theme poster of \AGI Beijing International Conference

Poster design: Harmony

Poster design: What Can We Do for the Earth was exhibited at Asian Environmental-themed Poster Design Exhibition