Chen Nan

Degree: Master of Art

Professional Title: Associate Professor

Graduate Supervisor

Title: Class Advisor (since 1996)

Team leader of the graphic design group of graduation design since 2009


Academic Titles:

Director of the Research Institute of Graphic Design System Development of the Academy of Arts and Design of Tsinghua University

Member of the China Artists Association

Director of Beijing Industrial Design Centre

Member of Design Committee of the 6th and 7th China Package Association

Columnist of MILK New Trends, HK magazine


Research Direction:

1. Research and Application of Rhythm Design Thoughts

2. Visual Communication & Cross-media Design


Academic Proposition:

1. Research and Application of Rhythm Design Thoughts

Starting with the research and practice in the artistic design of oracle bone inscriptions and Dongba characters in 1998, Chen Nan has been focusing on and carrying out in-depth research over the design thoughts and methodology of rhythm (i.e. the format and rules of upfront design), such as thinking models of supergraph restructuring, symbolic deduction, system level, etc. He proposed the academic concept of “rhythm design” for the first time in 2004, published relevant papers and applied the research results in teaching and practice, and the lecture notes of which have also been published. “Rhythm design” is sourced from the thinking on poetry creation. Word rhythm is the basic rules for upfront design while rhetoric creation is the re-creation on such a basis. Contemporary education of artistic design usually emphasizes aspects such as the elements, forms, types, genres and historical features, but does not involve much of the relevant thinking pattern and methods, particularly practical research through combining such research and contemporary design. Furthermore, it lacks pre-creation research on the design methodology of the format and rules of upfront design while emphasizing formal issues such as visual aesthetics. This research project is designed to change the situation, aiming at address such problems as focusing only on formal inheritance, paying little attention to the purposes and methods of design, and learning from the tradition while divorcing from the design practices. The evaluation of contemporary design should not only be concerned about visual aesthetics, but also research on the basic framework supporting the design format and the upfront design of format and rules, aiming to develop a new design approach.

2. Visual Communication & Cross-medium Design

The reason for renaming decorative design as design of visual communication lies in that the major is no longer limited by design platform, craft, format and medium; the rational and effective expression of visual symbols has become the keyword; and as a result, visual symbols based on cross-media design has become an irresistible trend in the area of visual communication. By participating in the creation of Beijing Olympics mascot and the management of the design of licensed products of the Beijing Olympics, Chen Nan commenced the research and practice of cross-media design in graphic design system, established the Research Institute of Graphic Design System Development, participated in the development, design and management of the licensed products of domestic and overseas large-scale activities and entities such as London Olympic Games, Singapore Youth Olympic Games, the Swiss Olympic Museum, World Expo, the Palace Museum at Beijing and the National Palace Museum at Taipei, and developed a set of comprehensive models and methods on design development and design management, which have been applied in the design practice and teaching work.


Academic Achievements:

Chen Nan, engaged in the teaching, research and practice of the design of visual communication, mainly lectures on the specialized courses in the design of visual communication for undergraduates and graduates. Since becoming a teacher, he has accomplished hundreds of design projects, published 19 books, 31 papers and more than 70 articles, and won 22 national awards and 5 international awards.

1. Exploration and Research of Pattern Teaching and Visual Expression

Pattern teaching was once an important fundamental course in China’s design teaching. However, the birth of new terms and concepts such as “design, composition, graphics...” gave birth to a relatively chaotic situation characterized by the hybrid of different teaching systems. By fully exploiting the ever-brilliant pattern teaching and the teaching of the design basis of various schools, the research attempts to exploit a teaching system of more individualized and practically operational, and gradually integrates them into a design curriculum of comprehensive visual performance. Professor Chen has sequentially compiled and published Teaching of Pattern Design (Jiangxi Fine Arts Publishing House), Principles and Training on Decorative Pattern Design (Tsinghua University Press), and is currently working on the compilation of Visual Expression (Hubei Fine Arts Publishing House). In 2009, he was temporarily transferred to the commanding headquarters of the masses parade of the National Day activities in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the P.R.C in Beijing, serving as a member of the expert group of the headquarters to preside over the design of the background pattern of the Tian’anmen Square, and participate in the design of the parade floats and “56 national columns”.

2. Research and Creation of Chinese Characters and Dongba Characters

This research project includes oracle bone inscriptions, bronze inscriptions and Dongba characters, and is an attempt to design ancient characters characterized by the rhythm thinking and the spirit of the times, to enable the young generation and the audience of different cultures to accept the traditional Chinese culture more readily. Launched in 2001, this project has created the concept character library of oracle bone inscriptions and bronze inscriptions and relevant works for popularization, which have won many high-level awards at domestic and overseas important exhibitions. Among them, Technical Review Agency of Japanese Co., Ltd. published Dongba Writing on Love and Friendship in Japan based on the concept design of Dongba characters (font bank and software). Chen Nan has published Concept Design of Dongba Characters and Concept Design of Oracle Bone Inscriptions on Decoration magazine, participated in the 2005 “Multilateral Joint Talks – Issues on the Design of Chinese Characters in a Digital Circumstance”, and lectured on the relevant topics on Chinese Characters Font Seminar 2005 sponsored by the Founder Group. In cooperation with the State Language Commission and the State Office of Chinese Characters in 2005, he developed the new fonts of “oracle bone inscriptions, bronze inscriptions” and participated in the popularization of them.

4. Research and Teaching of the Theory of Advertising Design:

After studying in advertising communication in Japan since 2002, Professor Chen started to undertake the teaching of specialized theory courses in advertising design, and compiled and prepared the relevant teaching materials, including Introduction to Visual Communication, Communication in General, Advertisement Psychology, Advertisement Art in General, etc., which realizes the combination of theory and practice in the teaching of advertising design and improves the teaching structure.

5. Research and Practice of Logo Design and Brand Design

Professor Chen has been engaged in the exploration and practice of logo design all the time, summarized a relatively consummate teaching courseware, published monographs of Concept and Practice of Logo Design and Logo Color and the paper of Corporate Identity and Construction of Brand Value, and summarized the new concept on the brand identity “evolution”. In order to assist Tsinghua University in the implementation of the key project under the Tenth Five-Year Plan of “Key Technologies and Demonstration Projects”, he cooperated with the School of Continuing Education of Tsinghua University in the development of the course under the network school demonstration project of courseware Logo Design, and carried out the network-based demonstration teaching.

6. Research on the Development and Design of Graphic Design Centered Product System

By participating in the creation of Beijing Olympic mascot and the management of the product development, Chen Nan started the research and practice of extending design in graphic design system, established a relevant research institute and undertook the development, design, advising and approval of the licensed products of domestic and overseas large-scale activities and entities. He published papers on core journals such as Decoration magazine, took part in interviews such as The Process of Olympic Games and World Artistic Design, Interview with Graphic Designer Chen Nan, The Story of Coca-Cola Bottle and Olympics. He co-founded the project for integral design of “Collected Choice Calligraphy and Painting in the Cross-strait Palace Museums” for Shanghai EXPO, participated in the development of licensed products of London Olympic Games, the Swiss Olympic Museum and The First Singapore Youth Olympic Games, and the design for the cultural products for the Beijing Palace Museum.


Current Researches:

Chen is currently undertaking design practice projects such as the design of licensed products of the Beijing Palace Museum, the visual system design for the Oil Painting Art Gallery of the Imperial College Museum and China Asian International Stamp Exhibition 2011, compiling teaching materials such as Visual Expression, Book of Fun for Designers (Hubei Fine Arts Publishing House) and Logo and Visual Identity System (Liaoning Fine Arts Publishing House) and monograph Design Thinking and Methodology (Hubei Fine Arts Publishing House);


Course Overview:

Undergraduate courses: Visual Expression, Design Thinking and Methodology, Logo Design, Poster Design, Advertisement Art in General, etc.; Graduate courses: Thinking and Methodology of Visual Communication Design


Awards Overview (since 1999):

Chen Nan won the title of honor of “Guanghua Dragon Awards - 2008 (the fourth) China Design Industry Top Ten Outstanding Youth” issued by the China Guanghua Foundation of the Committee of the Communist Youth League of China and had Chinese Rhythm Design View exhibited on the 11th National Artworks Exhibition in 2009; won the special award of the 2008 China Innovative Design Red Star Award Olympic Design in 2008; won the Prize of Excellence of Japan TDC International Design Contest in 2004; won the Prize of Excellence of IDN International Design Competition in 2002; won the Prize of Excellence of the 10th National Art Exhibition for Art and Science and Oracle - Six Senses in 2004; won the golden prize of Tsinghua’s Academy of Arts and Design Artworks Exhibition for Oracle - Six Senses, which was then exhibited in Japan in 2003; won the best design award of the logo and commodity category of “2002 China Star” in 2002; won the third prize of 2001 China International Computer Art Competition for Poster on Ancient Science and Technology Area – Oracle Bone Inscription in 2001; won the Prize of Excellence in Science and Art International Art Exhibition for poster Art and Science – Wood, which was then exhibited at China Contemporary Poster Design Exhibition, Philadelphia, U.S.A in 2002; exhibited 2000 Years of China — Constellations at the 9th National Fine Arts Exhibition in 1999; won the integral design award of the 6th National Book Binding Art Exhibition in 2004.


Common Awards:

Chen won the excellence award and the third prize of “Solicitation of Logos for Tsinghua University Centennial Ceremony” for School Centennial Ceremony Logo in 2009; won the prize of excellent design of the 1st National Master of Fine Arts Exhibition in 2008; won the second prize of “2008 Tsinghua University Outstanding Teaching Materials” of Tsinghua University for Logo Design in 2008; won the bronze prize of the 3rd Exhibition of Works by Teachers from the Academy of Arts and Design of Tsinghua University for Dongba Characters in 2004; won the Prize of Excellent Design of “2002 China Star” Symbol Design Contest for China Supply and Marketing Cooperatives/Relay Press in 2002; and won the design prize of “IGD 2000 China Excellent Enterprises Brand Image” in 2001.