Robert L. Peters

18 November 2012

Yu Bingnan | A 50-year Retrospective

Beijing, China

In mid-October, the Academy of Arts & Design, Tsinghua University hosted a 50-year retrospective exhibition featuring the work and distinguished career of my good friend (and former Icograda board colleague) Professor Yu Bingan. Widely known as “the godfather of Chinese type” and “a pioneer of visual communication design in China,” Bingnan has had an interesting and prolific career as both a designer and a design educator.

Originally from Shanghai, Bingnan moved to Wuxi at a young age to escape political turbulence. After initially attending Lu Xun Art Academy in Yan’an, he moved to Europe for six years and continued his studies at the Leipzig College of Graphic Design and Book Art, in what was then East Germany (it’s by dent of this that Bingnan and I can communicate in German, as I am practically illiterate in Mandarin).

Since 1962 he has been a lecturer at the Academy of Arts & Design, Tsinghua University (the former Central Academy of Arts & Design) and from 1985 to 1990 he served director of the Book Art Department. Bingnan has served for decades as an international design juror for arts & design competitions, his works have won distinctive international and national prizes, and he has published numerous articles and books on design theory. Bingnan became the first Chinese member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI), he served as a vice president of Icograda (2001-2003), and he continues to represent Icograda in China as a special liaison and through active promotion of Chinese graphic design associations.

Read an interview with Professor Yu Bingnan here; view more images from the retrospective exhibition here.

Among the artifacts on display at the retrospective was this newspaper article from 2009, when the Icograda World Design Congress was held in Beijing.

(Thanks to Sophia Shih for sending me the images for this post).

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