The China Effect: Part 1

Sorry about being lazy about the updates.
I’m trying to tighten the leash a bit, and going to update every sunday with something.
Could be new designs or old photos or just some rants.
These days I don’t finish almost anything, so I’ll be posting more sketches and unfinished works.

This time I’ll post some pictures I came up with on my trip to China last month. In the abstinence of a decent computer, Illustrator and a Wacom I had to trust the old-fashioned analogue techniques. The detachment from my social life, home, country, and even culture, made my mind race. I had to filter every alien stimulus that attacked all my senses at any given time in that country – no, continent – and to detach my mind from that mess, and I learned it simply by drawing.
Creativity also made my mind find new neural pathways to handle old problems which had been haunting me.

Actually, it wasn’t until Beijing, our last destination, that I started drawing. Until that, I just had to swallow all the alien things and experiences in that strange country. I started drawing a streetplan, which I will tell about later.

In our first hostel in Beijing, there were no colors in the double faucets, just white caps with chinese pictograms, so I had to test which was hot or cold. That made me wonder which could be the most simple and universal ideogram for hot and cold.
Well, everyone has seen the Sun, and everyone know that’s hot.
So then cold. An icecube isn’t really an ideogram, so you have to get more simple. Like a snowflake.
I thought about making the symbols as simple as I could, and in the end I came up with these.


So I guess all it takes to make a reference to temperatures is a ball or a hexagon with radiating lines. One can always argue, will certain cultures understand what a snowflake is, but I guess they won’t have a concept for coldness anyway.


Nice icons, they do seem pretty universal. Snowflakes are of course not common in all of the world, but in general yellow orange is a warm color (sun, fire) and blue is a cool color (shade, night, water, opposite orange), so it should work. The sharp points on the warm water icon could also communicate the possible pain of hot water.

Btw, you might be interested in this article on typographical logos for towns and wards in Japan:

posted by zzorn on 09.24.09 at 11:48

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