Hey, look at you with your Chinese tattoo. Aren’t you exotic? You must be well-travelled. In touch with your spiritual side. Just so fucking cool. Shame your “wisdom and patience” tatt actually translates to “all-night noodles”. Oh well, at least the characters are attractive, even if the message got a little bit lost in translation. That’s really the point of those tattoos anyway isn’t it? The ancient Chinese characters (known as Hanzi) are beautifully intricate even when – or perhaps especially when – they are decontextualised. Other Asian cultures boast gorgeous calligraphic languages too, such as Japan (Kanji), and Korea (Hanja), and the world of graphic design has not been slow to recognise their aesthetic appeal.
Hanzi Kanji Hanja: Graphic & Logo Design with Contemporary Chinese Characters is a exceptionally pretty book looking at more than 100 great examples of Asian language characters being presented in innovative ways. The nature of the scripts, with their variety of components from short stabs to long flowing strokes, and the complex geometry of the shapes they contain, lend themselves perfectly to re-interpretation and decorative embellishment. The 272 page full colour edition is available from publisher victiona:ary.