Shi Zhenxing aka Liu Bai is a graphic design renegade when it comes to branding

Shi Zhenxing aka Liu Bai is a graphic design renegade when it comes to branding

In another project for L3branding, Liu Bai was tasked to work on the identity for Jetlag books, a bookstore located in Beijing Sanlitun’s core commercial district that’s also home to a mix of lifestyle, travel, art and design stores. In this project, Liu Bai plus his boss and the owner of the book store, worked to a flexible brief and therefore tested out all possibilities for the design. The outcome is a stretched, spliced and warped depiction of the bookstore’s name, Jetlag; “a combination of words that are not visually ‘neat’,” says Liu Bai. However, despite the ‘J’, ’t’, ‘l’ and ‘g’ extending into different negative spaces, the lettering works utterly in the brand’s favour as each is pulled across the various iterations of the brand – the packaging, signage and printed materials. “We took advantage of this feature to fully stretch the letters to divide different sections neatly, symbolising different time zones,” adds Liu Bai, stating how the sky-tinted colour palettes further emphasised this. “The height and weight of the words are full of time and rhythm changes, and the lines stretched lengthwise look like bound edges and pages.”

The third project that Liu Bai pulls out with great significance is one recently completed for a music education institution, Cadd9. Having learned through his research that most institutions of this kind are somewhat “conventional”, Liu Bai decided to work up a different aesthetic. This was achieved by visualising Cadd9, which is “one of the most common chords in music” and makes up a “C major triad with an additional note of D.” By looking at the method of handwriting music chords – by using the chord tone of ‘3512′ – this inspired the design of the logo. “In other words, Cadd9 is a symbol that already speaks for itself in numerous ways, like 1523, 1325 and so on; putting its chord tone in different orders would create different colours and sounds.” The entire identity appears unified and representative of its music-inspired context, which is at once dynamic, but equally embellished and rhythmic.

Evidently, Liu Bai has gone beyond the expected when it comes to creating work for brands. He knows how to work a brief and twist it into something original, making sure to adhere to the brand and construct an identity that’s devised from its core values. Next up, he admits that he has a “couple of big cases” on his hands, and, like his previous projects, he hopes there will be plenty more room to play and experiment.

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