A common denominator that runs throughout is Wang’s love of function and form. His mission, so to speak, is to search for possibilities in Chinese characters and multilingual environments that are “logical and widely integrated with commercial cases,” he notes. This includes publications, which he’ll use to speak to consumers and raise awareness of the potential of typography. “When I entered the design industry in the late 90s, my initial goal was to provide the market with more quality products that would make typography a valuable element to consumers,” he continues. “Years later, even though the design environment in Taiwan has changed, and the emphasis on typography has increase each year, the idea continues to drive me forward.”
Clever, minimalist and often shrouded in detailed considerations – the sort that goes amiss in the first observation – Wang’s new portfolio is as intricate as ever. Only this time, culture, history and context plays a much bigger role. In Praise of Shadows, for instance, the third book he’s designed for Junichiro Tanizaki. A “masterpiece” for understanding Japanese aesthetics, Wang wanted to bridge the gap between the reader and the content – “both old and new readers, in the East and the West,” he shares. “The atmosphere is particularly important at this moment, when it is necessary to keep a safe distance from traditional impressions and not to be completely influenced by the temporal context.” In this regard, Wang uses a structural mix of lines and type as a nod to the Japanese “spatial contours”, conceived in a monotone palette of grey and black and emphasised in dark paper. This allows the reader to “immediately enter the dark space”, to “feel the texture” and make new discoveries through the subtle markings, and hints of light and shadow.
The typographic form might not be the first thing you notice in Wang’s work, or maybe it is; either way, it plays an integral role in all of his projects whatever the brief or outcome. “I want the viewer to feel that, even though the text is not the focus of the image, it is still recognised as an essential and important part.”