Urbanist Hanoi

Back Arts & Culture » Culture » [Pictograms] Chinese-German Graphic Designer Captures What Happens When East Meets West

When she was 13, Yang Liu moved from China to Germany. Ever since, the graphic designer has been learning to navigate the myriad differences that exist between eastern and western culture.

In her book East Meets West, released in 2007 in Germany, Liu manages to capture the dichotomy between her two cultures in pictures, reports Slate

Drawing from her own personal experience growing up in Berlin, Liu depicts in bright, bold graphics – blue for the west, red for the east – the many ways in which each culture differs in its values and ways of thinking.

“There were countless times when I was variously confused, surprised, annoyed and shocked, or when I simply had to laugh,” Liu writes in the book's introduction. “Only years later was I able to see and understand many of these situations from both sides.”

Once the images were published in German, Liu's illustrations became caught up in a whirlwind of internet coverage, spreading her personal diary of cultural differences to the world. In an interview with NotCot, Liu noted that the public reaction to her work has been largely positive. In fact, the designs grew so popular that Liu released an English-language version of East Meets West, which is currently available on Amazon. Liu's pictograms have now been exhibited in 20 countries and continue to earn Liu speaking engagements and a steady stream of press coverage.

“With my personal visual diary, I hope to help other people avoid some of the stumbling blocks to communication between cultures and make it easier for them to arrive at the essence of communication – the exchange between individuals – as far as possible without misunderstandings,” the designer writes in her book.

Take a look for yourself and see if you can find some truth in Liu's depictions of east and west:

[Pictograms via Taschen, CNN]

Related Articles: 

- Hanoi Postcard No 1: Hom Fabric Market

- New Digital Typeface L'Hanoienne Preserves Classic Hanoi Hand-Painted Fonts

- [Illustrations] Local Artists Bring Vietnam's Eclectic Shopfronts to Life