SomethingMoon is a design studio in Macau and sometimes Taipei. The studio’s output includes beautifully bound books, typographic identities, web design and more. Despite the variety of output, each project is highly refined and crafted with a sense of distinct character. With such a mammoth output, it is surprising to know that SomethingMoon is in fact, only one designer, Ck Chiwai Cheang. Garnering international acclaim for the last ten years from Warsaw’s International Poster Biennale to the Tokyo TDC Annual Awards, Ck’s powerful design output champions independent arts and cultural groups in Macau.
Macau is situated on the South East coast of China. A former colony of the Portuguese Empire, Macau and the rest of the Pearl River Delta metropolitan area is the most densely populated region in the world. Despite this mass of people, Ck is one of the very few book designers in the independent publishing industry in Macau, often working for the local arts groups in the community.
SomethingMoon studio designed the website and printed matter for the 9th Small Theatre Festival, Book Plays earlier this month. The festival has been running since 2010 and each year explores different themes in a new form. This year, the theme was “no master, daily work” and although this phrase is the product of a slight mistranslation, the gist of the theme is centred around typography. The design is centred on the clear and accessible type and framed by a background grid that provides depth to the structure of the sleek strokes of the Chinese characters.
The studio also designed the Macau Drama Yearbook earlier this year. “An integral part of Macao’s cultural memory”, the elegant book places equal emphasis on photography and type. Integrating the text and imagery to form unique compositions that are only possible with Asian language as the characters are based around a quadrilateral format presenting an inherent grid-like structure to their appearance. By comparison, the latin glyph has more diversity in shape with ascenders and descenders creating such a variety of form that this matrix structure does not have quite the same effects.
A recent production at Taipei’s Wellspring Theatre titled The Unnamed III debuted this year with supporting promotional material by Ck. The designs reflect the surreal nature of the production which explores “incognito communication” through the cast of its nine members. The printed material warps Chinese characters with the English translation of the title, developing a strong visual identity that bonds the two languages together. Ck’s original design aesthetic plays with the pictorial balance of the type which acts as a mode of information as well as an intriguing compositional element; a consistent design endeavour from SomethingMoon and a testament to the talents of Ck’s graphic design.
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