chineasy visual language illustrations by noma bar + shao lan chineasy visual language illustrations by noma bar + shao lan
apr 29, 2013

chineasy visual language illustrations by noma bar + shao lan

‘chineasy’ visual language illustrations by noma bar + shao lan‘mouth’ characterimage courtesy noma bar



taiwanese artist shao lan has developed ‘chineasy’, a method which allows non-chinese readers to learn the written language by understanding the basic letter-form and meaning in a visual manner. once a few groups of primary cornerstone chinese characters known as radicals can be recognized, users are then able to combine the symbols and easily learn dozens of additional shapes and expressions.


by repeating this ‘recognize and combine’ process , one can quickly learn several hundred characters in a surprisingly short time. shao lan collaborated with london-based design firm brave new world and israeli illustrator noma bar to create eight different basic radicals, then expanded by integrating them into pictographic stories. for more information on the initiative, visit the ‘chineasy’ website, to see other vocabulary combinations and variations.



‘mountain’ characterimage courtesy noma bar



‘moon’ characterimage courtesy noma bar



‘tree’ characterimage courtesy noma bar



at sunrise, a young person went walking in the woodsimage courtesy noma bar



but wherever he went, fires started around him



soon, the whole forest was burningimage courtesy noma bar



as punishment, the gods ordered him to go to the holy mountain and remain there as a prisoner for the rest of his lifeimage courtesy noma bar



the flames around him got hotter and hotter until eventually the mountain erupted into a volcanoimages courtesy noma bar



the endimages courtesy noma bar



h/t wired

  • nice 😀

    ivan says:
  • It’s great to see such an incredible creativity coming out of China right now! Chinese designers have a knack for being able to modernize all aspects of their history, whether it is product or graphic design. One thing that make Chinese design so distinctive is that heritage is a deeply intertwined part of Chinese design in all facets. You can read more about how space and furniture design has actually deeply intertwined with my heritage here

    Stephany Zoo says:
  • Where can I find an illustrated book teaching the full range of this method?

    Don Shea says:
  • Chineasy book that is.

    Don Shea says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.

(6 articles)


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

design news