Student Week: Yi Mao's East-West/West-East Conceptual Packaging

by Andrew Gibbs on 07/20/2020 | 3 Minute Read

Yi Mao is a recent graduate from ArtCenter, and his East-West/West-East project that explores globalization came from his MFA thesis project. On the minimal packaging, East-Asian type lives in perfect harmony with English for drinks and snack packaging as well as earplugs and eye drops.


“East-West/West-East” conceptual packaging design originates from my MFA thesis project at ArtCenter College of Design. To me, while at a macro level, notions of globalization and nationalism are shifting between the two over time. Cross-culture communications in our daily life are still unstoppable. Among those communications, the dialogue between East-Asia and the West is one of the driven forces. 

To raise the accessibility, clarity, and appropriate usage of East-Asian typography and Latin typography is needed. Such resources and references shall be decentralized. It should not be limited to certain practitioners and scholars, but open to a broader and even younger audience. In essence, this MFA thesis project is to create a series of reference on how to use East-Asian typography along with Latin Typography.

The conceptual packaging could be seen as a derivative of this MFA thesis. It is proving that East-Asian typography and Latin typography can live harmoniously through packaging. It also reveals my understanding of the East and the West. Cultures from the East and the West distinguishes from each other in the core. Otherness and difference can lead to conflicts and cultural collisions. But differences could also form variety and diversity. More importantly, this conceptual packaging criticizes the role of packaging and typography in this highly-globalized world we live in. Can packaging evolution change the way we consume goods in daily life? Can we live a life with brandless packagings? Can customers trust the quality of products without knowing the brands? 

As a recent graduating, I cannot foresee the future. But I believe that packaging, being a connection between people and goods, would positively impact society, such as educating people about environmental issues and fundamentally change the way we consume products daily."

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