Tone and texture

By Xing Yi | China Daily | Updated: 2017-08-18 08:11

Tone and texture

Sun Xiaoxi's book designs usually feature simple elements but are able to convey emotions. His signature works include Che Pi, which won him the German Red Dot Design Award this year, Murmurs of Earth and director Wang Xiaoshuai's book Bobo De Guxiang (Flimsy Hometown). [Photo provided to China Daily]

After graduating in visual communication from the Capital Normal University in 2004, Sun started to design for websites, then moved to magazines, and in the past three years into books.

In 2015, his design for director Wang Xiaoshuai's book Bobo De Guxiang (Flimsy Hometown) won him the Most Beautiful Book in China award, a top annual prize.

The book includes letters and old photos of Wang, so Sun decided to include Wang's handwritten editing traces on the page. This has intensified the nostalgia about the town and brings to the readers a personal touch of the director.

In 2016, Sun designed the Chinese edition of the popular science book Murmurs of Earth, which is about a 1970 US space mission to look for life in space. Sun inserted the book in a disc package and printed a photo of a laser disc on the cover representing the lonely journey of the spacecraft.

Sun designs only two to three books a year.

Many publishing houses don't respect design, he says, because he sometimes receives requests to produce a "cheap" book cover but very quickly.

In his view, design is an indispensable part of a book that gives it the right texture and tone.

"Especially in this digital era, if a printed book doesn't provide something more than the content itself, then why bother to buy one?" Sun says.

"People can always get the content online."

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