Where did the early graphic design theory in Asia originate from?

As a North American designer, most of the graphic design theory I’ve encountered can be traced back to the Bauhaus in Germany. I’ve also read there was a less famous Russian equivalent to the Bauhaus school, called Vkhutemas.

Were there Bauhaus equivalents for Asian countries (i.e. a school or institution where the early graphic design theory was defined?) or was the Bauhaus’ influence global?

My best lead so far: http://www.mplusmatters.hk/asiandesign/paper_topic6.php

[In 1981,] none of the histories of industrial design made any
reference to Asian design, while the prevailing history of graphic
design by Philip Meggs only mentioned Japan among all the other Asian

I did eventually discover books like Scott Minick’s and Jiao Ping’s
book Chinese Graphic Design in the Twentieth Century and Richard
Thornton’s Japanese Graphic Design…[…]

In 1989, Design Issues, the journal I co-edit published a special
issue on Design in Asia and Australia. Our authors included Matthew
Turner, writing about Hong Kong, as well as other authors dealing with
design in India Japan and China. Since then we have sought other
articles on Asian design and have managed to publish a number on
design in China, Japan, Indonesia, and India.

Self-answered from chat for China:

In the article Chinese graphic design history since 1971 by Wendy Siuyi Wong:

China had been cut off fro the outside world, and there were hardly
any commercial art activities there for three decades. Under such
circumstances, the modern Chinese design movement started in the 1930s
by the Shanghai designers was not able to keep pace with the
international design trends throughout this period. […] With the
introduction of the latest design trends through an increasing number
of international exchanges, very little influence of the older
generation of mainland designers was passed on to the younger
generation in the 1980s and 1990s. The main direction of the design
education system in mainland China, in today’s context, is still based
on a skill-training curriculum from the 1960s Russian model.


The Printing Press was the first example of print making with involvement into graphic design, and mass production of information. Prior history, related to graphic design and Asia. Delves into the theory that China was making wooden blocks, and arranging them in a similar manner.

“The creation of manuscripts led to such high points in graphic design, the art and practice of graphic design truly blossomed with the development of printmaking technologies such as movable type. As early as 6th century CE”

“Surviving artifacts show that the Chinese developed a wide range of uses for printing and that they achieved a high level of artistry in graphic design and printing from an early date. Artisans cut calligraphic symbols into woodblocks and printed them beautifully; printed sheets of paper bearing illustrations and religious texts were then pasted together to make printed scrolls.”


Source : Link , Question Author : curious , Answer Author : Lyssagal

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