Taiwanese graphic designer, Bo-Han Shih, created a clean and elegant new font to add variety to the dismal number of Chinese fonts currently available in the market. The square-shaped font displays an elevated level of gravity, with the strokes of each character condensed inwards. A slight uptick at the end of each horizontal stroke resembles a dollop of whipped cream. This distinctive characteristic inspired the ‘Cream Mincho’ name, and set this innovative new font apart from the rest—rising above 4,400 other entrants to win Best Design in the “2017 Golden Pin Concept Design Award”. One of the 2017 GPDA judges, Effie Huang, the director of the EHS Design Group, praised the ‘Cream Mincho’ font for “igniting a warm, nostalgic feeling, and evoking a sense of calm.” Going forward, Cream Mincho will be renewing its look to re-emerge as ‘Cream Font’, with plans to start.
A fascination for Chinese characters set ‘Mincho Cream’ in motion
Bo-Han Shih graduated from the Department of Commercial Design at Ming Chuan Uni-versity, and received a master’s degree from the Department of Applied Arts at Fu Jen Catholic University. During his student years, he won the silver prize at the Taiwan Young Designers Award in 2014 for the packaging design he created for Chinbe. With an unquenched curiosity for different writing scripts, Bo-Han Shih entered the realm of brand identity design. He made his debut by helping one of his relatives design an American-style restaurant. Positive reviews of his designs quickly spread, helping him obtain even more projects. He rapidly expanded his design portfolio, creating the brand identity for many different stores, including: Cura Pizza, P&P food, Soybean Family (黃豆家), Yun Chiang Soymilk, and Soypresso.
While he was developing brand identities, he became acutely aware of the limited choices for Chinese fonts—especially when compared to European fonts—and aspired create a new Chinese font that could open up more typeface options for designers. The journey to develop his own font started at a personal exhibition called “Bohan’s Logotypes Collection”, where Bo-Han Shih presented ‘Ning Ming Font’ (an embryonic version of ‘Mincho Cream’) as a material work of art for the first time.
Bo-Han Shih’s font designing journey required extensive experimentation—it took over two years to complete the preliminary form of ‘Cream Mincho’. Without any professional background, or a knowledgeable and experienced mentor, he relied on his passion to continue driving him forward. After taking a course at a font design company (justfont), he started using a character creating software to continue developing his ‘Cream Mincho’ font—as a result, he was able to present the ‘Cream Mincho’ font as a complete entity.
An amazing discovery in a simple place
An avid dessert maker, with a special knack for Chiffon cake, making desserts helps Bo-Han Shih relax, and also brings him closer to his girlfriend. As he was exploring designs, everyday items—such as toothpaste and egg-white frosting—ignited a stroke of creative genius and inspired his award-winning ‘Cream Mincho’ font. Bo-Han Shih smiled and said, “At the time, I was thinking about how beautiful it was the way the curved line rose up on one end—so I tried to incorporate that element into the font.”
In addition to making desserts, Bo-Han Shih is also fascinated in Japanese culture, be-cause “Japan takes the smallest items from daily life, and turns them into a school of thought”. He owes this distinctly Japanese characteristic to a respect for professional, col-lective accomplishment, which allows design to exist in daily life as naturally as air. With regards to Taiwan Design, he is positive about what the future can bring. The public sector and election campaigns are starting to cooperate with designers, and a stronger design scene is emerging in the Taiwanese community. Recently, Bo-Han Shih has started working part-time at his alma mater, Ming Chuan University, and is spreading the word about design on social networking platforms. He’s motivated to personally work with the community and strengthen the design scene in Taiwan.
‘Cream Mincho’ takes a big step
Developing a font is a long process, as Bo-Han alluded to during his acceptance speech, “Winning the award is just the beginning”. In order to transform the concept into reality, a large amount of energy and money will need to be invested—but the NTD 300,000 prize winnings will certainly help pitch the font concept proposal. His next step is to revise the ‘Cream Mincho’ font, re-examining the font pattern and further refining it to become the lucid, lively and pure ‘Cream Font’. With plans to start fundraising next year—all we can do is sit in excited anticipation for a new masterpiece!
This piece was originally published on the Taiwan Design Center’s website, in English and Chinese.