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Digitized Design for Nüshu Script: Noto Traditional Nushu

Nüshu, which means “female calligraphy” in Chinese, is a type of chirography that was primarily written by women in modern times. This specific type of chirography had only been handwritten, leaving no trace of prior existence in printed form. Nüshu has very unique shapes in comparison to Chinese. With only 398 characters, it took more than six years to establish an encoding scheme. Typographic Nüshu wasn’t created until this year, making 2020 the first year of Nüshu Type. The release of Noto Traditional Nushu has a special significance for China. Firstly, it is the first typeface crafted and generated by the domestic design team in the Noto family. Secondly, it is also the first non-Hanzi Chinese language typeface in China. Liu Zhao Studio, a research-based independent design team in China, corrected the glyph errors on the code charts during the design process, and creatively used the methods of Latin type design. Type designers work with a diverse group of professionals in the field, such as encoding experts, grammatology experts, and advisors. This presentation will tell the story of Nüshu type design from three aspects: the literature review, the encoding process, and the type design of Nüshu. The name of Noto Traditional Nushu also has a very interesting story. Habitual thinking tells us soft brush calligraphy is the traditional style of Chinese characters, while Nüshu script and monolinear styles seem to be more modern. However, through our research, we’ve found that it’s just the opposite. In this presentation, we will share the developmental story of Noto Traditional Nushu—the first Nushu family in the world.


Eiso Chan


Kushim Jiang


Liu Zhao

Associate Professor / China Marketing Manager Central Academy of Fine Arts / TypeTogether

Liu Zhao is an Associate Professor of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, China, and a member of the Chinese Character Information Committee of the Chinese Information Processing Society of China. She is a national representative and country delegate of China for ATypI, and Script Chair, Chinese Division, of the Granshan typeface design competition.