Home / ATypI Tech Talks 2021


With its thousands of glyphs, even in the most basic character set, the Chinese script is an ocean that very few designers are diving into, whether or not they are Chinese. Creating new Hanzi fonts takes a great deal of time and energy, keeping many talented designers from even attempting a Chinese design. The large character set also inhibits experimentation and focuses Chinese type creation on more conservative designs.

During AIZI, a research project led by ECAL (University of Art and Design Lausanne), researchers Shuhui Shi (design) and Wang Wei (engineering) worked on the possibilities offered by artificial intelligence (AI) to facilitate the creation of Hanzi fonts. During this presentation, Shi will introduce their research and discuss what AI can and cannot bring to the type design community—for Chinese specifically, but also more broadly.

The dialog will include MATD teachers who followed the project: Kai Bernau, focusing on the future of type design within the paradigm of AI, and Matthieu Cortat, examining the way AI can influence type design education. This discussion should be considered a conversation with the audience.


Kai Bernau

In 2005, Kai Bernau and his partner, Susana Carvalho, founded Atelier Carvalho Bernau in The Hague, The Netherlands. They design reading experiences, from typeface to interface. They are, incredibly, Bernau says, still in business. In 2014, the partners co-founded the collective Open Work, where they explore the subversion of design patterns and participatory design. Bernau graduated from KABK‘s Type and Media before it was cool and has designed a few typefaces since: for use in his studio, for clients, and for you! Since 2011, Bernau teaches type design at ÉCAL’s MA Type Design.


Matthieu Cortat

Matthieu Cortat is a type designer working on retail and custom fonts he distributes via the foundries Nonpareille and 205tf. Since 2016, he has been the Head of Master Type Design at ECAL, University of Art and Design Lausanne, Switzerland. Within this MA program, Cortat tries to develop a pedagogy fitted for the contemporary type design scene, reflecting on the evolutions of the society and the changes in design practice. This may include artificial intelligence (AI) in the near future. Cortat will bring his thoughts on the AIZI project, the first attempt at ECAL MATD to deal with these questions.


Shuhui Shi

Shuhui Shi is a graphic and type designer based in Hangzhou, China. She has long been interested in research and projects about Chinese culture and Hanzi. Shi graduated from the China Academy of Art in 2016. Her graduation design, New Pictographic Hanzi, won the highest honor—the Chongli Art Prize. In 2019, Shi obtained her diploma from the ECAL MA Type Design program with distinction excellence through her diploma work on AIZI. Shi worked as a researcher at ECAL, supported by RCDAV, and currently teaches at the School of Design and Innovation, China Academy of Art.