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Sounds of Design: Taiwan’s Contemporary Album Art

  • Old Street Gallery 62 Paul Street London, England, EC2A 4NA United Kingdom (map)

Record design is a unique part of Taiwan’s vibrant design culture. Whilst the music industry continues to fight an uphill battle against streaming and downloads, Taiwan has been able to ensure the continued survival of the physical format by persisting in the creation of innovative visuals and packaging.

Record design reflects the experimental spirit of Taiwanese designers and the vast potential of printing and manufacturing technology; it’s no surprise that Taiwan has earned the reputation as the producer of the most adventurous and high-quality album packaging location throughout Asia.

Through this field of contemporary design, the rest of the world can see the charm of Taiwan’s contemporary design industry.

Visiting Europe for the first time, this exhibition brings the works of five renowned Taiwanese graphic designers to the London Design Festival: Aaron Nieh (聶永真), Joe Fang (方序中), Godkidlla (廖小子), Blackzao (布雷克), and Po-Chun Yen (顏伯駿). Audio and visual facilities will accompany the exhibition, allowing for an immersive record store-like experience.

Curated by Lin Wei Jhe 林唯哲Supported by the Ministry of Culture, Taiwan.


Godkidlla | Brothers Shouldn’t Live Without Dreams (Sorry Youth, 2017)

Chun-Yu Liao, known as Godkidlla, is a designer who makes a living from his artistic abilities. Liao has managed a magazine, is the owner of Duzu Books in Taipei and TaKaoBooks in Kaohsiung, as well as the “fish-headed man” of the band Sorry Youth. Liao is often seen wearing floral shirts and slippers.

Godkidlla is frequently nominated at the Golden Melody Awards and Golden Butterfly Awards, and his scope of work includes the creative arts, books, records, exhibitions, and visual identity. His works have a strong, recognizable style and often contain elements from the lives of ordinary people; his customers range from the Presidential Office to Jolin Tsai. In 2018, he won Best Album Design at the Golden Melody Awards and the Golden Pin Design Award Design of the Year Award for the design of Sorry Youth’s “Brothers Shouldn’t Live without Dreams” album art.


Aaron Nieh|Day by Day (Hebe Tien, 2016)

Aaron Nieh is a Graphic Designer and the Director of the Aaron Nieh Workshop. He is also the first Taiwanese member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI). The Aaron Nieh Workshop is skilled at creating unusual tension and excitement with visual design. Over the last ten years, through their meticulous work, the workshop has brought forth a new sense of imagination and explored previously untouched terrain in design for Taiwanese pop music, publications, the performing arts, and public issues.


Joe Fang|Is This Love, Detective? (Frandé, 2017)

Current Creative Director, Graphic Designer, and Curator of JOEFANGSTUDIO.

Every design has a life of its own, and it lives in the story of the object being designed; design breathes only when there’s the object with a story to be told.

The object can be thought of as the star, and the design as the supporting actor.

One must listen before starting to design so that the design remains authentic and reflects what it is that makes the object special.


Po-Chun Yen | Aphasia(Tanya Chua, 2015)

Po-Chun Yen is the Visual Director of YEN Design. Committed to the Chinese-language music industry, his bountiful and diverse creative energy is embodied by his bold, humorous and sharp work. His flexible mind and ability to perform rational observation, analysis and grasp new ideas has enabled him to become an outstanding visual director and achieve remarkable results in a number of different fields.

Yen considers communication and collaboration the core of his design work. For him, an ideal design project gives every collaborator involved adequate space to exercise their professional abilities, which are integrated to achieve the best result. He hopes to continue transcending the limits of existing frameworks and create more trailblazing works through refined and innovative perspectives.


Blackzao | Gigo (Fresh Juicer, 2015)

As a founding member of the Virus No. 6 Crew, Blackzao has ten years of experience in graffiti art. Since the early stages of his career, he has been active in Taichung’s graffiti scene and is passionate about music as well as street culture.

Blackzao founded the “Virus No.6 Crew” with fellow artists in 2006, whose early painting is dark and unyielding, recognizable by their unrestrained and somewhat eccentric style. They specialize in incorporating abstract music into their visual creations. In recent years, they have tried incorporating elements from the natural world into their works, creating art in a relaxed, carefree manner. They specialize in integrating graffiti works with graphic design and have participated in several music events; they also collaborate on visual design projects with music bands. They never cease to grow or step out of their comfort zone and have been involved in large-scale installation art and visual art projects

Open reception: 13 September 2019, 19.30-21.30

1. 13 September 2019, 18.00-19.00: "Seeing and Hearing Graphic Design: When Art Meets Music in Taiwan: Curator Lin Wei-Jhe in Conversation with Graphic Designer Aaron Nieh"

2. 14 September 2019, 14.00-15.30: Trends in Taiwanese Record Design: In Conversation with Curator Lin Wei-Jhe:

3. 14 September 2019, 16.00-17.30: Consumption of the Symbol, Sale of the Identity: In Conversation with Graphic Designer Aaron Nieh

Earlier Event: September 13
Taiwan Academy Film Festival 2019