From afar, the poster Beautiful Garbage, designed by National Taiwan University of Science and Technology student Liao Keng-min (廖耿民), looks like a traditional Chinese water painting with picturesque mountains. However, take a closer look and the mountains suddenly turn into piles of garbage swamped with flies.
Liao’s creative work became the first Taiwanese poster to win the prestigious German Red Dot’s Best of the Best award in the communication design category, university officials said on Friday.
The Red Dot design awards are considered the Oscars of design. This year, participants from more than 40 countries submitted 6,468 works, of which 608 were given a “Red Dot” award and 80 received the even more distinguished “Best of the Best” award.
Liao and three other university students were notified that they had won Red Dot awards early this month. The awards ceremony will be held in October.
The inspiration for Liao’s poster came from his belief that with much of the world focused on global warming, other issues were being neglected. He said his poster tries to bring attention to environmental issues and convey the importance of treasuring natural resources.
The image was modeled on the works of Chinese water-painting master Chang Dai-chien (張大千), Liao added.
Beautiful Garbage appealed to Red Dot judges because it used Chinese water-painting techniques that are less familiar to foreign audiences and combined culture with environmental issues, said Regina Wang, the director of the university’s Department of Industrial and Commercial Design.
Another student, Lin Sheng-feng (林聖峰), also used Chinese elements in his work to grab the attention of Red Dot judges.
Lin’s poster New Chinese Calligraphy World, which also earned a Red Dot award, was inspired by Chinese calligraphy strokes and blue-and-white porcelain.
Lin said that when people overseas try to understand Chinese culture, they are often trapped by Chinese characters, so he designed a poster that deconstructed characters, making it easier for those who do not read the language to appreciate oriental culture through Chinese calligraphy.
The various buildings in Lin’s winning poster, for example, are composed of many different types of calligraphy strokes.
Two other works by the university’s students also won Red Dot awards, including Size Zero Models by Yang Pei-chi (楊珮祺) and Pet Shadow by Liu Chih-chieh (劉知潔).