MOCA China

Bringing a cultural vision to life in the Orient 

Working in Hong Kong on another assignment, a chance encounter led to a new opportunity involving art, cultures and challenging the status quo of Chinese rule. Originally the project was envisioned as a single entity, however, in order to serve a vast population, the idea quickly morphed into a network of museums located in major Chinese metropolitan cities. A temporary space was located in Beijing, and an introductory exhibit was mounted in order to generate funds, interest and awareness. Since Hong Kong is the financial hub of China, it was  the ideal location to anchor MOCA China in order for the museum to flourish elsewhere. 

Chinese symbolic motifs are invariably repre-sentational, so natural depiction was critical to cultural acceptance and adoption. Care was taken to recognize culturally western visual influences and preferences may not always be in sync with eastern aesthetics and symbolization. The Chinese written language is ideographic, with characters communicating ideas; whereas western letterforms are simply phonetic, mere representations of audible sounds meant to be employed as strings of linguistic building blocks. The exception to the latter is when a letterform (M) becomes a familiar acronym through frequent emblematic association over time, such as through the process called ‘branding’ in western cultures. 
Inspiration for the Moca China logo was taken from this particular museum’s function as a means to fostering artistic growth through the cultivation of contemporary art. The M represents “Museum” in a decidedly current approach, providing the base of an efficient and appropriate logo communicating sophistication by function of its relative simplicity. The M is an entry point, a portal, as if a building, almost vault–or container–like due to its visual mass. It also serves as a display platform for the Chinese Yishu symbol-standing for cultivation and social virtues of the grower as provider of all things. With the ‘M’ functioning as a communication of the institution’s identity, the importance of riveting the eye is paramount. Viewers naturally respond to red, not only the chosen color for the Yishu symbol and typography, but a color which is both contemporary and classic, and in this case, culturally important and enduring. 

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