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Zhou’s Texbook Designs Enter Use in Shanghai

Zhou’s Texbook Designs Enter Use in Shanghai

: Wanting Zhou, courtesy of the designer..

Wanting Zhou (DE ’15) wins a competition to redesigned workbooks for the school children of Shanghai, with 4M in print and climbing fast.

If your designs were being used every day by 180,000 grade schoolers, you’d be pretty excited. That’s the laudable position Wanting Zhou (DE ’15) finds herself in. She won a competition to redesign student workbooks for a company that provides these to the city of Shanghai. Her work thus will be some of the first memories of hundreds of thousands of youngsters, in a pole position to in the race to become a cultural icon.

Zhou is an interior design student, but also does graphic work. “I am so exited … my whole design collection of Chinese primary school students’ homework exercise books has been mass-produced and now is used in whole Shanghai area,” says Wanting. “I mean every primary school student in the city is using my design. Think about the population, how fascinating it is.” Shanghai is, of course, one of the largest cities in the world.

Workbooks are used by students for their homework, and they are standardized. There is no close cognate in American schools, think Pee Chee folders (out of use since 2000) or the ubiquitous Blue Book for college tests. Wanting created 12 different designs for the various subject areas in the Chinese school system.  Since each of 180K students must have 12 of these at any one time, Wanting figures there are 4.3M books out there, and the company will run 41M a year.

The scale of the production of her designs has Wanting casting an eye to her future post-Cornish. “It is so fascinating to realize how big an influence designers can have on society. I need to think big and believe myself able to do the things that are right for my future. I need to have a solid philosophy and create my own “brand”, so that more people can get my concepts and maybe influenced by them.”


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