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Boston University, School of Visual Arts/
Suzhou Art and Design Technology Institute
Boston, Massachusetts, USA/Suzhou, Soochow, China
Boston and Suzhou: A Cultural Concept Book Study
Class: A Cultural Concept Book Workshop
Level: Junior and Senior
Faculty: Richard B. Doubleday
Duration of Project: One Week
11
project brief
Study the materials I’ve brought from Boston, in-
cluding postcards of Boston landmarks, stamps,
newspapers, assorted Red Sox paraphernalia,
and Boston Marathon bib numbers and medals.
Scan and photocopy the Boston material and
combine it with your own photographic images
and illustrations from Suzhou, including hand
drawings, painting, and digital photography.
Use the text from Henry Wadsworth Longfel-
low’s “Paul Revere’s Ride” and Ralph Waldo Em-
erson’s “Boston,” to explore alternate methods
of visualizing narration: continuous text, typo-
graphic expression, diagrams, timelines, map
construction, and text/image combinations.
You may use either English text or Chinese
calligraphy or a combination of the two. Focus
on the cinematic aspects of multipage design,
unity, pacing, contrast, and rhythm. The cultural
concept book should be small and intimate in
nature and should not exceed 8 × 10 inches (20.5
× 25.5 cm). The book should be a minimum of
eight pages in length, including the front and
back covers.
project goal
The objective of the workshop is to compare and
contrast the Western and Eastern cities of Bos-
ton and Suzhou by taking a closer look at these
two cities’ personalities. Although Suzhou, lo-
cated thirty two miles northwest of Shanghai, is
a large modern city, one can fi nd a network of
sixteenth-century canals, bridges, and classical
gardens. Students are challenged to think about
how living in or visiting a city infl uences the
way we think and see. Create short, multipage
books integrating images from both Boston and
Suzhou that would visually communicate the
similarities and differences in the visual culture
of the two cities. Think about how you’ll visually
convey the mood and temperament of the sub-
ject matter and your experiences in Suzhou and,
conversely, your impressions of Boston.
project outcome
The fi nal designs comprised a variety of cultural
concept books, depicting famous Chinese water
townships, expressive typography, postcard im-
ages, statues, Boston architecture, and Chinese
“stamp” motifs. The students spent the fi rst two
days working through preliminary ideas and
drafting rough sketches. The second half of the
week was spent creating the books and complet-
ing the project. The results combined Eastern
and Western imagery with English text and Chi-
nese calligraphy to form a unique and unusual
juxtaposition of design elements. The two class
critiques enabled the students to get instanta-
neous feedback, critique their classmates’ de-
sign solutions, and articulate the ideas behind
their own projects.
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Student: Qi Huang
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Student: Xuleyi
I merged contemporary Boston and classical
Chinese architecture.
Ï
Student: Zhubian Yang Jie
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p
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l
Ï
Student: Zhang Meile
The stamp motifs are ancient Chinese folk designs that have been in use for many centuries. The
symbols comprise hua yang patterns and represent long life, riches, etc. I cut freehand forms from
paper with scissors and overlaid the stamp motifs for each page within the book.
Ï
Student: Qian Dan Dan
I created a colorful and vibrant collage effect,
documenting each day of the week.
Ï
Student: Mengjing Cao
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