The Chinese Design Field Needs a Srong Push to Lift Its Profile on The International Stage – Taddy Ho

  • Taddy Ho, who is Director of the Operating Committee at BBDO Taiwan Advertising Co. Ltd
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Taddy Ho, who is Director of the Operating Committee at BBDO Taiwan Advertising Co. Ltd, has been working in the advertising industry in Taiwan for 44 years. In 2014, he was invited to serve as a jury member for the Golden Pin Design Award, Taiwan’s premier international design award that celebrates design created for and in the Chinese-speaking market. Ho urges that a strong push is required to lift the profile of Chinese design and to ensure greater collaboration across different disciplines.

According to Taddy Ho, both the Tang Prize (which is a Taiwanese-based international prize that awards global achievers in four categories–sustainable development, biopharmaceutical science, sinology, and rule of law) and the Golden Pin Design Award have great influence in the Chinese world. These awards not only honor Chinese culture, but also provide people around the globe with an insight into the importance of Chinese achievements. The Tang Prize, which has been heralded as the Noble Prize of the Chinese world, encourages global scientific and humanitarian research efforts, and promotes the advancement of Chinese culture. Design was considered important in the establishment of the Tang Prize: the organisers of the prize created the International Invitational Tang Prize Medal Design Competition to which they invited internationally renowned designers to submit concepts. The winner of the competition received a cash prize of US$ 500,000, which is one of the largest award amounts in the design field. Ho also gives high praise to the Golden Pin Design Award, which he says elevates the status of Chinese design on the world stage.

In an effort to explain the intricacies of Eastern design, Taddy Ho cites the winning Tang Prize medal design as an example. As Ho explains, winner Naoto Fukasawa, a world-renowned product designer from Japan, drew influence from the Eastern concepts of essence (jing), energy (qi) and spirit (shen). By using the double helix structure of DNA, Fukasawa was able to transcend the limitations of a flat, 2-dimensional surface. The design of the medal, which is made up of a broken circle with a 0.1 cm wide gap at its break, symbolizes a limitless, liberal attitude towards history, growth, and life. Spirals implicitly symbolize both DNA and the Eastern dragon. In Eastern culture, an upward spiral symbolizes a dragon rising to heaven to ask for blessings for the people, while a downward spiral symbolizes a dragon falling to Earth to bless people and protect the land. “Most designers believe they are simply engaging in design practice, but deep down they are actually designing concepts,” Ho explains.

“Nobody should underestimate the strength of the Chinese people,” says Taddy Ho. It is imperative, he continues, that the profile of the Chinese market and Chinese design is lifted. The Tang Prize and the Golden Pin Design Award are two of the ways in which this goal can be achieved. Both prizes focus on Chinese culture, Chinese design, and the Chinese market, and both prizes have authority in the international arena. “Though many Chinese designers have become famous, the field still needs a strong push to bring designers together,” he concludes.

About Taddy Ho
Taddy Ho is Director of the Operating Committee at BBDO Taiwan Advertising Co. Ltd and Visiting Professor in the Department of Visual Communication Design at National Taiwan University of Arts (NTUA). He was awarded an ICOGRADA Achievement Award in 2011 and a Gold Medal in the CLIO Awards (USA) in 1993. Also in 1993 and in 1994, he was a Cannes Lions finalist. In 2014, Ho was a Juror for the International Invitational Tang Prize Medal Design Competition. His design work is held in the collections of local and international museums and institutions including the Beijing Poster Museum (China), Hong Kong City Hall, the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) (Singapore), the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall (Taiwan), and the Suntory Poster Museum (Japan).