Traditional Chinese Culture and Design

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This research aims for the study design elements on traditional Chinese culture and design. It helps to understand the interrelation between culture and design. Also, it has an appreciation of the beautiful traditional cultures in history. As it has been impacting on Chinese culture since ancient times. It is important to derive genetically from ancestors the traditional with critical thinking.

An online survey was taken from different age groups with Chinese nationals and non – Chinese nationals for their knowledge of traditional Chinese culture and design. How designers look upon the group of people and their culture to make a design concept for their various fashion shows and inspiration. This report also shows how China has gone through all the cultural changes.


Background of study

In China, traditional culture has a long and glorious history in both arts and design. China itself being unique in traditions, its manufacturers need to consider mixing their traditional Chinese elements into their designs and it’s also known as the world’s most complex and oldest culture in history. As we know Traditional Chinese Culture is one of the countries, China has the most mysterious history of the ancient civilization which is almost 5000 years ago. The blend of a small dynasty with the culture has been expanded until the present. The large geographical region in eastern Asia has mainly covered varying traditional cultures which are between countries, cities, and towns. In history, the oldest dynasty with the enrichment, development is known as the Xia Dynasty.

The culture and its design can express itself by its social values, spirits of any particular system (WU, 2011). Due to different people’s lifestyles and cultures, they have various needs for the usability of historical interest, which represents their perspective of thinking of life. It also includes the elements of the artifacts for example colors, materials, textures and patterns particular culture values (Hang and DEng 2008).

Culture also reflects and expresses a mirror of its design but merge culture and the development of the society that we are living in. Because design has spread through society and impact with overtime (Moalosi, Popovic and Hudson 2010). The design has been part of the arts and culture that what it has been developing “Culture and Design is a representative of changes and it is important for designers to know either they can undermine or support the initial cultural system (Popovic, 2002).

Research problem, propositions/ research issues

For this research, the main focus will be to get enough knowledge about traditional Chinese culture and how it has an influence on modern. The objective of this report is to understand the importance of traditional Chinese cultures and designs.

  • To define elements of traditional Chinese visual design
  • To investigate the form, materials and color.
  • To analyze the importance of Traditional Chinese Culture and Design.

As contribution has been provided from the study. At first, I have defined the history of Traditional Chinese culture and its design. Secondly, collecting data that can be used while taking referencing from the questionnaire survey and there will be more images of the cultures and design which has been used as an inspiration designer and fashion line from now to future. This research focuses on the influence of the traditional Chinese style on design elements and how this style has made an impact globally. This research also emphasis on how and what modern design has changed compared to the traditional one.


The methodology for this research included a literature review, online survey and focus group and quantitative analysis. According to the quantitative, there will be provided a survey online which helps to analyze several tools and services using SPP software. There will be some questionnaire provided to the group within the targeted school, universities like Institutions of the Vocational Training Council, The Technological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong, The Hong Kong Design Institute and Polytechnic University, International school, and some the own label designers. There will be two focus groups of the participants which will be Chinese and Non-Chinese. the main reason is to attempt the reason why these typical artifacts were most representative of Traditional Chinese.

Scope of Study

The paper on this has been divided into five chapters. The research of the paper is a beginner with the background of the Traditional Chinese Culture and Design. The second chapter will be on the basic information in the research study based on the literature and the books which have been reviewed before the collection of the data. The third chapter will be the study of the methodology based on the questionnaires survey which will be on the question about the cultures and design developments. Fourthly chapter will be the discussion about the research regarding the data that had been analyzed and collected. Finally, the fifth chapter will the conclusion and recommendation of the whole research study focus.

Culture and Design

Design reflects Culture

The study of the links between designs and culture which has been considered a part of the social characteristics, such as culture includes various religions, politics, language, values and rituals (Searle 1995, Bourges-Waldegg 1998). Therefore, culture can be outlined by the values and thoughts of the people (Choi, Lee, Kim and Jeon 2005). The values of the cultures have always influenced people’s behavior within their respective.

In a specific cultural situation in the perceptions and customs which can be different at times reflects in the artifacts that can be used (Moalosi, Popovic and Hickling Hudson 2008). Some many twists and turns that have appeared in the relationship between culture and design over the past century. A mirror of culture improvement and social changes has been always seen in design (Moalosi 2010).

Additionally, artifacts can integrate other different design elements for example colors, information, pattern, and features (Hang and Deng 2008). Those elements reveal the cultural values which has been incorporated into the artifacts that have been provided the cultural identity.

Culture inspires Design

The values of the culture can be desegregated into a design by using different representative features and signs. The various cultures can have a rich and set of materials that can be varied that provided to the designer with the unlimited sources of inspiration for ideas (Gaver 2001). Next to paying attention to the values of the cultural, designers need to understand the roles of their behaviors and attitudes, otherwise, there will be a high chance of design that could fail (Moalosi, Popovic and Hiking-Hudson 2010).

From understanding the values and behaviors, the designers could benefit to translate into powerful design ideas and information and also a sense of culture respect can be achieved (Moalosi 2010).

Relationship between Culture and Design

Culture and Design play a vital role in everyone’s thought processes. The majority, technology, and economy determine the dominant cultural pattern in modern society. Design is also formed and sustained by these forces. Design and culture have always been closely interrelated and belonging to part of the cultural context of today’s society. The design has become a larger process of creative culture that has become a means to capture creation, innovation, and ideation and hold a cultural identity & significance.

Chinese traditional culture is so rich in history that most of the design of artifacts, arts and styles have been influenced. For example, it can be seen in Chinese design that has developed in China and studying these designs helps to understand the traditional cultural norms and values that are integrated into the Chinese design (Sparke, P. 2007). An Introduction to Design and Culture. Routledge Culture inspiring designs every country has its unique and rich cultural background which inspires a lot of things. Likewise, China culture has inspired lots of design. For example, ancient Chinese cultural relics (tea sets, ceramics work) in the museum have inspired the design of many modern cultural products like necklaces, jewelry, flash disks, placemats and many more.

Designers of the modern generation are studying not only from one culture but multiple cultures to gain unlimited inspirations for new ideas. This brings a sense of respect for each other’s culture and tradition. Different people from different cultural backgrounds have their own special needs for their lifestyle. By understanding the culture, new design ideas can be created which proves that culture inspires the design.

Traditional Chinese Design

China has gone through many conflicts, expansion, and invasion which eventually developed into a global empire now. Over several hundreds of years, Chinese culture has been through phrases that have ultimately impacted modern design. China had experienced periods of conflict throughout the decay which eventually evolved into the big empire, the history which can be learned and understand the improvement of the Chinese culture (Quigley 1961). Ancient Chinese society has not only gone through various cultures but also complex religious beliefs that have changed over time.

Confucianism, Buddhism, and Daoism (Kerr, 1991) are a few religions that the Han dynasty (206BC-200AD) went through. Now, the Chinese government has implemented cultural policies and Open-Door Policy which has proved to be beneficial for them by sharing their ideas with the global market. Chinese art and design have been widely appreciated globally and they have still been able to preserve their identity in cultural traditions and values.

Characteristics of Traditional Chinese Design

About 5,000 years ago, Traditional Chinese Design which has its unique wisdom by evolving its creative concepts, “In the past, Traditional is something which has been made enduring in many ways” (Wang 2010). Traditional Chinese design which focuses on the basic creation of the philosophical images. The art and design in a traditional Chinese which aims to connect the symbols and meanings through symbolism and identity (Wang 2008).

Over the thousand years, Traditional Chinese Design has its unique characteristics which have been developed several. The key point is to understand the characteristics given the design to Traditional Chinese Design.


The symbol has become heir from the years to years till now generations. In Chinese Design, motifs and symbols are used to use everywhere, in any case, used by villagers and also emperors (Stalberg and Nesi 1980). Due to the extensive application, these symbols and motifs became stylized which can be found from Traditional Chinese artifacts. Although the design style may be differing from one dynasty to the next which depth emotional engagement with natural materials, symbols of nature and pursuing natural forms are always marked features (Lin 2004). As shown in the below figure 1 from the earliest Chinese symbol passed through ages with slightly ages form.

Design Elements and Their Application in Design

Design principles and elements have been described as some basic ideas. It is with principles and elements that designers can create a visual understanding and statement. From experts, forms of design have some subsidies to what added a kind of catalog for the visual language and the way of a particular design (Giard 2009).

Three Primary Design Elements

In the study of this paper, there will be three design elements discussed, they are form, color and material. Three foundations are the composition in the design are the most parts. To analysis, the Traditional Chinese design personifies elements at some level. the first important of the form of an artifact aspect of the design contains various outlines (Giard 2009).


A Form defines as “The shape or structure of an object”. Designers who can manipulate forms in countless ways to create various experiments even within the definition, provides countless prospects. After deciding the useful needs of an artifact, designers take the responsibility that creating a form that can be include marketing, technology, price and materials. The process which is typically mentioned as art or compromise of design (Campbell 2010).


Similar to form, materials have also an important dominant role in the design. The materials which can be developed and manufacturing technologies restorative new function and forms in design (Arabe 2004). However, materials apply an extreme influence in terms of the form which might force design and cause designers to make forms that can be seen as structural art. As a result, forms must be well-matched with the materials form (Ashby and Kara 2009). The same materials might represent various meanings under different conditions (Arabe 2004).

People identify materials as they connect them with certain experiences and memories of the past. Materials have different meanings with various express for people because of the value of materials that are used from culture to culture, for example some woods are used in building the houses in Mediterranean countries (Edward 2003). Therefore, materials can be considered as a cultural experience in the design elements (Karana and Hekkert 2010) and also it can bring out the expression of the people’s cultural values.


In science, colors are that are pigments that pull out from animals or plant tissues by composing different chemical in chemistry and colors that are perceived to the different qualities which reflect lights according to physics. When designers have to source a color has to think from resources such as primary color, a secondary color, hue saturation (Giard 2009).

Colors can differ from more meaning to the practical and technology like culture, design and symbol (Evens and Thomas 2008), colors that can create variety and play an important role in design patterns.

The Differences between Traditional Culture and Ancient Chinese Design

As we know, traditional Chinese culture has a great effect on culture design and also philosophical ornamental which has deeply influenced the designer till now. For example, as shown below figure 3 totems of Dragon golden image. About long years ago, as people believe that Dragon is the “God of the storm”, as the master of the world during ancient times. The Chinese culture has strong integrity, harmony and perfection. Chinese traditional culture under the infiltration, numerous with outstanding products which have been produced in China. Figure 3 shows a white and blue ceramic vase with dragon patterns on it which has been artistic design. Figure 4. Neolithic pottery jar.


Cite this paper

Traditional Chinese Culture and Design. (2020, Dec 14). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/traditional-chinese-culture-and-design/

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