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People in design: Typographer Xu Xuecheng has passed away

The very nature of Chinese characters makes them a challenge for Westerners. The sheer number of different characters is so large that throughout history there have been repeated efforts to reduce and simplify them. To enable Chinese people to communicate with each other more effectively, the plan was to create a standardised canon of characters which would be manageable for everyone. One of the typographers who was instrumental in driving this development was Xu Xuecheng, born in 1928. He started out as a designer in a publishing house before moving to the Shanghai Printing Technology Research Institute in 1960, where his core work involved typographic simplification and character reduction. Xu Xuecheng rose to this challenge, developing several fonts, including Hiti and Songti, which are common on most computers throughout China. This pioneer of Chinese typography died on 1 November 2019.

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