No Rights Reserved is a museum catalogue design for a fictional Chinese contemporary appropriation art exhibition that locates at Tate Modern, London. It was made as a student project at ArtCenter College of Design.
In traditional Chinese calligraphy education, apprentices generally start from a facsimile. During the process of transposing previous works, apprentices sometimes create a better version, transcending its original form. The ancients attributed this transcendence to the “I” in the book. However, the booming development of Internet technology makes the access to artwork more convenient than ever, the difference between appropriating and copying has been blurred gradually. Taking a form of art and directly applying to the other becomes a new way of art making.
“No Rights Reserved” recreates a definition of the well-known phrase — “All Rights Reserved” as an conversation starter. The goal is not to criticize any form of art expression. It is intended to discuss: What is appropriation? What is plagiarism? Does the two have a border? If so, what is it?
In the first chapter of the book, I “copied” an exhibition catalogue as the starting point of my design. The catalogue recorded the art exhibition that took place in 105 Hudson Street, Manhattan, New York—the very first art exhibition to discuss “appropriation art.” Imagery was selected from the famous Shenzhen Dafen Oil Painting Village.
In the artist’s title page, I merged and replaced the Chinese calligraphy grid with the Western font grid system. It is intended to indicate the clash between the East and the West’s different definition for plagiarism and copyright.
In order to express the discussion of copyright, the catalogue was printed and bound in China. After changing the layout a little and making a “copy” version of the catalog, a limited newsprint edition was produced in the United Kingdom (via the Newspaper club website). The catalogue hence exists both as hardback book and as a newspaper version.
The simplicity of the Chinese characters in Noto Sans balances with ABC Galapagos in a harmonious way. Combing a comparatively complex font with a font that has support for Chinese was a very interesting experience. The typographic palette is completed by Panama and LL Akkurat.