Female Designers Entice Young Readers by Revamping Classic Books

May 14, 2018  Editor: Xie Wen
Shao Fei with his teammates [Women Voice]


Shao Fei, vice president of the Chinese publisher Great Star Media, together with product managers Zhao Rubing and Chen Yu, have caused many classic literary works to be seen and read through the eye-catching designs of their company's books.

The design team led by Shao, has produced covers for Walden, Tales of Hulan River, The Little Prince, The Old Man and the Sea and other classics. Their overall style is light, modern and informal, which has aroused the curiosity of many people to read them.

Shao said that every time the team designs a book, they must take several elements into consideration, including the reason of re-introducing the book, the core readership and how to quickly convey the reading value of books through the design.

For example, the target readership group for Walden is young people who pursue a slow-paced life and love literature and art. Shao said, "We designed this cover so that readers can immediately feel the coolness and transparency of the lake and the healing power of nature."

Shao has cultivated a deep understanding of young Chinese readers. He said: "People who do not have reading habits often experience intellectual anxiety and are confused about choosing a book. To attract them to read in the shortest possible time, we need to impress people with the visual packaging.

"To those who frequently read, we attract them by conveying the unique advantages of the version and building emotional resonance with them."

Zhao, 29, graduated from Anhui University, east China's Anhui Province, and majored in Literary Studies. She is an expert in ancient books.

She said, "The content of the book is beautiful, but sometimes the book itself is not. Therefore ordinary readers will not be attracted by classic books with designs which are backward, outdated and lack visual enjoyment. I think, classical books are beautiful and they should be."

Chen, 27, tries to eliminate the sense of distance between readers and classics. As a young woman, she read many classics.

In the 80s, Chinese writer Lu Yang was known in literary circles through his work Finger Snapping. Later, he was recognized as an avant-garde representative writer together with Yu Hua and others. However, he has rarely released new works in recent years and devoted himself to teaching in universities.

Chen said, "We were aware that Lu is professional in English, and he accords to the book perfectly for his precise and potent literary temperament. Thus we invited him to retranslate The Old Man and the Sea," The version translated by Lu soon became a bestseller and popular among the public.

Another classic book The Wonderful Adventures of Nils will be published by the team in May, which was written in 1906 by a Norwegian woman who won the Nobel Prize in Literature. Chen said, "We believe that the adventurous spirit of this book is helpful to cultivate children's imagination and ability to adapt to change."

(Source: Women Voice/Translated and edited by Women of China)

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