Ideals of the female body shape have been constantly changing ever since ancient China up till the modern days. A slim and petite figure with delicate bones was said to be beautiful during the ancient times, hence resulting in constricted diets. However during the Tang dynasty, plump women set the ideal standards of beauty because of their wealth, high–class status, and influential power in the society. It displayed opulence and showed that they were well– fed. It was said that “Aristocratic” is beautiful & “Humble” is ugly, that “Upper class” is beautiful & “Lower class” is ugly. Thereafter, from the Song dynasty onwards, people started to revert back to the old ideals of having a tall, slender, and well–developed physique that resulted in women wanting to lead a healthy life–style. This constant fluctuation of how people perceive ‘beauty’ is something that I question in my typeface design.
So what is beauty — who defines it? Is it the rich and wealthy? Or the people with the power to influence the majority? Is beauty, like high fashion, a ‘trend’ to follow since it changes radically from time to time?
This ever–changing standards of beauty in the eyes of the society is highlighted in my design. The stark contrast between the two ideal physiques (thin and fat/thick and thin) is present in every alphabet and it forces the audience to compare these two extremes side by side.
Utopia is a typeface designed to represent a haven where everything and everyone is perfect just the way they are. I want to show that these different standards of ‘beauty’ can indeed co–exist and yet still look beautiful and perfect at the same time. I want the society to be able to accept the charm of both the thin and the fat for what/who they are, and not succumb to the pre–conceived standards of the society. On the other hand, women themselves should also realize that there is beauty in every unique individual, and not torture and force themselves to fit into the unforgiving expectations of others.
1. Specimen Book (Typeface design)