You might know them for their vibrant pre-Olympics coverage of the “true” Beijing, or for their photo essay on war-themed engagement pictures in the jungles of Jiangsu Province. You might even recognize them for their bold, award-winning design, raw and expressive photography, their quirky icons or their ever-so-ironically-helpful survival guides.
But if you haven’t already seen it, then now’s your chance to check out COLORS magazine as it expands its worldwide readership to China with bilingual issues now available in Chinese. Beginning with “Happiness”, its 83rd issue, COLORS provides Mandarin speakers with stories from around the globe, starting with an exploration of Bhutan and its Gross National Happiness survey and moving on to “Living Funeral” therapy in South Korea, before checking in with llama (yes, the animal) psychotherapists in Washington, U.S.A.
Creative director Patrick Waterhouse said COLORS isn’t just for graphic designers looking for inspiration; it’s for people who want to learn about their world.
War-themed wedding photos in Jiangsu, China
Waterhouse visited Beijing and Shanghai in May to present the magazine’s narratives to the cities’ top art students, showing pictures and animations of COLORS’ journey from 1991, when photographer Oliviero Toscani and art director Tibor Kalman conceived a magazine that would boldly declare “diversity is good” and that every culture is equally as important when examining social matters.
While adding to the magazine’s more than 15 available languages doesn’t necessarily mean it will provide more China coverage than before, COLORS now offers a more streamlined opportunity to hear China’s voice through its Notebook project, which allows readers to buy blank copies of COLORS and create their own version of the magazine. Ivan Liu, director of Nong Art in Shanghai, is collecting submissions for his design space from individuals or teams and is hoping to build a “portrait of contemporary China, an insight of feelings, thoughts, values and Chinese people’s everyday lives.” In past years, the COLORS Notebook project has been exhibited in art spaces around the world, including the Shanghai Art Museum in 2007.
Yearlong subscriptions to COLORS in China are now available online for RMB280; for a comprehensive look at some of its very first editions, check out COLORS: Tibor Kalman, Issues 1-13 by clicking on the widget below.