– The inaugural winners of the Yidan Prize, an award to revolutionize global education development, will be announced next month. Yidan Prize Foundation had the honor to invite Dr Kan Tai-keung, the retired internationally renowned master in graphic design, to return to the frontline. Tapping into five decades of insights gained from his stellar design career, Dr Kan has come out of retirement for crafting a brand story with a global vision for Yidan Prize.
The Yidan Prize logo reflects its vision for the world and its important mission, with the overall concept of the design originated from the two Chinese characters “yi” and “dan.” The character “yi” is presented in traditional calligraphy which exudes oriental charm, while the geometric lines running through the character “yi” symbolizes the door to the infinite universe. The red dot inside the door resembles a lotus in full bloom, representing a loyal heart. The overall logo symbolizes the vision and sincerity of educators who seek to build a better world through education.
Professor Kan has been focusing on teaching and engaging in meaningful initiatives since his retirement. In integrating not only the vision of Yidan Prize, but also traditional and modern Chinese styles, Professor Kan has personally designed the award logo, and positioned the mission and philosophy of the Prize. At the same time, he brought forth the story of the Yidan Prize even further by creating two designs respectively for the Yidan Prize for Education Research and Yidan Prize for Education Development.
“As Yidan Prize has a global vision and scale, the medals are the awards’ visual motto. Professor Kan’s design blends modern and traditional Chinese elements to represent endless spiritual and cultural significance, as well as furthers the interpretation of the tireless pursuit of education. I am grateful for this collaboration with Professor Kan, and am in awe of how he enriches the philosophy of Yidan Prize in the artistic realm. We hope that the Yidan Prize Laureates will resonate with the untainted loyal heart — the philosophy behind the Yidan Prize, and with determination they will continue to explore how to best educate, and infuse the awarded research and development projects with sustained vitality,” says Yidan Prize founder Charles Chen Yidan.
Following a fruitful discussion on creative ideas for the medals design between Professor Kan and Charles Chen Yidan, the Yidan Prize will be designed in an abstract yet simple style to express the spirit of Chinese culture, integrating Chinese philosophies including Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism. The medal designs utilize Professor Kan’s signature visual language, including landscape, pine trees, red dot and blank spaces. The craftsmanship was also ingenious — both medals are made of pure gold, which represents the pure heart of the Yidan Prize Laureates in their education research and development.
The ink brush stroke of the character “yi” in the medal design is highlighted by the evergreen pine tree and the mountain rock, an analogy for a firm attitude towards sustained education development. A lone man stands and gazes far ahead among a growing pine tree gives the image of the recipients of the Yidan Prize for Education Development setting their sight on the door that leads to the future of education, and contemplating on the implementation of future education. The lone man sitting leisurely on the pine tree represents how the recipients of the Yidan Prize for Education Research have reached a certain level of achievement, and is meditating on ways to deepen their research.
The main design on the back of the medals includes the symbol of a Western book, but the two medals showcase different number of pages. There are 20 pages for the Yidan Prize for Education Development, and 13 pages for the Yidan Prize for Education Research, symbolizing the twenty chapters of the Analects and the Thirteen Classics respectively. This design carries the meaning of the blending of world cultures.
On working with Yidan Prize, international master in graphic design Dr Kan Tai-keung says, “The overall creative concept for the brand design of Yidan Prize has begun to emerge in my mind since the moment I agreed on the commission. This Prize is an opportunity for me to sum up the creative ideas of my 50 years in design. Looking back at my past, from studying English in night school while joining the workforce, to becoming a teacher in the night school and working hard to develop my design career, I had the firsthand experience of the power for change that education could bring. My precious experience is the rationale behind my deep appreciation to Charles Chen Yidan, for his loyal heart and his vision to create a better world through education. Both of us found it hard to let go of education, as we are both emotionally invested in it.”
The inaugural Yidan Prize Laureates will be announced on 19 September 2017. The above mentioned medals designed by Professor Kan will be presented at the Prize Ceremony to be held in Hong Kong in December, in conjunction with the Yidan Prize Summit.