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Sun Xiuying: PKU Hall Poster Designer

MAY . 08 2015
Peking University, May. 8,2015: Ten years ago, when Sun Xiuying lost her way on PKU campus for the written test of poster designer, she never anticipated that the poster boards of PKU Hall would become the canvas where she sketches her inspiration. On her poster for “Swan Lake,” the reflection of dancers on water becomes graceful swans. “Perhaps only meticulous people could notice the design details,” said Sun. Having devoted herself to PKU Hall for ten years, Sun has been in the habit of carefulness as well as perfectionism.


Being a perfectionist

Sun Xiuying is the most qualified designer among the three who are working for PKU Hall. With a calm and reserved disposition, she has not only accomplished most of the performance and movie poster design work, but made the Visual Identification System of PKU Hall.

In other people’s eyes, Sun constantly seeks for perfection. Zhang Yu, one of Sun’s colleagues, said that Sun could make three different design copies and pick out the best one, while other designers could make just one within the same time. Even for the same performance every year, Sun will design different but always amazing poster boards. According to herself, the perfectionism has been in her since college time.

Thanks to the internship experience in college, Sun has been very familiar with all the design procedures. Thus making poster boards for PKU Hall today is not a big challenge for her. However, the smoothness today did not come smoothly at all. On the third day of Sun’s being in PKU Hall, she was assigned to make the “PKU Hall” journal, which was a huge challenge for the then inexperienced Sun. Despite all the difficulties, she accomplished the project perfectly.

Sun’s favorite play is “Rhinoceros in Love” by Meng Jinghui. She said it was the creative setting, and the imaginative and reckless freedom-seeking ideas that inspired her to break from her former styles. And now Sun has designed nearly 1000 poster boards. When asked about the most satisfying one, she said, “my best work always comes next.”


Poster for "Rhinoceros in Love" in 2009



Poster for "Rhinoceros in Love" in 2014

Art as an ideal

Sun’s inspiration for designing also stems from her love for classic art, books and traditional culture. She is an earnest reader of picture albums in PKU Library. By adopting Japanese artistic idea “contradiction space”, she created an ambiguous vision in a two-dimensional plane.

This sensitivity and pursuit of art originated from Sun’s childhood. She was influenced by her mother when she was young, and was determined to pursue her dream of art in high school and finally attended an academy of fine arts to learn graphic design.

When in college, knowing that there were numerous talented students around, Sun worked harder than most of her classmates. She often sat in the library and painted for a whole day. And her hard work brought her scholarships every year, with which she could buy more picture albums and tools.

Sun’s first job was to make models for real-estate agent in a Sino-Japanese joint venture company. But the continual staying up, the dusty working environment and unalterable daily routine exhausted her passion and drove her to quit. When she saw the recruiting advertisement of PKU Hall, the passion for art rekindled and she decided to take a try.


Inspiration drew from "contradiction space"

A Dream Catcher

In August, 2005, Sun was late for the written test for PKU Hall poster designer, but still she finished the test within time limit. A week later, she brought a pile of hand-painted works of her own to the interview, and was immediately enrolled after the interview was over. Three months later, she finished her internship and became an official stuff in PKU Hall.

Ten years have passed. Sun has her dream job and lives a stable life in Peking University. She still keeps her various hobbies, such as making little palm-size books, collecting objects like tags, brochures, toothpaste boxes and embroidered shoes. The PKU Hall has become a home of her, giving her comfort as she lives in Beijing alone. And she paid back with ten years of attentive work.

“I’ve devoted my youth to PKU Hall.” She said. Her devotion further kindles the love for art of many others on campus.

Written by: Xiao Yunyun
Edited by: Li Ruiqi
Source: PKU Youth (Wechat)