NewsGolden Pin Concept Design Award

Taiwan Road Font won 2018 Golden Pin Concept Design Award.


Without a closer look, you may overlook all kinds of font styles in your city. From billboards, news tickers, to crosswalks, fonts are everywhere. Scootering in the city inspires designer Tom Liou to transform long and skinny characters on road into Taiwan Road Font. Over the past five years, he has compiled font features exclusive to roads in Taiwan, and won Golden Pin Concept Design Award in 2018. We ask him about the next steps, and design experiences after the award.


Tom Liou, the designer of Taiwan Road Font.


An external and internal evolution

While fonts on road are used in specific contexts, Taiwan Road Font is designed more for graphic publications and decorations. Tom Liou has studied design works from Japan and Hong Kong, visited technicians who have written words on road for 30 years, and included their signature curve styles. This set of Taiwanese fonts is created gradually while Liou keeps his full-time job. What’s his motivation over time? “The motivation includes encouragement from others and personal realization,” he answers.


The third generation of Taiwan Road Font.


Positive responses are certainly beyond expectation to him. Being selected into high school art textbooks is a recognition and driver. “When I hear it is included into textbooks, I can visualize disappointments in high school students in future if this font is not completed. It’s a hard feeling to me as a designer.” So far, Liou has created nearly 5,000 characters in the set. If students are able to use this font in Microsoft Word, and aware of road cultures, he would consider these efforts as a minor contribution to Taiwan.


Taiwan Road Font is included in high-school textbooks.


Personal realization refers to his pursuits and reflections on career. The award is a key recognition to him with a full-time job. At the moment, he is eager to prove that “office workers can still work on their own ambitions after work”. He also believes that, besides getting to and leaving office, there are other options in life. “If I can complete such a difficult challenge, it may be encouraging to other people who have dreams but struggle in their careers,” says Liou. Good fonts not only last forever, but also become his “digital legacies”.


Upgraded Taiwan Road Font

However, font design is definitely not an easy task. When will he ever finish thousands of Chinese characters? He admits that quantity is one major obstacle to design Chinese fonts, but it’s also why fonts are exceptional. He also cares a lot about quality. It would be especially frustrating to spend so much time and efforts delivering sub-standard results.


Visible differences between the first (up) and third (down) generation.


There are notable differences between the concept font in 2018 and the third generation now. He decided to start everything from scratch in 2019. Why does the current version look a bit shorter? “I thicken each stroke, and ensure consistency in hook and erect elements,” Liou explains. “These modifications are designed for real use cases and product consistency. Shorter characters can put even weights for many use cases. Thicker lines give more weights when are used in article titles. Consistency and rules will reduce awkward glitches when reading through texts.”


The third generation of Taiwan Road Fonts; the simulated use cases of for print materials and billboards.


After creating 5,000 characters, he needs to review them. He confesses that “iterative modification and comparison is the most exhausting process” as questions and doubts emerge in mind. Rather than indulging in negative and internal conflicts, he figures that the best solution is to “confront and resolve issues”.


I will complete the font!

After the award, Liou learns to live with pressure. “Pressure does not come from the award itself,” he says. “It begins with my personal commitment to myself.” It is a long-term battle. With a full-time job, he has to give up most entertainment after work. “Every character counts, and it accumulates over time.” He also believes sacrifices are inevitable, “or I won’t be able to keep my promise and complete the font”.


The third generation of Taiwan Road Fonts.


The third generation of Taiwan Road Font continues to evolve towards a finished product.


Liou is committed to turning the concept into product. While designer may have many ideas, it’s quite another story to put them into productions. “It’s not enough to have good ideas. How long does it take bring a product to market? How many efforts are required? Designers should do much more than drawing.” He also hopes Gold Pin can support emerging designers, and introduce them to other professional areas, such as marketing and packaging. As a result, design values and visibility will be elevated.


If you have innovative designs and concepts, don’t forget to participate in 2021 Golden Pin Design Award and Gold Pin Concept Design Award, and introduce your great works.


𝐆𝐨𝐥𝐝𝐞𝐧 𝐏𝐢𝐧 𝐃𝐞𝐬𝐢𝐠𝐧 𝐀𝐰𝐚𝐫𝐝​ 𝐂𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐄𝐧𝐭𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐬​ ​

∎ Early-bird Registration: 1st April - 30th June (GMT+8 Taipei)​
∎ General Registration: 1st July - 15th July *17:00 (GMT+8 Taipei)​
∎ Awards Categories: Product Design / Communication Design / Spatial Design / Integration Design​
∎ Entry Qualifications: Design entry must be a completed (not concept) design work or project.​
∎ Registration Inquiries:​


𝐆𝐨𝐥𝐝𝐞𝐧 𝐏𝐢𝐧 𝐂𝐨𝐧𝐜𝐞𝐩𝐭 𝐃𝐞𝐬𝐢𝐠𝐧 𝐀𝐰𝐚𝐫𝐝​ 𝐅𝐢𝐧𝐚𝐥 𝐂𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐄𝐧𝐭𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐬​

∎ Registration Deadline: 22nd June *17:00 (GMT+8 Taipei)​
∎ Awards Categories: Product Design / Communication Design / Spatial Design / Integration Design​
∎ Entry Qualifications: Entries are open to works that will not be manufactured or sold on the market before December 31, 2021. (Projects commissioned by a client and projects in active development are ineligible.)​
∎ Entry Fee: FREE​
∎ Registration Inquiries:​