The Golden Dragon Wok: A Visual Survey of the Evocative Essence of Chinese Restaurant Signage Designs in an American Chinatown

By Kok Cheow Yeoh.

Published by The International Journal of Visual Design

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Ethnic entrepreneurs in America often carve out an economic niche in the food and beverage industry, showcasing restaurants as an authentic experience especially in American Chinatowns. The main goal of this research is to offer a visual analysis in explaining how design elements found in San Francisco’s Chinatown restaurant signage contribute to their gastronomic identity. A total of sixty-three restaurants were analyzed using a framework based on the interactions between elements, their characteristics and their interactions as put forth by designer and educator John Bowers. Ninety percent of the eateries positioned Chinese characters above and before English alphabets on their main signboards, fostering a visual significance in contributing to the gastronomic identity of Chinese restaurants in San Francisco, California.

Keywords: Signage, Typography, Chinese, Chinatown, Restaurant, Gastronomy, San Francisco, Elements, Principles, Design, Graphic, Dim-Sum, Globalism, Social, Identity

The International Journal of Visual Design, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp.1-17. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 967.835KB).

Dr. Kok Cheow Yeoh

Assistant Professor, Fine Arts Department, Indiana University Southeast, New Albany, Indiana, USA