The graphic designer and typeface designer TienMin Liao was born in Taipei, Taiwan, in 1987. After studying advertising in her home country, she then moved to New York where she specialized in graphic design at the Pratt Institute and typeface design at Cooper Union. After gaining experience at various agencies, she started her own business.
Moving from one culture to another sharpened her eye to the fine details of Latin script, kanji and hanzi. She noticed that some companies and institutions fail to translate their messages adequately in terms of typographic details. This is why she started her Bilingual Lettering project, in which she pairs fonts from these heterogeneous writing systems as examples. She showed that despite their heterogeneous origins – Latin script, kanji or hanzi – the characters can harmonize very well with each other. TienMin can thus be understood as a kind of visual interpreter who facilitates and improves communication between cultures.
Her skills are also reflected in the typefaces she designs herself, where the Latin letters and the kanji characters evolve into what she calls “a common life.” Her work has won numerous awards, including at the Morisawa Type Design Competition and from the Tokyo Type Directors Club.