A weird trending political subculture about a former president of China, Jiang Zemin (as president of China from 1989 to 2004) is swirling over Chinese Internet. Although Jiang’s footage of being questioned by a Hong Kong journalist was shot in 2001, his video recently has been went viral in 2014.
When asked whether the administrator of Hong Kong is appointed without a democratic election, Jiang was furious. In this 10 minutes video, he deliberately expressed his anger with aggressive facial expressions, radical body movements and heavily accented Mandarin, Cantonese and even English. His words “Too young, too simple, sometimes naive.” have been widely accepted as buzzwords. Though censorship has taken nearly all of videos off the internet, it still can’t stop people’s enthusiasm and discussion.
More video footages has been discovered and uploaded on to websites, more people are finding him an amusing, honest leader instead of a figure of fake politician.
An article from “The Economist” explained this subculture explicitly. In the last paragraph of the article, Greyscape was implied as “Some have taken to buying mobile-phone cases, flash drives or T-shirts adorned with the former president’s thick-rimmed glasses.”
Founding of Greyscape
Seeing a mouth pad, with Jiang’s pop phrases printed on it, I decided to design my own parodies of Mr. Jiang myself. On March 26th, 2016, I setup a online store with a designed logo. The name, Room301 implies the hospital, Beijing 301 hospital, one of the best medical centers in the country. Many leaders of China were considered to get medical treatment here. The logo, which is a parody of Room301's pronunciation. Later, the name was changed to Greyscape for dodging censorship.
Although Taobao.com, which was founded by internet tycoon Jack Ma is the biggest and the most popular online sales platform in China, I chose weidian.com. Knowing my designs and products are highly sensitive and Taobao is known for its close connection with the Chinese government. Things were proven to be right after several months, when I expanded my business on Taobao, my account was silenced twice with the reason of political sensitive products.
As the chief and the only designer for the studio, the following designs, photos and renderings were all done by myself.
My first phone case design was about his notorious video in the year of 2000. Inspired by the format of ancient Chinese scripts, the case is very heavy in texts. The texture is hard and crispy to keep the case thin. Most of my target buyers are male and they prefer phones with color of black front panel over white front panel. As a result, the side material is transparent, making the front panel is not surrounded with a unmatched white rim.
A handheld photograph was taken to show its detail in texts and material. As well as showing the size of words.
The second phone case design is about a poem Jiang quoted. With significantly less texts, I was able to use bigger fonts and picking a different case material. A matte black base case was picked to increase its durability. Also the material has a rubberized feeling, making it easier to hold.