Ning Chen 陈凝, Graphic Design MFA, 2020

FAKEAT is an online fake food signage generator. It reflects the coexistence and conflict between Chinese culture and Western culture in American society. Participants in FAKEAT can choose one of the four Chinese characters “文化共存” (cultural coexistence) to combine with their favorite Western food to create interesting fake food signage.

Project Overview

In FAKEAT,  Ning Chen creates an an online food signage generator. In the United States, Chinese culture is influenced by western culture, showing the phenomenon of cultural coexistence and integration. This phenomenon is reflected in Chinese American food, such as General Tso‘s Chicken – an American phenomenon. Ning combines the multiple meanings of four Chinese characters – “文化共存” (culture coexistence) with different western food, and creates an online interaction system named FAKEAT, on which participants can make their favorite fake food signage to experience the collision between Chinese and Western cultures.


My concept, that is to convey the coexistence of Chinese culture and Western culture through graphic design language, came from Chinatown in New York City. There, as a Chinese, I feel I was out of this place. This is because of the phenomenon of cultural coexistence. So I decided to use signage as a design form to represent this concept. First of all, I went to Chinatown in New York several times to do field research, and based on these investigations, I did a lot of visual analysis, and finally I created 24 fake food signage. Then I used these signs to make a signage generator, an interactive website. I used HTML, CSS and JavaScript to complete my web page. It’s the first time that I use web language to make web pages. The process is very long and tough. I wrote code using Atom and tested it again and again. Fortunately, I’m satisfied with the final results. Participants can see the randomly generated signature on my website according to their choice. After that, I made four instruction cards to help participants understand my concept. Finally, I made some fridge magnets with the graphics in my signage.


  1. Title slide: FAKEAT
  2. Research Question: How to use Graphic Design language to show culture coexistence phenomenon, and let people really feel it?
  3. Process: Signage, food, and signage generator.
  4. Skills learned: HTML, CSS, JS
  5. Results: Signage generator
  6. Conclusions: What I learned and the future direction of my project.
  7. Acknowledgements: I appreciate everything happened there in Unravel the Code class 2019 : )

Learn More

Ning Chen’s Creative Process Journal site: https://nchen706976981.wordpress.com Ning Chen’s Personal Portfolio site: https://www.ningchen.work/ Ning Chen’s social media account: @christine_nc_ Ning Chen’s Email: nchen03@mica.edu

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