Experimental discussion on the use of paper-cut art symbols in home product design

In today’s world, with the great abundance of material society, people’s spiritual needs are also expanding, and in order to meet this material and spiritual needs, more and more traditional Chinese elements are used in design creation, and paper-cutting as a cultural form that integrates material and spiritual civilization is the most well-known, the most common and the most tenacious traditional art, and is even more well inherited and Designers integrate the traditional art symbol of paper-cutting and its revelation into the design concept, which enhances the cultural meaning of the product and at the same time conveys the Chinese atmosphere and emotion.

Overview of paper-cutting art symbols

Chinese paper-cutting originated in the Han Dynasty and became quite mature during the North and South Dynasties, reaching a real flourishing period after the mid-Qing Dynasty. Paper cutting, also called paper carving, is a kind of hollow art, which visually gives people the feeling of hollowing and artistic enjoyment. Its carrier can be paper, gold and silver foil, bark, leaves, cloth, leather and other sheet materials.

All meaningful material forms in the world are symbols, and paper-cutting as a meaningful material form has undergone thousands of years of development, part of which still maintains its traditional value, while the other part gradually changes to decorative. As people’s perceptions have changed, paper-cutting today is no longer bound to traditional styles and techniques, but is seen as a historical and local symbol. Paper-cutting conveys the connotation and essence of traditional culture in its own specific expressive language.

As one of the traditional Chinese folk decorative arts, paper-cutting has a long history and is a folk art native to China, formed and developed during the long-term production and practical activities of working people.

As more and more people pay attention to traditional folk art, the art of paper-cutting is gaining more and more attention and its status has become important. Objectively speaking, paper-cutting is a cultural phenomenon, which not only has the inheritance of modeling forms, but also has its own unique deep specific artistic connotation, which not only has appreciation value, but also has strong practical value and is widely used in design life.

On May 20, 2006, paper-cutting art heritage was approved by the State Council to be included in the first batch of national intangible cultural heritage list.

The use of paper-cutting art symbols in home design

Due to the special technique of paper-cutting, it was first used in graphic design. With the understanding of paper-cutting and its innovation, paper-cutting has been gradually used in many design fields such as products, animation, urban sculpture and environmental art, especially in household products.

Nowadays, household products are not only limited to meet their functions but more and more begin to pursue the value of the spiritual and cultural aspects of the products, combining paper-cutting symbols with them to convey the emotion, aesthetics and culture of household products to users.

The image in paper-cutting is an abstract generalization of the original object, but it is often more prominent and compelling than the original object because paper-cutting originates from real life and is a high summary and distillation of real life. The designer combines his own life experience in the design of home products, processes the material of life, extracts the most essential things, and recreates the art of paper-cutting so that it can be well integrated into the home products.

1.The use of paper-cut modeling symbols in household products

The concept of paper-cutting is mainly divided into two techniques, yin and yang, using black and white and lines to convey a vivid and evocative artistic effect. In the design of household products, the concept of combining yin and yang of paper-cutting is used to design, using an overall relationship between reality and reality, which can enhance the sense of hierarchy conveyed by the whole product.

Designers sometimes use the paper-cut shape as a direct element in their designs, and sometimes indirectly infiltrate the paper-cut shape principle into the product design. For example, designer Yoann Yennry Yvon’s “SIMPLE Creative Furniture” is a series of furniture inspired by paper-cutting, but instead of blindly copying the symbols of paper-cutting, the effective information is extracted from the yin and yang cutting techniques of paper-cutting, and the legs of the table and chairs look like they are cut out from the main body. The legs of the table and chair look like they are cut from the main body.

Modeling is the main medium for conveying product information, and the modeling symbols of paper-cutting will sometimes directly affect the emotional changes of people and accompany the rich association of thinking. The reasonable use of paper-cutting symbols to home products, not only can express the function of the product, but also play a good decorative role.

For example, the design of “paper-cut clock” directly uses the shape of paper-cutting, following the design principle of less is more, no digital hints, giving us enough room for imagination, simple structure design, suitable for various styles of living room.

Home life is also common in the design of lamps and lanterns, traditional lamps and lanterns mainly rely on their own shape and material to show a sense of light, and the paper-cut symbols added to the design of lamps and lanterns, on the basis of the lighting function, but also adds a cultural connotation, while using the characteristics of the paper-cut hollow, so that the light from the hollow pattern to produce a wonderful effect of light and shadow, to add a home space cultural atmosphere.

2.The use of paper-cut color symbols in home products

Color is an abstract language, and in traditional paper-cutting art, the use of color becomes a subjective symbol that conveys information to users, evokes emotional changes, has a certain emotional value and conveys a rich cultural connotation.

The color of paper-cutting is characterized by bright, bright, bright, in the festive season, newlyweds, birthday and some other festivals like red and other bright colors of paper-cutting to carry out a kind of indoor decoration, not only to set up a festive atmosphere, but also to bring people the enjoyment of beauty, such as “paper-cutting fruit plate” design, the Oriental paper-cutting and modern The mix of Oriental paper-cutting and modern life, decorate the home atmosphere, so that the desktop fluttering out of romance and relaxation.

3.The use of paper-cutting emotional symbols in home products

Paper-cutting is a part of China’s traditional culture that cannot be ignored. It is an art that integrates material and spiritual civilization, is deeply rooted in the soil of the nation, is widely expressed in folk beliefs and living customs, and can distinctly reflect the most basic psychological characteristics, aesthetic interests and values of the general public in China.

Its existence is dependent on a specific cultural background and living environment, and a paper cut, no matter what occasion it is used in, must have an emotional symbol that it conveys.

When examining a work, what we look for is not only the eye-catching appearance, but more importantly, the expression of an emotion and cultural symbolism.

Everyone has their own emotional world, and with different identities, ages and genders, their personalities, hobbies, interests, habits and pursuits will be different, and the emotions they pursue will also be different. By understanding a culture and emotion conveyed by paper-cutting symbols, the product design is well integrated with it.

In the process of designing a product, we must first have a clear positioning of the crowd, and understand the crowd’s demand for emotion and culture, and use some cultural symbols in the paper-cutting elements to express their emotions and meet their emotional needs. For example, Figure 2-4 “leap dragon gate” book stand design, the idea comes from the carp leap dragon gate in paper-cutting, with the carp leap dragon gate in the symbolic meaning of success, good fortune, success in school to pray for the students, adding interesting and beautiful visual effects, highlighting the use value of the book stand, giving its emotions and aspirations for a better life.

A product can only be more culturally significant and not abandoned by the times if the cultural background of the product is continuously explored and the meaning of its cultural symbols is discovered.   

4.Paper-cutting regional symbols in the use of home products

A side of the land to raise a side of the people, there is always a certain regional differences between the north and south, such as heating in the north and air conditioning in the south; dumplings in the north and dumplings in the south ……, different regional customs, cultural differences, and therefore brought the regional paper-cutting style, such as Hebei paper-cutting good use of color, Shaanxi paper-cutting rugged and exuberant, Guangdong paper-cutting gilded, Jiangsu paper cuttings delicate and playful, Shandong, Shanxi paper cuttings simple and steady …….

In today’s globalization wave, the global and regional issues have attracted widespread attention from the design community. The more national the world, the more regional is an important part of national style, and people are beginning to realize the existence of regional in the design of home products, which is related to the appearance of the city and people’s life. Therefore, the focus of regionalism in the design of home products should be on the excavation of historical and cultural elements, emphasizing regionalism, expressing tradition in a new language, and combining meaningful elements with products to innovate.


With the development of a diversified society, the design style of household products is also diversified. The full and reasonable use of paper-cutting as a traditional symbol in the design of household products, while expressing the function of the product, can also play a decorative effect, and more importantly, gives culture and emotion to the product, bringing the distance between people and products, and adding new vitality to the product design.

Paper-cutting art is a bold creation of imagination of the original shape of things, it is a long-term accumulation of the art of life, an inheritance and development of traditional culture. It comes from our life, but is higher than our life, and at the same time serves our life.

In the home product design, we cannot simply design with the vision of the current era, nor can we simply use the paper-cutting symbols and other traditional elements of appearance, but should analyze the paper-cutting culture from different angles on the basis of grasping its cultural spirit, looking for design elements to be creatively used; from the environment in which the product is located and the background cultural connotation to conduct a comprehensive and profound analysis to establish A new view of home design with cultural connotation.