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Exhibition tells the story of book cover design



Book covers from Kim Đồng Publishing House at the Vietnamese Book Cover Art 2022 exhibition.  Photo Lương Thu Hương

HÀ NỘI  As the saying goes, “You should never judge a book by it’s cover, but let’s be honest, it’s always the cover that catches your eye”.

More than 700 book cover designs have gone on display at an exhibition in Hà Nội.

Organised by Graphics Association 2 under the Việt Nam Fine Arts Association, Vietnamese Book Cover Art 2022 aims to honour the creativity and talent of graphic artists and designers.

The designs are the work of 55 artists across the nation, and feature books released by six major publishers – the Education Publishing House, Kim Đồng Publishing House, Women Publishing House, Fine Arts Publishing House, and Nhã Nam and Thái Hà Books.

“Book cover art is associated with the art of graphic design and the publishing sector,” said artist/book cover designer Hồ Trọng Minh. 

“If the logo represents the brand and the packaging shows the product contained inside, the cover of the book provides a condensed overview and hints the content.

“Each book cover is a story about the content and images inside. Nowadays, book covers are presented in a variety of genres — art, literature, cultural research, science or textbooks, business and dictionaries. Each of which has a different design style that could be easily recognised at a glance.

“The design of a beautiful cover aims to meet the requirements of the content and at the same time, present the artists’ own styles.”

Việt Nam’s publishing market has grown significantly in recent years. In 2021, it is estimated that 4 million copies of 33,000 titles were sold, fetching a revenue of nearly VNĐ3,000 billion (US$131 million).

‘Ambassador of cultural products’

A cover of Vietnamese classic children’s book, Dế Mèn Phiêu Lưu Ký (Adventures of a Cricket) was drawn in 1959 by artist Ngô Mạnh Lân.  Photo Lương Thu Hương

 “If there are two books with exactly the same content, but one of the two has a better cover, readers and buyers will certainly pick the one with a more beautiful cover,” Ngô Xuân Khôi, chief artist of the Women’s Publishing House, said.

“Without a doubt, book covers play an increasingly decisive role as the ‘ambassadors’ of cultural products. We all know that the signal on the cover reaches the readers at the speed of light. It is considered the first level of reading, having the power to attract readers to the content of the book very strongly.”

“The role of book covers is shifting from merely protecting the inner pages to advertising and at the same time, conveying the content,” Khôi said.

“Designers are still trying to push designs to their limits in hopes of attracting more sales. It is now reasonable for the designs of book covers to harmonise two factors – art and revenue,” he told Thanh Niên (Youth) newspaper.

The artist noted that book cover designs would evolve even stronger with the rapid growth of the Internet and eBooks. Their role will become even more important than ever as they are considered as a versatile tool to sell books online to large readers all over the world.

Khôi added: “Being distinctive from other art forms, book cover designs increasingly demands professional and well-trained artists. It is is a harmonious combination of four elements: text, images, colours, and layout.

“How to convey contents attractively, impressively and differently on a narrow scale while still ensuring the invisible strict limits of legal institutions and fine customs is a difficulty that every book cover designer has to overcome.”

Vietnamese Book Cover Art 2022 exhibition is the first of its kind held in Việt Nam. It will run until May 15 at the Fine Arts Exhibition House, 16 Ngô Quyền Street, Hà Nội. 



Closing ceremony to send farewell to remember



Lê Hương

Artists are in a rush to prepare for a magnificent art show to end the SEA Games 31 at Hà Nội’s Mỹ Đình Indoor Athletics Palace to send a warm farewell to regional friends, according to organisers.

Nguyễn Tuyết Hoa, Marketing Manager of the Việt Nam Opera & Ballet Theatre, said the art show at the closing ceremony on May 23 would be completely different from that in the opening ceremony.

“We will make the closing as a music gala with a long-lasting echo, feelings and inspiration, and send the warm greetings of the hosts Việt Nam to neighbouring friends,” she said.

Stage ready for the closing ceremony. Photo Cccourtesy of organisers

The stage will be built with modern equipment such as an led screen and the most up-to-date technology system. The closing ceremony will take place at 8pm for 90 minutes and will be broadcast on VTV channels.

The theme of the show will be “Converge and Shine”.

“During the two-year pandemic, most sport and art activities were stopped,” Hoa said.

“The SEA Games 31 in Việt Nam is a big convergence, where regional athletes flock. They have competed and shined during the past two weeks. The closing ceremony will be the moment to praise and spread their spirit.”

With that theme running through, the art show will open with a dance with traditional conical hats by Dance Group 218, which expresses technology combined with traditional Vietnamese features.

Images of the capital Hà Nội will be represented at the show to say goodbye to athletes: a Thăng Long – Hà Nội holy land with talented people symbolising the strength of the country; a sparkling city with romantic and peaceful moments; beautiful girls wearing áo dài (traditional long dress); and flower sellers in the streets.

“We will review the most moving moments of the sports teams, volunteers and organising members, and the sweat, tears, injuries and smiles of the victories,” Hoa said.

 “The Farewell” will highlight distinctive Vietnamese culture performed by 100 Quan họ (love duet) folk singers, who will sing ancient songs of Bắc Ninh,

According to director Hoàng Công Cường, the whole team of 90 artists include various noted names such as Văn Mai Hương, Uyên Linh, Đông Hùng, Khánh Linh, Dương Hoàng Yến, Bảo Trâm, Phạm Anh Duy and Hà Nhi.

Director Hoàng Công Cường in a rehearsal for the show. Photo courtesy of the director

The host flag will be handed over to Cambodian representatives. After that, artists from Cambodia will have a performance of “Cambodia Welcoming and Blessing” to introduce their country, people and culture.

The performance will include the Rose Dance, White Pigeon contemporary dance, and the song “Cambodia Welcoming and Blessing.”

Artist Thanh Hiền, producing manager of the opening and closing ceremony, said Cambodian artists would transmit a message of regional integration, connecting international friends and looking forward to the next SEA Games.

The palace has a stage of 800sq.m and an led screen of 580sq.m. Some 200 tonnes of equipment will be prepared to serve the show.

“The whole team of 400 people will spare no effort to offer a high-quality show with the best sound and light effects,” Cường said.


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Hà Nội Cuisine Festival opens



Lê Hương

HÀ NỘI — The Hà Nội Cuisine and Handicraft Villages Tourism Festival has opened to visitors in Lê Quang Đạo Street in Nam Từ Liêm District (opposite the F1 track) to entertain SEA Games visitors.

The event gathers hundreds of handicraft villages, artisans and food suppliers in the city and throughout the country.

The festival introduces the top dishes of the city and some neighbouring localities, typical handicraft villages, which offer tourism services, and demonstrations of traditional handicrafts.

The event introduces the best dishes of the capital. — Photo Hoàng Lân

Bamboo booths host cuisine spaces offering popular dishes such as rice pancakes, shrimp cakes, coffee, young rice cake, and tea scented with lotus from the West Lake.

Handicraft shops introduce notable villages like Vạn Phúc Silk Village, Bát Tràng Ceramic Village and Sơn Đồng Wood Craft Village, where visitors can listen to guides explaining the village production processes.

“This festival aims to advertise the images and destinations of Hà Nội’s tourism and introduce local cuisine to both domestic and foreign visitors,” said Nguyễn Thị Mai Anh, deputy director of Hà Nội Investment, Trade and Tourism Centre, at the opening ceremony on Friday night.

The event highlights the importance of cuisine and handicraft villages as tourism products to contribute to the local economy and preserve intangible heritage, she said.

Hà Nội has been considered a hub of delicious dishes, which represent the creativity and talent of local residents.

She said that the city had been voted as a city with alluring cuisine by various international travel magazines.

Hà Nội hosts more than 1,350 handicraft villages, many of which are popular destinations for tourists.

The festival will last until May 23, and is part of a series of activities to advertise the capital as a safe, friendly and attractive destination. —


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Pink Silk collection accentuates northern highland folk traditions




Designer Thuỷ Nguyễn’s new collection, ‘Tơ Hồng’ (Pink Silk), comprises 30 designs that are themed on ethnic women who live in remote northern highland areas. Photo courtesy of Thuỷ Design House

HCM CITY— Northern highland women and their lifestyle is the premise of a new collection called Tơ Hồng (Pink Silk) by designer Thuỷ Nguyễn. 

The collection comprises 30 designs for women in cotton, silk and satin in vivid colours like blue, red and pink that the designer has created after visiting northern mountainous areas and interacting with the ethnic minority women who live there. 

She said she was inspired by both the remote areas and how the women lived their lives there.


The new collection by designer Thuỷ Nguyễn, ‘Tơ Hồng’ (Pink Silk), reflects the nation’s folk traditions in vivid colours. Photo courtesy of Thuỷ Design House

 Each design in the collection is linked to stories and dreams that the women living in remote mountainous areas nurture, she added. 

Designer Thuỷ Nguyễn (centre) and fashion models from HCM City. Photo courtesy of Thuỷ Design House

 “I want to highlight Vietnamese folk culture and lifestyle through my designs,” said 41-year-old Thuỷ, founder of the Thuỷ Design House fashion brand. 

A Hà Nội native, she studied painting at a university in Ukraine in 2003 and went on to become a self-taught fashion designer. She opened her first store in HCM City in 2011. 

In 2016, she was invited to be a costume designer for Cô Ba Sài Gòn (The Tailor), an award-winning romantic comedy produced by movie star and producer Ngô Thanh Vân.

The film features Vietnamese women living in Sài Gòn (now HCM City) in the 1960s. Its leading character, actress Ninh Dương Lan Ngọc of HCM City, was named the Face of Asia at the 22nd Busan International Film Festival in South Korea in 2017. 

For Cô Ba Sài Gòn, Thủy created many áo dài (traditional Vietnamese dress) for the actors to wearShe said she loves working with Vietnamese satin, silk and velvet. 

Thuỷ is still involved in painting and the arts. She is a founder of The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre, an institution in HCM City that encourages young artists in different fields.   


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