We almost wonder whether Yang Liu, a Beijing-born designer who has lived in Germany since 1990, was tripping when she put together these hip, riddle-like pictographs that abstractly convey behavioral differences between Westerners and Easterns; or more specifically, Germans and Chinese.

Relying on her experiences in Europe and China, Liu put together these clever designs that are a sort of Rorschach test for which region you identify with. We found ourselves staring and trying to figure out what they stood for, then nodding in agreement about one side or the other, but not always the side Liu expected us to identify with.

Of course, it’s never good to make gross generalizations about entire groups of people – we’re sure there are a lot of Germans who do sort of meander around what they really want to say hoping the listener will get the hint, and we have plenty of Chinese friends who actually do know how to line up properly. So, do take these with a grain of salt.

Most of these are pretty easy to figure out at a glance, but a few require some deeper thinking, so we’ll be putting the explanations for the photos after each one rather than before. Germany is represented on the left (in blue), while China is on the right (in red):

cul14How they prefer to approach problems.

cul1How they give opinions.

culHow they form lines.

cul2How they see themselves.

cul3How they feel about showing up on time.

cul4Patterns for how they form human connections.

cul5How they express their feelings.


cul8What the street looks like on a Sunday (apparently).

cul9What a party might look like from above.

cul10Noise levels in a restaurant.

cul12How they capture memories.

cul13Ideals of beauty (with Germans preferring women with darker skin and Chinese putting fair-skinned women on a pedestal).

cul15Temperatures of a typical day of meals.

cul16Preferred transportation.

cul17How typical old folks like to spend their days.

cul18Bathing preferences.

cul19How they feel about weather.

cul20How the boss is treated.

cul21Food trends.

cul22The role of a child.

cul23How people feel about triangles. (Just kidding, it’s how they feel about trendy consumer goods.)

cul24How each group stereotypes the other.

That last one there could sort of be used as a commentary on the entire work! We commend Liu’s creativity even as we question the overall accuracy of many of these pictographs. And, as much as we’d like to discourage stereotyping, we’re curious to hear what you folks feel are some habits and character traits of people from your own cultures. Let us know in the comments!

Images via

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