Our Story

RED TYPE INK is a retail brand and design studio with a mission to create innovative products that broaden awareness and appreciation of 20th Century Chinese art and design.

RED TYPE INK was born in the laneways and markets of Shanghai. It began with the discovery of small and fragile booklets hidden away among thousands of key-chains, ashtrays and teapots. The images contained within these pamphlets were simple, powerful and often surprisingly sublime. Intricate woodcuts, delicate paper-cuts, bold pen and ink drawings. Printed in varying shades of red and black, the works depicted a vast array of scenes and portraits drawn from the very fabric of life.

"It was my curiosity to uncover the origins of these images," says founder Lewis Rubenstein, "that led me to a small museum located in the basement of an apartment complex in Shanghai’s elegant French Concession. There I had the good fortune to meet Yang Pei Ming, the owner and curator of the Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Center (see Shanghai Collection). Yang has amassed over 4,000 posters, woodcuts and ephemera dating back to the beginning of the Chinese Revolution in 1949. His museum was a treasure trove of stunning artifacts and he was eager to share it with a broader audience.

For me, the experience was magical. It continued with several more trips to China to select and photograph posters from the Art Centre and, through the encouragement of designer Bryan Gee, to continue collecting printed ephemera from the period (see Red and Black Collectionthat could become the building blocks for a wide range of products and design objects. What began with a leisurely stroll through a market in Shanghai quickly transformed the course of my life."