The Netherworld

Thesis '19

This is my thesis project that I finished recently. My thesis explores how graphic design plays a role in the construction of a virtual world. I developed a contemporary graphic language to reimagine an ancient Chinese mythology, The Netherworld.

I started researching about graphic props in films and animation scenes, and realized the importance and power of them. Even though most of the time they were in background, and hardly noticed by the viewer, with all the design decisions being made, the color palette, the typeface, the material, the graphic… the pieces were brought to life, and built a bridge between the reality and the virtual world.

Due to my great interest in mythology, I decided to borrow the Netherworld as my creative theme. I was able to collect extensive historical references, materials, and stories about the afterlife world in China, that further helped with content creation and experimentation. Instead of giving it a traditional look, I would like to challenge the consistent impression of ancient mythology, and redefine it with a more contemporary form. By thinking critically, I want to challenge the boundaries between old and new, traditional and contemporary, as well as eastern and western.

I am also aware of individual cultural background as a premise of understanding metaphor, humor, historical reference, and puns in design works. While facing audience from a different cultural background, It is challenging for me to to think about and how to translate metaphors across culture, how to arouse sympathy, how to create the storytelling experience that encourages them to interactive, and makes them feel connected.

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