Online portfolio and print on demand catalogs for Graphic Design and Animation graduates from the Department of Design 2012. On this page you will find our conference presentations, and by hovering over the menu groups on the left you can read contextual documents. You are welcome to attend our Grad Show, opening on 29 November 2012 at 6pm, and daily from 30 November to 6 December 9.30am – 4pm.
Subtitle: Contemporizing the art of Chinese Face reading
This project aims to communicate key ideas from the ancient art of Chinese face reading through contemporized design strategies. I have employed strong visuals to highlight the textual contents of this topic to appeal to my targeted audience of 20 to 25 year olds. This informative and interactive publication is a learning system aimed at teaching Chinese face reading to people. It allows an individual to use this technique in various situations such as social gatherings or job interviews to gain insights on the person you have just met. It is also beneficial to further our understanding of what our own natures are through reading physical facial features. Therefore you could be more aware of how others might perceive you.
Social and cultural identification can profile an individual in to a stereotyped category through either physical or materialistic feature. According to James Erskine, “the problem with us is the instinctive judgments we make about people’s appearances”  (The Human Face). Chinese face reading is a tool for people to look beyond the appearances of a person and connect the facial features to human characteristics. This project focuses on human facial features because our face is an important tool we use everyday, it represents who we are to other people. For instance, “our brain searches for the differences from the norms, it looks for features that exaggerate or even heightens them in order to help remember the person next time”  (The Human Face).
People use physical facial features to judge what beauty means in a superficial context. We read and see images of who is beautiful and who is not through the mass media and the media can powerfully influence our opinions on people’s outer appearances. There are different standards of beauty based on facial features; the rules differ in different cultures as “beauty is in the culturally conditioned eye of the beholder”  (A Darwinian theory of beauty). The basic underlying theme of the project is that it is not what you apply to the exterior of your skin; it’s about reading the nature within a person through those facial features. It takes the focus away from deciphering what the superficial layer of our appearances represent and looks at our facial features as a representation of a person’s nature.
The use of digital collage contemporizes the topic of Chinese face reading. It allows different graphic elements to be used on one surface, which is an ideal design strategy for combining the historic and contemporary semiotics of Chinese face reading and European physiognomy. There are several key graphic elements I have employed throughout the design; they are the colour palettes, the idea of pixilation, the grids, the shapes and the textures.
The colour palette revolves around the colour yellow, green, blue, red and brown. These colours historically represent the five natural elements of gold, wood, water, fire and Earth. These natural elements are also part of the knowledge that built the base structure of Chinese metaphysics. It guided and created the principle of how yin and yan were balancing everything in the universe. It funded the basis of other theories such as feng shui, Chinese astrology, face reading and the Ching divination. Chinese face reading is not about fortune telling but to allow an individual to have more information that would lead them to a better understanding of one’s life. Adapting this colour palette to the 1950’s colour range softens the dominance of the original colours. Whilst the work may appear to have a “Pop” style, I have toned down the colours in order to make the whole design look less visually harsh. The soft tonal range creates a mood for the design to relate furthermore on the subject of the human face and simultaneously displaying information about a person’s inner nature. The colour palette also describes the skins tonal range across different cultures. The idea is that Chinese face reading can be used and applied to anyone. Selecting a single colour for each facial feature creates a visual code that helps the reader recognize each feature within the posters. It allowed me to develop a navigation system for the packaging of the unbounded interactive publication.
Pixelation occurs when an image is enlarged to a certain scale and then the screen would display the square pixels that created the image. The idea of pixelation formed by combining the mathematical squared grids that was extracted from the semiotics of Chinese face reading and the European Phrenology. Corresponding to the colour coding and the navigation system, the pixelated patterns are divided in to two colour range groups of red and blue. This decision was made in order to balance the five shades of colours employed in the design. It creates a colour pattern which resembles an enlarged image of the human skin, a microscopic level of how faces were seen by people. It composes a visual rhythm of directions to, “stimulate, amaze and inspire”  (Mes and Miyazaki) the user. The pixelated patterns also gives hint at what the function each facial feature has. In the poster of the ears, the stream of patterns represents sound waves, the lively and unbalanced sounds we hear everyday by using our ears. In the poster of the eyes, it assumes the shapes of things we see such as mountains or towers of buildings.
The idea of the differences between the digital world and reality are suggested through using these patterns as well. It explores the importance of profile photos on cyber networks which encourage us to judge and look at appearances on a superficial level. I have consciously constructed a layered surface using the pixelated patterns in between the collaged image in the foreground of my design and the blended grid as the background. Which, links my design again to the idea of the differences between looking at the surface of the skin and under the skin.
The Grid System
The grid derives from the measurement grid of Chinese face reading, it’s usage is to properly measure mathematical data such as measuring the length of the ear to determine if you have a short or long ear. The grid could also be seen as a construction guide, it makes the layout easier to compose different elements together on one surface. There are two grids that exist in the posters; firstly the almost transparent background grid, where it acts as a structure that occupies the background space. This provides the whole composition with a visual balance between each graphic element. Secondly I have used a deconstructed grid employing a lighter tone of the matched facial feature colour on the posters. This serves the purpose of highlighting the important parts of the poster and creates a visual direction for the readers to flow back and forth from the text and the image. The grid system refers to the semiotic values of the scientific nature of European physiognomy. The idea of looking at the shape of the head to know a persons inner self aligns with the contemporary context of the digital representation each person has on various Internet sites. It takes the role of how we capture and present ourselves through photos that may alter how others perceive us as a person.
The geometric shape of a circle is a very important graphic element due to its historic connection to Chinese face reading, mathematical drawing references and it’s own visual qualities. The circle has a semiotic value in Chinese culture, it represents fulfillment, oneness, perfection and unity. It is the process of becoming the shape of a circle that is valued such as the meaning behind the Chinese mid-autumn festival. It is the time when all the family members get together to celebrate the day that the moon is at it’s fullest. The yin and yang theory also has a perfect circle that is divided by a sinuous line and it’s semiotic value refers to the oneness of conflicting forces inside everything. Circles are used as measurements for life drawings to work out the proportions of the face and the body. By using circles as building blocks, it has made the process of constructing the main graphic element that contains the facial features easier. It crops out unnecessary images and highlights the important parts of the imagery. A hierarchy is also formed starting from the outside to the inside and vice versa. The outward pointing triangular shapes are made up of different vintage textures that links to the image through similar colours. It gives more depth to the vectors on the poster and relates back to the superficial appearance our face symbolizes. The noise the patterns creates forms an outward movement but at the same time it radiates in the shape of a circle. This shape has a smooth and round structure, which generates visual qualities such as simplicity and unity. The holistic view of circles establishes a rhythm of repetition throughout the design. Circles form patterns and vocalizes the emphasis within the composition.
While on the pages of the publication, the circle frames are toned down to blend in with the background but are still able to emphasis the silhouettes of the facial features. The circular frames expands the silhouettes on the page so it occupies the space with it’s visual presence. On the other hand, the frames and the shapes in the posters contains the image from the outer graphic elements. The function is similar to a bulls-eye where the focus is immediately to the center.
There are different textures in the publication including the grid, the vintage textures and silhouettes. The normal grids functions as an illusion of texture on the background and the pixelated patterns provides an enrichment to the mood and the reader’s eyes. The vintage textures within the triangular shapes are used to provoke a feeling of richness and depth. Constructing a contrast between the background and the image but simultaneously building an attraction frame for emphasis and rhythm throughout the series of the posters. The vintage texture relates to the colour palette theme of the 1950’s. The silhouettes that are displayed within the circular frame on the cover pages could be seen as patterns or textures. The size of these images are large enough to occupy a slot on the frame, establishing a balance between the internal and external space. I have used a paper stock for the pages that has a sensory feel which encourages the user to touch it, it imitates the sensation of touching human skin. As for the posters, the paper stock has a slight heavier weight and sensation then the pages to distinguish the differences between the cover and the page.
The four posters introduce what the four main human facial features are and each of the sections of the publication. The intention for the posters is to grab the viewers attention and provide a space for them to wonder what Chinese face reading is about. By using digital collage, I have drawn this ancient subject in to a modern context. Visually capturing the interest of my targeted audience and assisting them to look beyond the surface of appearances. The text and image relationship in each poster is similar, there is the main graphic element that contains the image, the Chinese and English text about the topic and the grids. The visual direction between the first two items are diagonal to achieve a sense of balance within the confined space of background grids. The colourful pixelated patterns are tools to outwardly expand our vision and also to highlight the important part to focus on. These posters will be within the pages, the A5 cover pages folds out as an A3 poster.
The pages aren’t bound so it is easier to maneuver the pages around. Illustrating each type of facial features through smooth vector silhouettes makes the block of text seem less daunting to read. It simplifies the facial feature so that it is easier to interpret and understand. Each silhouette uses the colour it was assigned to to reinforce the colour coding. These covers and pages are able to be put into either one or four booklets, it depends entirely on the user’s interest and the design can therefore be easily re-ordered.
The graphic elements on the cover of this publication are derived from the posters. The cover is both the container of the pages and the introductory page of the publication.
The outcome of this project is an informational pack containing a series of posters within interleaving pages which are the cover and the pages. It mimics the structure of a publication but it is not bound like a normal book. The reason for this decision is to allow the information to have interactivity and could be easily used by the reader. Being able to pull the pages and the covers apart and packing it back together offers the reader greater flexibility than a book. The publication functions in either a deconstructed or constructed context, this design feature is integral with the idea of the book being instructional. The design allows the reader to flexibly use the individual pages for making comparisons so that the reader is able to understand the information and apply it in real situations. It makes the unbound publication a visual learning system, the graphic design was created with the intention of appealing and attracting my targeted audience. The primary goal is to introduce what Chinese face reading is and provide some general information so the readers would want to know more about the topic. The secondary goal is to challenge the way we assume and judge others by their outer appearances. The underlying goal for the publication is to allow the readers to be able to apply their learning in real situations.
The key context surrounding my project is to look through the superficial layer of a person and discover the inner qualities a person posses. I have achieved this through using the art of Chinese face reading as a tool for people to refrain from judging the person with assumed stereotypes. In which the mass media has been re-enforcing through commercialized materials such as magazines with images that suggest what the society should perceive as the ideal beauty of a person. Face reading takes the focus away from what the outer appearances represent and show people that facial features can reveal a person’s nature. However, Chinese face reading should not be used as a tool for judging and criticizing another person as the “face merely gives us a few clues to start with, after that you need to chat with the person to really know them” (The Human Face). This interactive publication could also extend itself in the future to become a series that presents contextual information on other Chinese metaphysics. For example the Chinese astrology and palm reading so people can understand more about the ancient Chinese culture.
 Dutton, Denis. “Denis Dutton: A Darwinian theory of beauty.” TED Talks, Feb. 2010. YouTube. 16 Nov. 2010. Web. 20 Oct. 2011.
 Mes, Tom and Hayao Miyazaki. “Interview: Hayao Miyazaki” Midnight Eye – visions of Japanese cinema. 1 July. 2002. Web. 20 Oct, 2011.