NCUSCR - Chinese New Years Card

illustration

In celebration of the Year of the Dragon, the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations (NCUSCR) wanted to send an illustrated e-card out to their network. The card served as both a commemoration of the holiday and a prompt to take a look at a slideshow of curated images from programs and events in the past year. The organization asked me to design the card as well as a few smaller graphics that could be used as icons or images in e-newsletters and on their website.

e-card

e-mail and website graphics

Process

Given the importance of the Chinese zodiac calendar, I knew that the card would have to feature a stylized drawing of a dragon. My background in East Asian Studies certainly helped guide my illustrations, but I also looked at a lot of dragon renderings from Chinese culture, both in traditional art as well as in New Years cards produced today.

reference materials

I sketched out some ideas in order to get a feel for how Chinese dragons were constructed and how the card might look. I explored ways to incorporate the year 2012 into the design as well as the Mandarin characters for "Happy Year of the Dragon".

sketches

I also looked for a creative way to encorporate the organization's logo, a traditional Chinese seal or "chop". I knew that just setting it on the card would be a lost opportunity. The logo was very ornate and abstract (at least to western eyes), so it became the perfect primative to construct a pattern. The pattern helped add a texture to the card, giving it some much needed dimension and depth. It also brought the whole design aesthetically more in line with other renderings I had seen.

logo lock-up

pattern