Jessica Chen

Compendium Zodiac Stamp

Bachelor of Design Craft Illustration Interaction Storytelling Inter-cultural

Compendium Zodiac Stamp

Chinese stamps express a person’s identity/personality. In Eastern Countries, the mythical zodiac animals are said to represent the identity within each individual born under their respective years. These zodiac animals are divided into 5 different elements: fire, earth, metal, water and wood. Each of the five elements has its own characteristics and stands independently, but each element influences and shapes the others. To raise awareness of craft and identity, this project brings with it a unique experience that allows people from all countries to learn about the legendary Chinese Zodiac and the significant concept of identity stamps in Chinese culture.

Inspired by the anecdotal culture of zodiac signs, I began to research and explore the ideology of identity within this project. The stamp concept has been inspired by my grandfather who handcrafted his stamp. Being exposed to his work, I started looking into the idea of family legacy through the crafting of stamps as a unique heirloom.

This project also considers "the narrative" as a way to raise awareness for this craft. The design project integrates what we see in traditional stamps by recreating the illustration of Chinese zodiac animals in a minimalistic style to reflect an individual's identity. When testing, wood was established as the foundation for a series of collective models exploring five elements of colours, patterns, and material to evoke a tone of playfulness. Additional analogue methods, such as linocutting and wood carving, were used to highlight the significance of each stamp to display the traditional image of zodiac animals. A time consuming part of the process was the amount of testing while crafting the stamps, along with a wooden box that reflects the traditional Chinese culture. Testing of various materials such as sponge, rubber, linoleum, and wood has helped me identify the best way to illustrate the design of zodiac animals.

This overall project reflects how the theme of identity is symbolised by the historical invention of stamps and zodiac animals in Chinese culture. Future projects will continue to build upon this concept through the use of social media advertising practices to elevate the product and brand.