Graphic Design

We Bled in the Colour of #

Joy Hsu
Practice Social Practices
Project Powerplay
Major Graphic Design
Year Fourth Year

Nominee: Bachelor Research Award

How does one identify with their community that is called the country? Benedict Anderson describes the formation of a nation as an imagined community, and we all share similar humanistic values. However, this "community" becomes specific and reached its limit with different cultures, languages, religions, and geography, etc. There are various official visual elements that we associate with our origin, and they reminded us of the significance of our nation. Still, there are more than what meets the eyes and bound us more strongly with a sense of belonging.

As a Taiwanese, my idea of a nation is not as profound as other people. Due to political pressure, I need to find my nationality under a different name, and use estrange symbols to represent my country in the international community. I find it hard to identify with my country's visual identity, but there are more elements that connect me to my homeland than the national flag and emblem. Coming to The Netherlands, I experienced how dutch people use a different-- and almost fanatic way of expressing their feeling towards the country. The orange colour has its political origin, but it has revered into a visual cue for celebrating and acknowledging the society one situated in. This expression was shocking for me, especially how natural one can identify the visual identity that belongs to them.

My project starts with the colour red, as it is the most common colour in country flags. However, this colour is expressed with different shades and moreover, portrays different legacies that are unique to a community. I wanted to show the characteristic of a country is often more extensive and elaborate besides the given visual stories. Therefore I designed a branding template and used three different countries as examples to show the differences and pervasive aspects of each country. The sentiment towards a country can be very complicated and layered, and I wanted to guide the audiences to see a country's visual culture in different ways.

I wanted to find what and how does one identify with their country besides the given answer by sovereignty. My research led me to believe national identity is the mainstream visual culture that tells a dominant narrative to the majorities; and depends on different political ideologies, every country and its people use their visual identity differently. Some use it for the feeling of pride and joy, and others have to use it for showing obedience and loyalty. Nonetheless, the sentiment that comes with these visuals can be very subjective and personal.