The Annual Moon Festival

Photo by Billy Khuong - 2013

The annual Moon Festival, also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival, is one of the most important traditional holidays for the Vietnamese, Chinese and other neighboring Asian countries. The festival falls on a full moon night of the autumnal equinox, a time to gather with family and friends and give thanks for the harvest, equivalent to our American Thanksgiving.

One of the most popular practices on this occasion is the use of lanterns. How the lanterns are used to celebrate varies from location to location. Some places build high towers of brightly lit lanterns, some places use floating sky lanterns to light up the sky, some places write poems and wishes on the lanterns and let them drift into the rivers and seas. Since Eden Center hosts one of the largest Vietnamese communities in the U.S., the Moon Festival illustrations I design for Eden Center reflect the Vietnamese way of celebrating the festival. In Vietnam children would parade under the full moon holding colorful and bright lanterns in various shapes and forms.

When it comes to technique choice for commercial graphics, most of the marketing illustrations that I have created were done with vector graphics. Complex vector illustrations often take more time to complete, compared to traditional illustrations, or digital bitmap illustrations using digital pen or stylus. However, my favorite design method is to make use of vector graphics when I know the works are intended for commercial use. Vector graphics can be scaled to any size without dealing with pixelation. Vector graphics are technically is future-proof.

One of the bigger challenges is designing graphics depicting traditional practices, and using them for modern commercial purposes. For Eden Center’s Moon Festival, I would take the most notable part of the tradition for the Vietnamese, which is the children parading with colorful lanterns, and integrate this feature with the typical products that Eden Center is most known for, which are Pho noodles, smoothies, and desserts.



2016 Focus: Kois in the Pond

Every year, the visual focus and its meaning changes to keep things fresh. For 2016, I proposed to place the visual focus on the pond with the three rock towers. The pond is a popular place within the shopping center for people to hang out, enjoy a small dessert while listening to the water running or simply to use the pond as a backdrop when taking photos and selfies.

Architectural Modeling using 3Ds Max

I like to leave the meaning of my illustrations up to the people to imagine and interpret. For me, the three rock towers in the pond could represent the three treasures or simply the three brothers and sisters from the northern, central and southern Vietnam; they raise high like towers and strong like solid rocks, all unifying together in same pool. I proposed to add koi fish into the visual elements to remind businessmen to be strong and brave as we enter the slow winter months. The kois survive the cold winter and they are known to climb waterfalls and swim upstream regardless of how harsh the environmental condition is. When a koi is caught and put under the knife, it doesn’t panic, flutter or show any sign of fear. In general, the kois can remind us to be strong and brave, to not be swayed by the flow of the current and to show no fear when facing adversity. However, Eden Center’s patrons can interpret my illustrations in any way that makes sense to them. For the westerners, the three rock towers in the pond could be the union of trinity and the koi fish could just be that because we are in the age of Pisces. There is no wrong interpretation; the most important thing is that the patrons enjoy viewing my works.