Structure + Morphology “Light the Lanterns”

Grad Graphic Design Studio Winter 2021

I chose to research on a Chinese film “Raise the Red Lantern”. It criticizes women who were oppressed and objectified in the social ecology. It vividly shows the life situation of women in the patriarchal society, which criticized the feudal order and patriarchal power.

Screenshot of the film

After watching and researching the film, I started of sketching out mind-map, which is structured to three parts: plot structure, morphology and veiled allegory. By laying out more details and connections, the mind-map guided me to further develop my visual exploration.


The sumptuous use of colors is arranged in corporation with the timeline structure. For example, the film is divided into 4 parts (3 seasons), the beginning summer scene is in a warm sunset tone. When it turns to Autumn, the color becomes solid red while the story at the peak. Then Winter comes, the story gets blue and black to echo the tragedy. Another interesting visual element is symmetrical composition. Symmetrical layout is used on the film composition, typography and Siheyuan(a quadrangle with houses on the four sides). I expanded the mind-map to mood-board with more specification.

By analyzing my interests of the film, I started to produce the 25 iterations of visual exploration. I tried different mediums with different materials. Through the experimentation, I used visual patterns to express the symmetrical visuals and the conceptual meaning behind the film.

My goal was to create my visual narrative reflecting on the plot structure, conceptual meaning and visual form of the film. The symmetrical pattern and the space layout echoes a traditional Chinese architecture known as Siheyuan. Hearing sound first without seeing anything emphasizes sound as an important role in the film. Also to interactive with viewer that moving closer watching the video. It invisibly shows the space inside and outside of the feudal society. ‘Xi’ ‘喜’ means celebrating marriage in China. The spray paint at the back of the ‘Xi’ character ironically telling that ‘Xi’ in feudal society means tragedy.