Door God patterns

Door gods or Menshen(门神) are divine guardians of doors and gates in Chinese folk religions, used to protect against evil influences or to encourage the entrance of positive ones.



  • Expelling evil spirits
  • Blessings
  • Military officer
  • Civil official

The patterns often attract my attention when I pass by. It made me think that something supernatural is guarding the house.

Old Door Gods preserved in Chendejyu Shrine Museum , Tainan City, Taiwan


Moodboard 1

Inspired by Ai weiwei‘s Door gods posters, I want to add some current elements that are more relevant to our generation. Nowadays, there are many new ‘gods’ that we worship to, like Steve Jobs, Elon musk or Jack Ma.

Ai Weiwei, Menshen

Ai Weiwei and FAKE design office’s Door Guardians for 2011 (image from

AI WEI WEI, Guardian Christmas screen saver artwork
copyright: Ai Wei Wei

Culture keeper 2015, illustrated by Min Liu


Moodboard 2

Inspired by a Chinese illustration artist, Song Xiaqi, based in Shanghai. His illustration embraces the tradition and re-touches it with contemporary feelings.

I like how he uses thick strokes and the way he treated each graphical elements.


门神 by Song Xiaqi

门神 by Song Xiaqi


Moodboard 3

Another approach is go for abstraction. Since the banner is very long and narrow, abstract patterns will give a strong visual impact.

猴年吉祥 Good luck for the Year of Monkey, illustrated by DO ON東


Panel testing

Based on Aiweiwei’s work, I created a rough styleframe to see if the elements work together on a long narrow panel.