Final Project Presentation: Timeless

The theme of my album cover design is Timeless — great music is timeless, so is great ideas and arts.


Hans Zimmer, as one of the most distinctive film music composers of all time, creates music that is both classic and contemporary, timeless yet fresh. So is Leonardo Da Vinci’s genius works.

Design Inspiration

For those who are not so familiar with Leonardo DaVinci. He is a leading figure of the Italian Renaissance, a period ignited by humanism and sees an explosion of new ideas in literature, philosophy, art, music, politics, science, religion, and other aspects of intellectual inquiry.

As a phenomenal painter, Da Vinci’s most notable works include, the Mona Lisa, and The Last Supper, as well as The Baptism of Christ. He developed the linear perspective, new oil paints and other techniques to render a more natural reality in painting.

 mon  last-supper

As an engineer, he expanded human capacities under water, inventing swimming fins and submarines, and his imagination live in the sky, designing flying machines and parachutes, all far ahead of his time.

flight  gagdget

As a scientist, he was also a pioneer in studying human anatomy. He dissected over 30 corpses to find out what enables us to move, how the heart powers us and even how we look like before we are born.

hand anatomy child heart

His contributions are so vast and cover so many disciplines that it is impossible to include everything in one square. So I carefully selected 7 to put in the album cover design: the Jesus reaching out for something, the lady with the most admired smile, the wings he had long designed for flying, and also less obvious ones, the sketches of human flesh, bones and our initial form from his notes. Finally everything is arranged in to the frame of The Vitruvian Man – the ideal human proportion draw by Da Vinci.


These elements are chosen not only because they are most famous, but they also each represented one aspect of the genius and his time: the God, the man; the mystery, the truth; the dream and the self. All of them is created after painstaking observation which I think we could learn from him as artists, scientists and engineers.

Design Principle

My challenge is to arrange them all in a single balanced design. It has to be faithful to the original works while show my own creativity and understanding of the genius.

First, dissecting the elements of design, I chose lines and geometric shapes to create forms so it looks consistent even without colour. As suggested by Cheryl, I added contrast between them by changing the border thickness when drawing in Adobe Illustrator. The repetition of lines in the the pair of wings created rhythm and a strength of extension. These two principles, along with the colouring, give the drawing more depth and sense of three dimensional.


Then we look at the space inside these two squares. I used closure more than one time to add interests to the frame. You can see it more clearly on the line draft, especially the triangles created by the body segments. You can also notice the variation between the front and back. It is because I want to focus you to different points: the brain of our future and the music list in which I have put a code.


Next move to the principles of design, I chose to design a symmetric piece because there is no special emphasis of the elements or a strong emotion behind the thesis, but harmonious and balance. The elements are enclosed in the many regular shapes in this piece. The CD diameter is exactly of golden ratio to the album size. So is the eye in the head of the portrait. Compared to the God, the dominant part in the CD circle is the man, the real and the anatomy. The dynamic nature of the design also contributes to draw your attention to it. 

I applied proximity and similarity to the layout at back — that the related content is organised closely together. Following the index is the music titles and the film in which it is featured.

The greatest challenge is in colouring. I chose the most pervasive complement two colours in the nature – green and brown. The gold is also used to add holiness and freshness. As the artist himself also favour these natural colours in his paintings and sketches, this colour scheme allows me to be close to his original ideas. It also creates a feeling of warmth and natural.

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Design Process

Speaking of the process, the areas I studied in ADM Library during the previous four weeks have all played an essential part in my design.

Learning from the Ancient Egyptian paintings enabled me to abstract the original works of Da Vinci and create his portraits in the ancient flat style. The symmetry layout is originated from the Baroque style characterised as sophisticated and dramatic. While the floral pattern and three dimensional sense conveyed by the colouring is from my observation of caisson ceiling in traditional Chinese architecture.

ceiling1  ceiling2 4-blue-gold

Finally it is alive with a mechanic design so we can better view the natural transition of colour in the background. You can see it is a deign combining art and music, probably a bit math and engineering from my background. It is an idea born with time but the inspirations imposed is timeless. Through it, I pay homage to the great men, who might not have changed history, but at least warned the destiny of mankind.

img_7912 img_7925

I really learned a lot and enjoyed this fun project. Many thanks to Cheryl’s advices along the way!!!!

Final Project Proposal (3): Album “Timeless” – Film Theme Collection of Hans Zimmer

Hans Zimmer, composer of The Da Vinci Code, was the man that I have loved for thousands of times.

My favorites among his movie themes include:

  • Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
  • The Da Vinci Code
  • Sherlock Holmes
  • Inception
  • The Dark Knight Rises
  • Interstellar

Her was listed as Top 100 Living Geniuses by The Daily Telegraph and he has created a trademark in Hollywood for making the best movie soundtracks.


This is a collection of Zimmer’s best composes, with the cover design inspired by another greatest genius – Da Vinci.

This is a album of epic music, heart breaking pieces that integrates electronic music sounds with traditional orchestral arrangements.

This is my memory of great movies, of unforgettable heroes that either lightened history or warmed the destiny of mankind.

1. Time (Inception)
2. Chevaliers de Sangreal (The Da Vinci Code)
3. Homeland (Spirit: Stallion Of The Cimarron)
4. Dream Is Collapsing (Inception)
5. Red Sea (The Prince Of Egypt)
6. Molossus (Batman Begins)
7. This Land (The Lion King)
8. Heart Of A Volunteer (Pearl Harbor)
9. Drink Up Me Hearties Yo Ho (Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End)
10. Aggressive Expansion (The Dark Knight)
11. Fear Will Find You (The Dark Knight Rises)
12. This Is Going To Hurt (The Ring)
13. Imagine The Fire (The Dark Knight Rises)

I will name it Timeless – A toast to the genius!

Final Project Proposal (2): Covered by the Greatest Genius

Cheryl was right that I may only have the energy to develop one really good design. Then undoubtedly I will devote my best effort for Leonardo Da Vinci – the timeless genius.

Background research

“Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art.”


Leonardo da Vinci (15 April 1452 – 2 May 1519), the ultimate Renaissance Man, is far more than a greatest painters of all time. He is acknowledged as the father of palaeontology (the study of fossils as a guide to the history of life on earth.) and architecture (the art of planning, designing, and constructing buildings). In an age of war, he left the world thousands of inventions including parachute, helicopter and tank, centuries ahead of his time.

I admire his ceaseless curiosity towards knowledge and relentless pursuit to understand how our world works. He is renowned for contributions in the study of:

  • Arts: light, painting, sculpting, dissection,
  • Engineering: architecture, music instruments, war machines
  • Sciences: anatomy, geology, astronomy, botany, cartography (map)
  • Mathematics: perspective and geometry

For him, painting is just another science.

last-supper trees hands-on-airself-portaits ppl hand  hand  flight child anatomy

Sketches in Illustrator

“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”


  • Symmetry and balance are important guidelines in my design.
  • A high contrast of Yellow and Black is what I intended to go for.
  • There are 9 stories in this design. How many can you spotted out?
  • (Easter Egg) The focal point will move into the brain of the baby.

The CD is specially designed such that when playing/rotating, different observations of the genius reveal.

“The artist sees what others only catch a glimpse of.”


Digital Coloring

“Only through experiments can we truly see.”

fullsizerender-2   da-vinci-color-bw  da-vinci-color-yb

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Leonardo Da Vinci posts a great influence in my life.

He is the role model of pushing beyond expectations and dreaming the impossible.

He showed the human capacity, inspiring us to make the most of our lives as we can.

smile Hope you enjoyed his works and quotes. If you are interested to learn more, I highly recommend these documentaries and materials:

Da Vinci and the Code He Lived By (TV Movie 2005)


I look forward to discussing with you about him and my design wink

Oh by the way, did I mention that it is a 3D work combining mathematic, mechanics and electronic?

Final Project Research (3): From Ancient to Baroque

For developing the idea I cooked three new meals in dormitory and swam all styles every other day over the last two weeks. I was hoping to the sky-fall inspirations then I realised that it was some inputs that I was actually deprived of.

To navigate myself through the massiveness and possibly messiness of design elements, there I come to my third fest on art study: move from the primitivism of Egyptian art and the rich collection of Nobel Diploma design – to a most exaggerated and dramatic style – the Baroque (1600-1750).

Again, many design principles are involved.

Baroque Paintings At a Glance 

Without study in depth into the history or country representatives, I characterised the Baroque style as (1) detailed decoration, (2) axial symmetry composition and (3) dramatic scenes.

  1. Detailed decoration -> rich in motion and strong in color

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2. Axial Symmetric composition -> harmony and balance

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3. Dramatic scenes -> for both Gods and men





From there, only one thing is lacking, the soul that all the forms will live by and a story that I am passionate of telling.

Final Project Process (1): One Thing for Each Greatest Artist

In the first week of working on the proposed idea – Diploma Design, uncertainties are high, so are opportunities.

(Modified on 26 Oct) I do hope you enjoy the journey I have gone through haha.

Who are your favourite artists?


  • Da Vinci
  • Claude Monet
  • Pablo Picasoo
  • Van Gogh


  • Xu Beihong – Horses & Cockscreen-shot-2016-10-17-at-6-09-53-pm
  • Zhang Dashan – Mountains & lotusscreen-shot-2016-10-17-at-6-27-22-pm1716715882960385660
  • Qi Baishi – Xia + Flowers + Plantsscreen-shot-2016-10-26-at-10-00-32-pm
  • Bada Shanren – Falcon + Fish screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-10-02-01-pm


How can I apply what I learnt from the course?


What are my strength and weakness?


  • Engineering background: Systematic & logic research + Geometry
  • Artistic perspective: Imagination & Synthesis
  • Childhood heritage: Meaning making & Storytelling + a bit more curiosity
  • Practical skills: Photoshop & Illustrator


  • Inexperience in using Color -> I can search for the perfect matches online
  • Inexperience in matching Fonts -> I can limit it to One/ Two font(s)
  • Impatience & Short attention span -> I’d better design simply
  • No talent for painting -> Let’s go digital 🙂


So What?


  • I can use this final project opportunity to consolidate my understanding of elements of design, principles of design, space & color in design
  • I can also learn more from the advice and sharing of Cheryl, my DA2002 teacher throughout the design process -> then I shall not be afraid of questions & problems
  • I have one more incentive to study whatever I like in ADM library. I can integrate them into my aesthetic eyesight & design capability
  • I can develop a work that reflect my current thinking & characteristic


  • I may fall into stereotype of design principles
  • I may lose originality while learning
  • I may change ideas frequently when time is not in my favor
  • I may end up having too many elements on my canvas -> urgent!!!!


Anyway, we will be fine (๑•̀ㅂ•́)و✧

Final Project Proposal: The Greatest Artists Award

Graceful of Option 3, I propose a Diploma Design Project that:

  1. Awards to my favorite Greatest Artists in art history.
  2. Applies the essence of Ancient Egypt Art.
  3. Present 2 pieces of design that are distinct and representative.

Idea Mind Map

Preliminary Research

Western Artist



1st Nomination: Leonardo da Vinci (15 April 1452 – 2 May 1519)

  • “Italian polymath whose areas of interest included invention, painting, sculpting, architecture, science, music, mathematics, engineering, literature, anatomy, geology, astronomy, botany, writing, history, and cartography.
  • The father of palaeontology, ichnology, and architecture, and is widely considered one of the greatest painters of all time.
  • The inventor of the parachute, helicopter and tank.
  • He epitomised the Renaissance humanist ideal.”


4-vitruvian-man-leonardo-da-vinci images-1


Oriental Artist

2nd Nomination: Wu Daozi (680–c. 760)

  • “Also known as Daoxuan, was a Chinese artist of the Tang Dynasty.
  • Michael Sullivan considers him one of “the masters of the seventh century,”.
  • Wu traveled widely and created murals in Buddhist and Daoist temples. Wu also drew mountains, rivers, flowers, birds. No authentic originals are extant, though some exist in later copies or stone carvings.
  • Wu’s famous painting of Confucius was preserved by having been copied in a stone engraving.


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(Research and sketches to be continued…)

Final Project Research (2): Searching for the Best Design

Thursday, another four days to walk with uncertainties!


Where can I find the best design? There are certain judgement factors that I am looking for.

  1. The price people are willing to pay. However the result can be quite unreasonable.
  2. The importance it attachs.
  3. The emotion it evokes.


Then I fitsr come to the Nobel Diploma Design for the greatest contributors of mankind.

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Final Project Research (1): Starting From Ancient Egypt

Wednesday: five more days to generate my final project idea.


I had a clear mind when walking by the bookshelves in ADM Library.

  1. I am eager to learn from the best art.
  2. Among all the colorful books and massive pieces of ideas, can I find a limited set that all the others are originated from?


I was lucky to found the fasciation in Ancient Egypt, Babylon and Near East Arts.

(Source: All the pictures are taken from the following four books)


  1. Eternal Egypt : treasures from the British Musuem / Singapore exhibition presented by the National Heritage Borad ; organised by the Asian Civilisations Musuem = 永恒的古埃及 : 大英博物馆藏 / 新加坡展覧由新加坡國家文物局主辦 ; 亞洲文明博物館籌劃. (@ADM Lib. N5350.E83E)
  2. Beyond Babylon : art, trade, and diplomacy in the second millennium B.C. / edited by Joan Aruz, Kim Benzel, and Jean M. Evans.(@ADM Lib. N5345.B573)
  3. The British museum masterpieces of ancient Egypt / Nigel Strudwick. (@ADM Lib. N5350.S927)
  4. Art of the ancient Near East : a resource for educators / Kim Benzel … [et al.]. (@ADM Lib. N5345.A784)


The Aesthetic

The principles of design are proved not to be a modern invention, but the agreed perceotion of beauty.

  1. Balance | Movement & Static, angular & circula:img_7118(3800-3700 B.C. | Iran)

img_7137 img_7134Cylinder Seals | (1300s B.C.)


2. Sysmetryimg_7150Cylinder Seals | (1400-1300 B.C.)

img_7120(2200-2100 B.C.)


3. Patternimg_7189 img_7145Headdress | (1479-1425 B.C.)

img_7159(1625-1525 B.C.)

img_7148Glazed Tiles | (1184-1153 B.C.)


4. Repetition | Alternating:img_7131(1000-1400 B.C.)

img_7171-smallWalking Figure Of An Official | (1275 B.C. | Egypt)

img_7173(Back of) Mummy Mask | (1000 B.C.)


5. Rhythm | Alternating:img_7163Helmet | (1500-1400 B.C.)

img_7165Wall Painting Fragment | (1625-1525 B.C.)


6. Rhythm | Progressive:img_7183Mummy Mask | (1000 B.C.)


7. The Golden Rati0:img_7168


8. Complementary Color:img_7122(1325-1450 B.C.)

img_7186(1350 B.C.)

img_7140Beads | (1300s B.C.)


The Playful

Despite circumscribed environment and arduous process, our ancestors created splendid artworks from meticulous observation and unconstrained imagination.

  1. Vivd expression from simple carving:img_7125Relief Vwsswl (1800s B.C.)


2. Animals -> Functions:img_7142Axe | (1340-1300 B.C.)

img_7127Game Board (the dogs, pigs, foxes, mice are discernible)| (1981-1802 B.C.)

img_7129Horse Shaped Handle (what an ingenious design with the hoof!) | (1350-1400 B.C.)

img_7155Ivory Cosmetic Spoon (from the neck and shoulder I saw the power of the tiger) | Egypt

img_7157 Ivory Mechanical Dog (pressing the handle below the bellow will triger the mouse to open) | Egypt (1390-1352 B.C.)

img_7175(1985-1795 B.C.)

img_7152Duck Shaped Vessels


The Perspective

From 3D to 2D:img_7181Mask (notice the ears and hair, the stereo mask is flaten) | (1500 B.C.)

From 2D to 1D:img_7190

(Could’t I abandon my knowledge of perspective as well as the long-rooted impression of nature environment? Start to obseve everything as alienate, to record each detail and with surprise)

The Reflection

At the end of the day, the world surrounds me seemed newborn. I look up to the ancient artworks and I want to share with you. Let’s pay our highest respect to the artisans who had spent their whole lifetime to understand nature and illustrate their devine presence.

At the end of the day, I felt their wonder and appreciation of the world. How facinating it is being an observer and creator!

Field Trip: Exploring the National Gallery

I had a question before stepping in the National Gallery on 30 Sep.

What is the difference between a museum and a gallery?

Once in the Chelsea district, New York, an artist answered me by pointing out their difference in purpose. Museums are public facilities for education while galleries are opened with an intention to sell.


If it is called the National Gallery, I was expecting to find strong identities and varieties there.


A. Perception 

I started from DBS Gallery 2. The soft melody created by a row of light bulbs attracted me. The combination of sound, light and movement marked its special presence. I found out from the gallery guide and retiree, Mr Loh, that the artist actually used the mechanism of a cradle. He shared with me that the art is all the perception and interpretation of ourselves. After the conversation, I started to make more sense of the meanings floating in the small gallery space. My interest to tour again by the same route was higher than ever.

But this time from a difference perspective.


See from the backstage:


See at the right time:


See a firefighter in motion:


See a performer in silence:


See a monkey from a tree:


And see a tiger from inside:


B. Impression

There were a lot of pieces I like for their composition. My favourite ones will be discussed in the written assignment.

  • For their helping my eyes focus:


  • For their creating a stable space:

img_6991 img_6987

C. Amusement

If I were to grant them awards for every possible reason.

  • The boldest colour:


  • The best matching frame:


  • The most memorable face and posture:

img_6974 img_6978

And why not?

NTU Student Card Design – NTU Accelerator

Hey, everyone! May I know what you like and dislike about this design? Your feedback will really help me in the competition haha.


The Concept statement:
The simple design represents our passion and wisdom. Working together, we are the accelerator of NTU.
1. The layered red wave is our continuous passion for excellence and innovation.
2. The expanding blue spot shows our wisdom and team spirits. We expand our influence through contributing all our intelligence and diligence.
3. The white space in the middle is energetic and youthful.
4. The design of name and matric number is in concert with NTU logo, displaying our identity and sense of belonging.


Thank you for your attention reading through my design concept~ I will appreciate any comments you might have on it ♥(´∀` )~