Parsons School of Design
BFA Communication Design
Thesis 2020

Jiapei Wu
Digital Graphic Landscape in Taobao

Taobao is the biggest online shopping platform in China. According to a January 2020 report, there are 697 million monthly active users of Taobao. People can buy almost anything on Taobao, from clothes to food, medicine, and furniture. Nevertheless, Taobao’s users are being affected by its aesthetics daily from glancing over the graphics on the platform. Few consumers, however, pay attention to the graphic landscape of Taobao. They only focus on the commodity they want. However, if you observe Taobao’s design, you will find many repetitive elements: the bright color, the bold type, certain shapes, and layouts. There is a lack of diversity and openness to other possibilities. Taobao especially has a large number of users and represents part of the advertising visual culture on the web in China. People should not just be influenced by it subconsciously and accept it. I believe people should look at it and reflect on it.

I designed a website and a book to bring people’s attention to the digital graphic landscape of Taobao. It’s a reflection of the visual language of consumerism in China—not only for Taobao’s users, but also for someone who does not know about the consumer visual culture on the web in China. This project is an invitation for people to reflect on Taobao’s graphic landscape. I hope the visual language in Taobao can be more interesting and diverse. Design should not always have templates.

Yehia Abouseif

Nia Acosta

Kamal Adisa

Sakshi Agarwal

Sejal Aggarwal

Lily Saeli

K.C. Amable

Sulamita Javier Balanutsa

Emily Baro

Emily Bergerson

Xiujie Bi

Sonja Briney

Kayla Van der Byl

Dahee Byun

Kimberly Chan

Krish Chandiramani

Militza A. Rodríguez Charr

Julie Yu Chen

Xingman Cheng

Habin Cheong

Kristen Chik

Paloma Corrigan

Misha Dhanoolal

Vicky Fan

Vincent Garcia

Cyril Gordon

Yangchen Maya Gruben

Maria Guardazzi

Gideon Gulko

Esra Gumrukculer

Aanya Gupta

Arani Halder

Bobby Hill

Jinghan Hu

Olivia Hunter

Sejung Hwang

Geddes Alexander II

Jyudeh Maximilian Russ Jarrett

Madison Jennings

Won Kyung Jung

Inga Kan

Suji Kang

Ayse Yaren Kaya

Prithi Khalique

Shanjida Kibria

Celine Kim

Seowon Kim

Suah Kim

Youjong Kim

Rasheka Krishan

Eli Lederberg

Grace Ledoux

Alicia Lee

Hyunseo Suzy Lee

Natashia Lee

Rachel J. Lee

Yoo An Lee

Tiffany Leung

Emily Li

Sinong Li

Qiyao Lin

Jiayi Liu

Sichao Liu

Morella Tovar M

Ares Maia

Sophia Marinelli

Julia McGillicuddy

Sanika Mehta

Eleni Mentis

Anthony Muchai Muiruri

Daniel Mullins

Meredith Nelson

Ruowen Niu

Catalina O'Connor

Hyun sun Ohm

Carolyn Olaguivel

Lorna Oppenheim

Kyle Palma

Anastasia Contos Papakonstantinou

Brendon Park

Jimin Park

LeeJun Park

Sanha Park

Tommy Park

Tunchanok Patana-anake

Sean Phan

Delaney Poitras

Vincent Privitera

Jhoenny Ramirez

Taylor Sade Raschillo

Zhen (Yoomi) Ren

Elizabeth Richards

Rachel Rudolph

Leoder Sanchez

Maria Sanchez

Simon Sciacovelli

Shreya Shah

Seth Sharbono

Cindy Shi

Mimi Shih

Avni Shivkumar

Arunima Sinha

Shivam Sinha

Jason Decker Sloves

Bailey Storms

Tingyu Su

Yuchen Su

Kelt Tobunluepop

Kiana Toossi

Shivani Toshniwal

Jeanette Tran

Valerie Trisnadi

Yi-Chieh Tsai

Manasi Vashi

Emil Waldron

Isabella Wang

Jingyi Wang

Yuzheng Wang

Sophie Westfall

Ellie Wolfond

Jiapei Wu

Andy Yang

Xinchen Zhang

Yujing Zhang

Evelin Susan Fung Zhong

Evgeniya Zykova