Parsons School of Design
BFA Communication Design
Thesis 2024

Beyond Shadows' Edges
Yuntong Chen

We all perceive the world in our unique ways, but one element that consistently captivates my attention is the interplay of shadows on the ground. From my perspective, Shadows are talented artists who are adept at compressing the three-dimensional world into two dimensions which is similar to what we are focusing on as a graphic designer.

While many people tend to overlook shadows, viewing them as dependent on the objects that cast them, I've begun to contemplate Shadows’ potential as the primary focus of visual narratives. What if Shadows, typically considered secondary, took center stage in storytelling? What if we viewed Shadows not merely as extensions of objects, but as active partners in shaping our perception of space and form?

Inspired by Jun'ichirō Tanizaki's "In Praise of Shadows," I embarked on a project to explore shadows as primary subjects. The result was a publication called “Beyond Shadows Edges” from a collection of Shadows' works to traces of their contours.

By deleting extraneous details and backgrounds, the versions of these spaces depicted solely through shadows provoke thought and align closely with the essence of what designers constantly seek to achieve. I am driven to create a book solely dedicated to shadows, believing it would be particularly inspiring for graphic designers.

Furthermore, all of us should be aware that if there are no Shadows, there is no light. Despite being a commonplace occurrence, Shadows possess a profound importance that deserves notice and appreciation.

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