Hitotoki – NSU Cultural Night 2020

UCLA NSU’s Cultural Night is an annual event that takes place in UCLA’s Royce Hall. It is a celebration of Japanese American culture, community, and history which is displayed through multiple events including dance, theatre, and taiko drumming. Every year, a design committee is formed to create an aesthetic and render deliverables for the night of the event. I had the pleasure of taking a leadership role within the committee. Below is the design concept of the 2020 Cultural Night’s aesthetic, and a spread of the program which was printed and distributed to over 1,000 guests on the night of the event.

In designing this year’s logo and title, we have centered the design around the drama’s motifs of family, intergenerational trauma, and war. The title “Hitotoki,” meaning “moment in time” in Japanese, was selected to encompass the three different time periods in the drama, with each moment in time intertwined and affecting the others. For the logo, we wanted to integrate a traditional Japanese kamon (family crest), which is a unique symbol that each Japanese family possesses representing their family lineage, bloodline, ancestry, and historical status. We selected this specific kamon symbol since it is composed of three identical yet separate hexagonal shapes, symbolizing each of the three time periods having its own spatial and temporal boundaries. Despite these boundaries, each shape contributes to piece together a complete picture of a family’s history.  The “karakusa” pattern on the background and borders is inspired by the stalks and tendrils of plants that form patterns where their leaves and vines meet, and it is considered a symbol for a family’s legacy. Lastly, a warm toned color palette with a deep red accent was chosen to allude to war, the passionate emotions of anger and frustration, as well as the familial love that is expressed through tough love across the generations.

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