Ugliness: the Generosity of Aesthetics
Exhibition, Book, Editorial

the Generosity of

This project is a series of editorial design created during the 2018 undergraduate degree show. Nowadays when we try to define “beauty” and “ugliness”, we can find that the difference between beauty and ugliness has become uncertain. As I collected different definitions of ugliness at different times, I also edited them into books. I took the development of the ugliness as a logic clue and created an anti-comfortable reading experience as a pattern to stimulate readers to think about the aesthetic significance of ugliness at present.

Definition of the Ugliness - in history
From Disgust to Entertainment

From reading material and internet, the first definition of ugliness is the ugly view in a broad sense. Its scope is morphological and continues to influence us to this day. Its core is to discuss form ugliness, and the content is mainly to express ugly forms. In the natural world and in historical paintings and scripts, ugly symbols are extracted.

The second definition of ugliness is the dialectical view of ugliness. It is based on the prejudice of consciousness. That is to say: what is beauty or ugliness, which is often not an aesthetic standard, but a social or political standard. Therefore, the ugliness explored in this part is based on the ugliness of the physiological form, which is social, historical, national and regional.

Reference material:
Ugly: The Aesthetics of Everything - Stephen Bayley
Storia della bruttezza - Umberto Eco


︎︎ influence


I divided the main book’s structure into three phases:
Biology, Dellusion, Mind

The content of each phase influences the next phase. So, at the beginning of the design, I planed to combined them into a ladder shape. 3 collections of images correspond each phase, which are much thicker than the main book.


Blood, twisted body, fur, wound ect, anything that can bring pain can be the source of the ugliness. Ugliness has its physiologic and psychologic origin.


Based on the Bio, people began to illustrate the ugliness. In this part, the ugliness is considered equal to the evil, especailly during Middle ages, before Indusrial Revolution.

After knowledge enlitenment brought by the global Indusrial Revolution and the Reformation, people start to critique the old aesthetics meanwhile the new pop culture and subculture arise. Mixed cultural environment blur the boundary between beauty and ugliness. 
Layout & Print

Main Book

Image Collection of each phase

Contact me anytime if interested in communication.