Uncovering the complex creation and evolution of goldfish

Although they are often viewed as a disposable pet, goldfish have been a curated artform for thousands of years. This poster explains how goldfish came to be, not through natural events but through human intervention. The various goldfish breeds are arranged to show how each type was bred from the others. Follow the diagram on the left to explore the ancient history of goldfish, or dive deeper into the details on the right and explore the origin story of each breed.

This poster was nominated as a Semifinalist in the 2017 Adobe Design Achievement Awards Competition.
It was also published in Layout Workbook: Revised and Updated: A real-world guide to building pages in graphic design by Dennis Puhalla and Kristen Cullen.

Coffee table book

In addition to the poster, I created a coffee table book to highlight the differences between the types of goldfish in a more detailed manner. Each spread features two goldfish split and aligned on the center crease to allow for direct comparison.

Research collection & organization

I gathered as much information as I could find on goldfish and categorized it into buckets, with the goal of determining what aspects were most interesting or unusual, and what would be emphasized in the poster.

Information hierarchy

After I chose to focus on the many types of goldfish and how they came to be, the goldfish were organized and the diamond-shaped grid was developed.

Sketches & paintings

Layout exploration began with quick thumbnail sketches, followed by larger full page drawings. The goldfish were drawn and painted throughout the span of the process. Each drawing was first sketched in pencil, then painted and traced with black micron pen. Each of the 17 fish are hand drawn and painted with watercolors.