Ryan (Jung Hwan) Baek 2 Stellify

  • Kaiako / Lecturers
    Tammie Leong, Don Chooi, Jim Murray
  • School
    Media Design School
Judge's comments:

A well considered and unique approach to a difficult subject. Empathetic in its approach giving a whole new way to share emotions and thoughts in a special way. Versatile for all ages and a new take on grief.


Stellify is an interactive memorial website helping people who go through a sudden loss of a loved one to send the unsaid with the ones that grieve together.

The sudden unexpected death of a loved one is a traumatic experience as there is no time to prepare. Whatever is unsaid, undone, and unexpressed makes the grief vastly difficult and prolonged, causing feelings of guilt, regret and depression. Dealing with the sudden loss in the time of COVID-19 is way more challenging since physical funerals are restricted due to the lockdown and border closure.

In response to the problem, Stellify provides a meaningful chance to express withheld emotions through a digitally interactive experience of launching a star that embodies the unsaid and enabling people to share it online.

On Stellify, users can create a memorial page for the deceased and invite contributors. Invited people can access the memorial page on a mobile phone and will see a star land from the sky. Initiated by touch, the star will enlarge aided by a zoom-in effect to visualise physically entering into the star. In the star, people can send the unsaid through text, voice or video calls. Before posting, they can set up who can see their messages. After that, the star will then zoom out and start to shine, meaning all messages were saved within the star. If users swipe up, the star will come out of the users’ mobile phone and rise on the desktop screen in real-time with a chime. Since each star has its own message from followers, it will show brief information of who and when it was shared by hovering over each star. If a star is clicked, users can browse through all messages in detail and react to each message from the telescoping feature.

The concept of Stellify was formulated based on a star metaphor and the theory of therapeutic grief rituals.

A star is used as a metaphor for the memories and as a vessel for messages to connect the present and the past. The insight behind this derives from how most stars are a few thousand light-years away from the earth and so when we look up into the night sky, we are ultimately looking into the past. Stelify aims to encapsulate this meaning for the ones in loss of a loved one as they are never truly gone but still shining in our hearts like a star.

The theory of therapeutic rituals is another backbone of this project. Therapeutic grief rituals are meaningful actions and visualisations that help grievers to express emotions more effectively, such as writing a message on balloons and releasing them into the sky. Stellify offers virtual therapeutic grief rituals embodying their message into a star and launching it in the night sky.

In this way, the more stars people share, the brighter the night sky is. This is how Stellify aims to brighten the dark skies of our nights.