Reading this article, my first thought was if there was such a thing as universal aesthetics? I mean I would think that most of us, across cultures, would find a sunset beautiful. Perhaps we will never be able to pinpoint what exactly makes an object “good” but maybe being intuned with all our senses would make us more sensitive to what is good and design things more efficiently. As the article said, perhaps by reflecting the human soul in a form we would resonate with people more. Although I have no idea on how to do that, hopefully with time I will.

Reflections on Design Noir

The article makes me reconsider the role of electronics in our daily lives. In the first few paragraphs, the author claims that corporate futurologists dream up of futures with “no room for doubt or complexity in their techno-utopian visions”. Although I think it is unfair to throw whoever corporate futurologists are under the bus, I do agree with the point put across. We tend to have a mostly one-sided view on what technology is and can do.

The section on when objects dream further adds on to the point. It talks about electronic objects dreaming in the sense that they leak radiation. That in itself isn’t too exciting but acknowledging the subtle ways electronics influence our way of life is.

The last section that piqued my interest was on critical design, to see design as an effort to push the limits of our lived experience and not the medium in which we use. I guess my question would be if critical design could be commercial, although the author seems to be finding that a very bleak prospect.

exploration of outram park part 1/2/3 and random ideas I thought about as I walked around.

As I was driven to Outram, I did not start my exploration from Outram but rather at Everton Park. The first thing that could my eye was the mural by Yip Yew Chong, depicting a scene from olden time which add to the ambiance of the place.

I also took note of the fence pattern as I was thinking that maybe I could do patterns in my zine. I then headed towards Chinatown and basically took whatever felt interesting to me.

Like how the lanterns on the ceiling looks like little red balls floating on a golden sea. I guess I was unconsciously making up fantasy type  narratives in my head.

As I walk through Chinatown I was interested in the signboards that I was bombarded with and thought of making an original type like the norajima project.

                                                Besides I also took photos to get a general feel of Chinatown.


The next stop was to go to pearl bank.


Going there felt like we were completely leaving Outram as when I was going up it was surrounded by quiet spaces or building being torn.

I was scared to enter the first time so I just took photos of the outside and headed towards the MRT area

When I saw the construction as I was coming down I thought that maybe I could do something concerning time or progress as Outram was filled with shop houses, construction sites and shiny government buildings.

oh it was chingay period so there were some floats passing by.

Second Visit I concentrated on just going to pearl bank as it left the most mysterious to me.

I sneaked inside and ran up the stairs.

The placed was like a maze with many staircase

On my 3rd visit I tried to go back there by legal means.  But was rudely refused by the security guard. So I just took the facade of the building.

I proceeded to stand outside of Pearl Bank Apartment to interview people.

After a lot of hesitation I interviewed 4 people. I only managed to take picture of 2 of my interviewees .I took the back for the other two.

Here are some of the notes I took when I interviewed them.

China lady
Here for a few month
Finds in friendly
Likes how quiet it is
Also rented
Doesnt interact with the other residence

Us dude
Works at nhcs
Finds it nice and quiet
People keep to themselves
Hates walking up the hill
Very little amenities
Rented for one month
Most people doesnt say good morning

Mum and child
Live here for 20 years
Parents live here before
A lot of apartments are rented out
Strange people

Young Chinese couple
Woman wearing a nurse uniform.
Guy carrying goccery
Rented an apartment for a few months
It’s a very cold place
Not welcoming

What is product design and other musings

What is product design?

I would say it is a discipline that design products in a way that makes people’s lives easier by focusing on the user’s experience.

What do product designers do?

They are there to design objects which solve problems they find through observations, producing it in the most efficient way, ultimately benefiting people they design for.

What kind of designer would you want to be? And why?

I would like to design lifestyle products, but I would really just go for any project that interest me. I would like to design lifestyle products, because I am interested in the mundane interactions that humans do daily. I would also like to invent things that helps change the way humans interact with their surroundings.



For my first layout and idea I wanted to reflect how no one actually delves deeper into the history of Pearl Bank Apartments or how they never take pictures of anything but the facade of the building. Hence I was going to include my interviews to try and give a deeper perspective of Pearl Bank Apartment.


However I did not really have pictures that I thought were good enough I decided to just illustrate my zine and make it into a narrative.

So I first sketched out some layouts, but as I am not very good at drawing I decided to trace out some of the photos that I took.

I proceeded to image trace and paint it on illustrator. However I never did this before so I did not consider how tedious it would be to use a mouse to paint. Thank goodness my screen was a touch screen so I eventually used my fingers to paint.


I had some difficulty with choosing a style so I went to pinterest

I was quite settled for the background so I had to draw characters that matched the sketchy style.


I also had to thin out some lines.

Lastly I wrote out my words to complete the sketchy feel and then scanned it.


The In and Outs of Outram (buildings, people and random details)


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The area near Outram mrt is filled with healthcare buildings and govt buildings.

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The other part of Outram, is Chinatown and the most prominent architecture are the shop houses and the brutalist building .

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And of course there is the famous pearl bank apartment.


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Mostly tourist and the elderly

Random stuff

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As a translator does not have many tools I had to think up of more metaphorical ways representing translator . This worked in my favour as it meant that I was able to use purely words to make a piece.

The concept was that a foreign language would sound like noise, chaotic and hard to distinguish and as a translator we have to streamline the chaotic mess into something understandable.

There were many composition that I went through as some were too average and others to vague. For the my last and final composition I referenced some poster from the futurism movement.






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My very first thought when I think of puppeteer was wood and strings. Hence as a sketch I just found some wood looking font to remind myself of the idea. However having just done two illustrator based font I decided to make something.


I cut my name out of foam and hung it with wire as a sketch model. I wanted to play with the idea that I wanted to be a string and shadow puppeteer, as seen below.


However it did not create much visual interest and hence I decided to concentrate on shadow puppets as I was already playing with shadows. The shadow puppet closest to home is the wayang kulit and hence I decided to base my font on that.


I first drew it on a piece on mounting board. And after the first letter I decided to just do my initials as four very detailed fonts seemed a little overwhelming as a composition.

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I attempted to cut it and then realised my mistake of drawing on mounting board as it was too difficult to trace. Hence I moved it over to illustrator and did an image trace.


And then printed it on transparency so I could shine a light through and cast a shadow without having to cut anything.

I also struggled with the photography part is I initially had my friend help me hold the transparency and hold the light while I take a photo. The photos were good as the angle was off.


So after many attempts I decided to do it like how an actual show would have done it.


I had the light cast from behind then the transparency then the screen, which made it much easier to get my desired effect.




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For the job of a Mortician, a few things came into mind. Namely soil,ashes,hearse, the morgue and embalming. Hence I tried to use all these elements in my designs.


This sketch was to allude to the morgue but it was too graphic.


This was the tools used by a mortician but it looked too much like a make up artist.


I tried to use the hearse but I felt that it was rather boring and could be very much associated with a funeral director. Although a mortician might sometimes do the job of a funeral director.


This was made with ashes from burnt charcoal, and although I found this concept interesting. It was hard to tell the ashes were ashes.

Hence I finally decided on a Y-cut autopsy which came after a conversation with my friend who watched too much CSI.


I used a stitch brush to write my name out. I wanted the font to be subtle as stitches arent usually so obvious. I also wanted a sense of realism.

To create this image, I tried my hands at using special effects and making the cut by hand. I followed a video on youtube, and ended up with this :img_3387

Which I then heavily edited as it was too fake. It was pretty fun trying to do it though!

Food Stylist

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My initial ideas were all centered around the tools used as a food stylist. However with some research I found out the tools used were generic everyday tools such as scissors and glue. Hence it was hard to compose a piece that would represent a food stylist.

So I decided to go with food photography, which is what an actual food stylist would do. I was leaning towards images such as

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Basically to use real food and inedible items to compose a photo. However I was not too confident of my photog skills and also thought that it would be concentrated on the font. Hence I decided to use illustrator where it was easy to achieve minimal and concentrate on the font.

So I decided on a burger bun as food stylist are known for gluing on every individual seed on to the bun to make the perfect bun. burgerg-01

When going into I wanted it to be as simplistic as possible, representing the bun with a simple circle. However when I asked my friends to guess what it was, most of  them said soup, and guess chef as the job. Hence I decided that I need to add in some greens and a tweezer to make things a little clearer.


However this composition was a bit off and stiff, hence I played around with the placement of the tweezer and came up with my final result.