Month: February 2017

Fan Fiction: Law

A flickering neon sign <China Dollies> invites you towards the KTV disco pub across the narrow road that separates the sleaze. The pub occupies an entire brick building, stretching across the length of two shophouses. It looked both inviting and foreboding, with its grand entrance — gilded double doors with brass trimmings cutting a huge swathe out of the façade of the red brick, and a red carpet laid out just right outside the front entrance. Two burly bouncers flank the entrance, looking warily at anyone who might be going in for a bit of mischief.


You step onto the pavement on the other side of the road, looking up at this monument of nightlife, wondering what could be inside that might solve the case for you. You cut through the crowd that are waiting to go inside.


“Evening gentlemen, I’m looking for the owner of the pub. Is he inside?” You look steadily into the bouncer even as he dwarfs you in size.


<emotion detected… contempt>


The guards look at each other and snigger at you. “Young lady, you can come back during Halloween night dressed like this, but I don’t think Boss likes his women dressed as cops.”


“Well, I don’t think your Boss would like it if I called some of my colleagues here for a raid would he?” You counter, causing them to bristle uncomfortably. They straighten their backs. You add, “I’ll also tell him that it was because you boys denied me entry.”


The guards lean towards each other and mutter unhappily. They turn towards you, nodding curtly, then opening the big brass doors for you. “Enjoy… officer.”


You stride into the cavernous interior, feasting your eyes on the atrium of the nightclub. A glass chandelier hangs from the ceiling, glowing in multiple hues at different angles, bathing you and everyone within it with colored light. There is a counter at the side of the atrium, with a pretty looking hostess with a bit too much make up serving lusty customers. You smell cigarettes and peanuts.


You walk towards the counter, demanding, “Police. Looking for the pub owner for an investigation.”


The hostess looked taken aback, then urged you in hushed tones, “Second floor, third room on the right from the stairwell. Please hurry, he’s gonna do it again.”


<Saving Memory in iCloud…>


You walk briskly up the stairwell behind the atrium, careful not to draw unnecessary attention. Third door to the right… Please be alive…


The corridor is empty, but you can hear muffled music and laughter all around. Each room has a different stereo track, and even some acoustic music playing. The entire corridor is bathed in a red neon glow.


Third door to the right…


You reach the third door, knocking hard. “Police! Open up!”


You put your hand to the holster, gripping the cold handle of your pistol. You feel your body tense up with anticipation, every muscle in your body pulsating with adrenaline, ready for almost anything that could happen.






You grip the doorknob, charging into the ledge of the door with your shoulder. The door opens with a crackle and you stand before a lavish king sized bed, on which lie an unconscious, naked woman and an obese, greasy man on top of her. He slowly eases up.


“Put your hands behind your head, slowly.”


“Listen, I can explain—“


“Don’t even try.”


He cooperates, and you walk over to handcuff him. You sit him on the couch beside the bed.


“She’s not dead, you can check!”


You walk over to the woman and check for a pulse. Still alive, but intoxicated or drugged. You turn back to the “boss”, activating your VR to scan for ID.


<Scanning… cross referencing with Police database…>


Name: Lee Hyun Seung

Age: 42

Occupation: Business owner

Criminal record: 1 count of extortion, 2 counts of bribery, 3 counts of illegal pimping, 4 counts of sexual assault


“So Mr Lee, it seems you have quite a history of sexual assault. You like abusing women, Mr Lee?”


He shakes his head ardently, “No, no, she drank too much and passed out while we were having sex… I swear!”


“That may still count under statutory rape, are you sure you want to speak to the prosecutor about this or would you like to come clean and tell me what happened to Neo Wen Jing?”


“You can’t… you can’t use the law to coerce me like this!” He stutters, sweat oozing out of his pores profusely.


“Yes… I can. And if you don’t tell me about what you did to her, I will make sure you will tell the judge from the stands. You understand?”

2D Y1S2 P1: Que Sera Sera Final Designs

  1. Cyclist


Mimi’s advice for draft 1: Reduce the number of colors, reduce the width of wheels and look at a way to make a leaner figure to denote speed i.e. change of font.

Result: I cut out some unnecessary lines, reduced the font size of some letters to create a leaner, cleaner and clearer typographic pictogram.


2. Mountain Climber


Mimi’s advice for draft 1: ensure that both side of the “mountain” have the same texture to create unity in the composition.

Result: I created jagged rock forms on both sides, playing with figure / ground relationships to create ambiguity for the letterforms.


3. Bar owner


Mimi’s advice for draft 2: lose the bar sign as it is unnecessary. Keep the rendered font and background.

Result: A simpler, cleaner look.


4. Programmer


Mimi’s advice for draft 2: try to play around with the arrangement of letterforms / play with repetition.

Result: I wasn’t able to create a better arrangement of shapes to create the linear perspective that I wanted, and thus I sacrificed a bit of legibility for the 3 dimensionality for this piece.

Fan Fiction: Architecture


Your head seems a little heavy while driving towards the crime scene. The thoughts of your father fuzzily weigh down upon you, imperiously pushing you forward, motivating you to solve the crime before you have to refresh yourself once again. The neon lights of the red light district come into view as your make a turn into Geylang Road. The streets may have been refurbished, but sleaze stays where it wants.


You silently lament the prevalence and even growth of the sleaze trade in Singapore. In order to stabilize our declining birth rate, Singapore had to adopt an open door policy to immigration, and some doors that were opened were not as ideal as one expected. Rising crime rates have strained police resources, and a sprawling sex trade was among the chief causes of a nation struggling with crime in the mid 21st Century.


Exotic Live Acts. Broadway in Singapore. Cabaret themed nightclubs. Massage parlours. Their neon hues are reflected onto your electric Nissan, glowing in an unholy luminescence. You can only imagine what goes on inside those establishments. The traffic light changes to green, and the silent humming of the electric cars almost feel like the silent but pervasive nightlife.


“Isabelle, we are nearing your destination. Making a left turn into Lorong 18,” your friendly VR avatar guides your car into the alley of the crime scene. “Good luck for your investigations, hopefully you’ll find something today.”


You step out into the hellish glow of neon. The body was found just in front of an infamous brothel, so you decide to enter to interview and canvass for any possible witnesses.


The brothel you enter has the smell of cigarettes, coupled with the sickly sweet smell of cheap perfume, gives a heady euphoria to any curious or seasoned visitor. The hookers are seated in a large couch on the right. The girls see you coming in and shush themselves into silence, eyeing at you suspiciously. The pimp looks up from the front counter, nods and stands up to greet you. He looks to be in his late forties, his greyish hair slicked back, wearing a cheap Giordano collared shirt with the collars turned up and khaki slacks. His skin hangs loosely from his gaunt frame.


“Good evening officer, what can I do for you?” The pimp grins, showing a row of teeth marred by decades of smoking illegal substances and a few gold implants.


“Evening, I would like to ask you a few questions regarding the murder that took place a few days ago.”


The pimp’s expression changes from patronizingly servile to coldly indignant. Spot for micro-expressions, you remind yourself. “I don’t know anything about her. She wasn’t even one of my girls.”


“What’s your name?”


“You can call me Peng.”


“Peng, do you know what happens when you don’t disclose information to a police officer?”


“I already told you, I don’t know anyth—“


“It’s called an obstruction of justice, and I can have you arrested for interfering with my investigation.”


“Eh, okay. Okay. Relax ma’am. You tell me what you want to know.”


“How did you know the victim?”


“She did work in this house from time to time, but she was never officially in our books.”


“Why did you lie when I asked you the first time?” You start to tighten your questioning.


“Aiya, because I was afraid of getting into trouble for not registering her in our books. But she had no place to stay, so I took pity on her and decided to give her a place to eat and sleep. Who knew I would be so suay, kena this kind of unnecessary bad luck.”


“Do you know anybody whom she was close to, or was sleeping with on a regular basis?”


The pimp ponders, looking up at the bare ceiling. “Come to think of it yes. There were quite a few times when she would visit this KTV pub across the street, instead of working to pay her dues.” He ushers you to the entrance of the brothel where he gesticulates to the KTV named < China Dollies >.


< Saved in iCloud. >


“She will always go until very late, maybe even returning in the morning. The other girls started to dislike her because she never helps them with the chores.”


“Did she tell you what she did there?”


“Not much, except she had a “VIP customer” who was the pub owner.”


<connecting the dots…>


Okay. Time to pay this pub owner a visit.

2D Y1S2 P1: Que Sera Sera (III)

My ideation made me come up with a few more occupations:

5. Bar Owner

6. Astronaut

Bar Owner

One of the places where I first drew inspiration from was the neon signs of a famous club in the Vegas Strip — The Flamingo. I have been fascinated from young about bars, clubs, parties and the razzmatazz of nightlife.


I tried to draw inspiration from the Great Gatsby as well; it was a great time to be living in where people who beginning to experiment with their own freedom and the limits of their wealth. This created the Art Deco period earmarked by flamboyant designs with luxurious embellishments.


I looked into Cabaret clubs and the iconography / typography, and they shared a similar flamboyance to the bars and clubs. I wanted to incorporate the neon lights of nightlife into my work, but I didn’t want my typographic art to be seen as too sleazy, so I decided against opting for too much embellishment at the risk of appearing obtuse.


This was one of the first designs I came up with. The colour was drawn from the pinkish hues of the neon signs. The font I used was Pacifico, which was a cursive font with a certain handwritten quality to it. I liked the fact that it made the typographic art a bit more personal, but the drawback was that it was “too much like a family restaurant”, according to one too many people.


Another example I looked at was Heineken’s typographic ads.


RISD’s exhibition poster made use of overlapping fonts, which I felt was quite neat but unnecessary if I applied it to my own work. Still, I could explore this idea if time allows.


I liked this installation approach to typography, with the background of the design bringing out the intensity of the lighting.


I developed a brick wall background and made it really dark. On hindsight it might’ve been a bit too dark. Selecting a more purplish color for the “nightclub” font, I tried to exaggerate the lighting effect as much as possible, and complement the fullness of the cursive neon with the more rigorous, but still dynamic hollow signage of “Benny’s”. I also gave “nightclub” a bit of slant so that the design wouldn’t be too static.


DIN alternate condensed bold alternategothicnotwo

I liked the DIN alternate condensed because it was tight and compact. Neon signs are costly to maintain, so in order to make the sign realistic, real life considerations affected my selection of this clean and economic font.



The cursive of Pacifico complemented well with the straight-edged DIN. It was lively and helped make the signage pop.



NASA, the quintessential place one would look to find inspiration for astronauts. Growing up, there was always a fascination with deep space, and when I was in my teens and a churchgoer I started to wonder if humans were the only ones that existed in this vast universe. I like NASA’s thick and smooth-edged font, almost mirroring the designs of the space shuttles it sends to space.



Form and function go hand in hand.


Star Wars also brought an added layer of curiosity, where inter-galactic conflict was possible and interplanetary travel was almost as easy as taking the bus. Along with the movies came a lot of iconography and typography which I drew from as inspiration. 452389950cb9847aed53a395a4ac61a6

This is one of the examples of typographic art I found, and the character is Darth Vader.


I liked this poster a lot as it uses color simply and effectively. The poster is composed such that not much is seen except for red. And Mars is known as the red planet. The yellow is used to denote light and the shadow stark black. The shapes used to make up the rocket are also simple and hard-edged. The adherence to simplicity is what makes this poster stand out, and makes me want to create something like this for the typographic assignment.


I also looked into the idea of constellation, whereby your name can be made up of many different letters scattered across the “universe”.

Unfortunately, quite a number of friends have used this concept for their assignments, which makes me a bit late to the party. 🙁

I’ll keep looking, and will work on new designs if better ideas come up.

2D Y1S2 P1: Que Sera Sera (II)

I’ll continue with occupations 3 and 4 on the list, but they are by no means definitive as I will continue to edit the occupations if I manage to come up with better concepts along the way.

Just a quick recap, here was the list from part one; I’ve made some changes after consultation.

  1. Software Programmer
  2. Bike Racer
  3. Jungle Explorer —> Mountaineer / rock climber (Jungle explorer may be too vague for the brief, and people may have many interpretations of what an explorer can and cannot do.)
  4. Cowboy

Mountaineer / Mountain Climber


Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, the duo who first ascended the treacherous slopes of Mount Everest and reached its peak, must have felt like immortals after living to tell the tale. A tale of exhilaration, sheer grit and victory over one’s limitations.

Even as I was fascinated with my father’s work and grew to be as competitive as he was, there was a part of me that always wanted to live life like an adventure. I would read of stories like Robinson Crusoe and wonder if I could lead a life that had no limitations one day.

Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world

In a way, I wondered if I could fulfill the competitive aspect of my personality with something thrilling. Nature was so vast and unexplored, and I wanted to be part of something bigger than myself.


I researched on the typographic expressions for mountain climbing and managed to find some phenomenal work. On the right is an inspirational Christian poster with its very effective treatment of the typeface. The font used is clean, and the peaks of the letterforms like M, N and A correspond with the peaks of the mountains. There is uniformity in the composition and the overlapping forms create additional interest due to the law of enclosure (Gestalt).


I then looked towards playing with silhouettes and negative space, to see if I could draw inspiration from these areas.


In the above picture, the clock draws the viewers’ focus towards the silhouette of the climber..

In the picture on the right, the play of figure/ground relationship form a meaningful concept of the typographic image.


Another example of playing with figure-ground relationships.


3. Mountain climber

I made use of what I learnt in the book Typography Essentials and the material that I researched on to come up with the typographic image based on the figure / ground relationship.

Font: Impact 125b38f2-ca01-49c3-a6de-46e1e738cfe5image3

Impact has a thick body and shoulders, similar to the the shape of rock formations. It also melded well with the side of a rocky mountain edge. I could then combine the image and the font to form a silhouette of a mountain peak.


Adventure without limits is also a benefit of being a cowboy, and that drew me towards the Old West. The stoic, independent cowboy who just needed his horse and pistol. The dusty old towns inhabited with all kinds of queer people; from quacks selling fake medicine to the elderly to the bounty hunter who kills to put food on the table. The poker pubs in the centre of town. Five finger fillet behind the sheriff’s outpost. Heh, my kinda town.


This is one of my favourite games ever — its called Red Dead Redemption 2, where you play as … yes, a cowboy. 


My research for this theme came from many sources, like films, games, and one of these included Old West posters. The rustic, dusty  mood is conveyed through the use of more earthly colours, e.g. ocher. The texture of the poster also seems like a wood carving, another feature of an Old West design.


A few other examples of Old West signages.


01ac_cover_1_thumb_w_580 be45faa38a8b324390d308e2d1ff44c3

I have a few more ideas that I want to explore, so I’ll leave this open-ended for now as I explore other themes.

4D Assignment 1 Research: Njouri

It was a monumental task to follow in the spirit of Jebra’s world, but it was made less daunting by first looking at the worlds that are similar to hers.


This is Firewatch, a first person game where the player inhabits a vast and lonely world, tasked to spot fires wherever they may spring up in the summer heat. I borrowed from the mood of the lands and character design for Merta the nomad.


Desert landscapes are often bleak and rugged, and from this environment I wanted to create the Capital where Merta was abducted and taken to.


I also referred to Middle Eastern architecture for inspiration to craft the world of Njouri. The ancient city of Istanbul has majestic temples, including the Hagia Sofia. Istanbul is in the Middle East, where the architects have built structures to cope with the heat and dust of the desert. They tend to be broad and flat, with rounded semi domes to allow convection currents to keep cool air in and warm air out.


I also referred to the Jedi’s robes for inspiration for Njouri. They are simple, plain and highly functional to shield against buffeting desert winds and the fabric loose enough to prevent the body from overheating.