Category Archives: My Work

Project 1: The Portrait

PSD File: Download Link


Left: Before
Right: After

(Click to enlarge)



I wanted to picture someone who’s somewhat exotic, with a unique personality.

You can tell Esther has her own sense of style, with the glasses, the beret, the stained sweater. She might also appear androgynous, though I’m not sure that was intentional. She’s an artist and a really tired animation student, and not to mention really awkward. Like, really awkward.

I originally posed her in more ‘conventional’ model poses with a set up of a stool, an easel and a plant, but eventually decided to capture her awkward, distressed-artist essence through a simple close up shot against a plain background.


Camera Settings

Canon EOS 77D: f/2, 1/1250, ISO 400, 50mm

Gotta admit I’m not the most familiar with camera settings so whether these settings are crazy or not I honestly don’t even know.

Digital Process

Spot Healing:
The first thing I did was to of course spot heal almost everything possible. I spot healed her spots as much as possible before her skin could turn plastic, then the dirty furring on her beret, then the dirt on her glasses/ eyes as well as her fallen lashes.

Separation/ Frequency:

1. Recolour
Using the brush tool, I recoloured certain spots on her face where there were redness (from her spots) and discolouration (dark spots around the mouth and chin). I also lightened the lines of her neck a bit but didn’t remove them entirely.

I decided not to fully remove the stains on her sweater because it adds personality, since it is what she chose to wore to this shoot. Without removing, I darkened the stains so that they’re not the centre of attention when someone looks at the portrait, but just a subtle touch to the model’s personality.

Similarly, I didn’t remove her arm hairs but lightened them. She’s not ~perfect~. I didn’t remove the little hairs sticking out of her beret either, only one strand that was really out of place.


2. Color (Lasso)

I used the lasso tool to gaussian blur for smoother skin, to lighten her pores and redness.

Finally I decided to change the shape of her beret a little. I didn’t liquify it to become one smooth, perfect shape because then I might as well remove the stains on her sweater and everything else too. I made the ‘bumps’ in shape slightly less abrupt and smoothened the shape out just a bit. I then rasterised the layer to colour away the fraying fur (not sure if I’m “supposed” to do that but I did).

A little fun with liquify. How ya doin’?

Typography: Haiku


I’d actually written three haikus in total:

Haiku #1: Jupiter
The Great Red Spot looks
like a ginormous pimple
Rest well, Jupiter

Haiku #2: Oh No
1, 2, cha cha cha
3, 4, oh no no no no
I fell on the floor

Haiku #3: Help
The sun is so hot
I’m literally melting
Please don’t forget me

If I had the time I would love to come up with sketches for all of them, but I decided to go with the third one since it’s the most applicable one to how I was and am feeling.


One refined version:

While creating different sketches, I realised that I worked towards automatically placing emphasis on certain keywords in the poem – specifically sun, hot, literally and melting, by creating completely separate looks for these particular words, in contrast to other filler words. I wonder then, how could I make it so that all the words of the poem gel together well in one style, while still having emphasis be put in the right places?

It was a fun challenge though, to see how my brain could come up with different ways to represent certain words such as for ‘sun’ and ‘hot’. You could be literal with representation, using rays for ‘sun’ and fire for ‘hot’, or you could also use elements that suggest similarly, like a shadow for ‘sun’ and heat waves for ‘hot’. I definitely struggled with ‘melting’ though, and wonder if there are any other ways I could have done it without being so literal.

I also wanted the last line of the poem, “please don’t forget me”, to be small and/or hidden… because… yea. It’s like pleading to not be forgotten.

Typography: Typographer of the Week – Jan Tschihold


Reading about the life that Jan Tschihold dedicated to typography and graphic design has got me feeling all inspired, yet 100% worthless at the same time. How could one have devoted that much of his life to one passion? Thank God for him that his efforts had obviously paid off, seeing his impression left upon the world up till this day.


Perhaps what inspires me the most about Tschihold is his boldness when he came about a change of style after visiting that Bauhaus exhibition in 1924. Despite being so completely new to this experimentation of modernist type, he dove right in to producing works the direct opposite of what he believed in not too long ago. The fact that he persevered years without fear for his beliefs to become recognised and eventually made himself known through both appreciation AND hatred for going against the norm, shows the sort of confidence that any artist should have – although it could turn out overbearingly arrogant.


The next thing that really caught my attention was Tschihold’s method of approach towards creating a perfect page: Tschihold’s Secret Canon. Who would have thought, apart from the simple rules like rule of thirds and golden ratio, that so much math could be involved with graphic design? I would also have never imagined there being so much specific calculation involved in creating ‘aesthetic’ calculating up to fractions of 1/15, etc. Having been exposed to both news, feature and interactive magazine design back in polytechnic, Tschihold’s approach to perfect layouts has no doubt opened my mind to understand that there are always ways of doing things that you would never think of. 

Jan Tschihold is unquestionably someone to be respected for the impact that he has had on the world of typography/graphic design today. It’s interesting to see how SO much thought and process has gone through (like, years) what we have now come to see as very apparent ‘aesthetic’.


Typography: Type in the Wild


Unfortunately all cooped up in Pulau NTU, the best place that I could get to within the week was Jurong Point Mall. Albeit just a shopping mall, it was interesting to see the distinguishable levels of ‘professionalism’ in type design between the logos/signages/posters of established and non-established brands.

Generally, it is observable how more established brands have cleaner typography in their signages, even with the use of different font classifications and types within one sign. From what I’ve observed, good signages/typography come with proper combinations of different types of font styles, such as combining serif with sans serif, heavy weights vs light weights, uppercase with lowercase, and so on. I’ve seen that it is not a must for ALL of these rules to be applied at the same time, where different combinations can work together as well, as I will “explain” through these pictures.

Observed: Double sans serif face, uppercase vs. lowercase, heavy weight vs. light weight, large pt size vs. small pt size

Serif vs. sans serif face, double uppercase, large pt size vs. small pt size

Other observations:

FUJIFILM takes on a simple, uppercase sans serif font.

ESPIRIT plays on font ‘design’ on a simple, uppercase sans serif font and adjusted kerning.

POPEYES combines a playful, lowercase serif font with a clean, uppercase sans serif font

Here are some bad typography examples that show how those observed “rules” are not always foolproof.

You would think a combination of serif and sans serif would mean you could probably also put cursive and a ‘sans serif’ Chinese font together, but no.

Same for these posters that just don’t work, for obvious poor choices in font styles and arrangement in design, even outside of typography.


Typography: First Impressions


For some reason, I’ve always been prejudiced against the idea of picking up typography as I’ve always just thought of it as something super d i f f i c u l t to do. Hence while looking at the core modules for this specialisation, I was pretty bummed about having to take typography through my years here in ADM. However, I also accepted the fact that typography is something crucial in today’s design industry and actually started looking forward to learning the art. Not to mention, the works showed at the start of this module definitely opened my eyes to more ‘fun’ types of typography.

I definitely did not expect there to be history within the module (thinking it was all going to be technical), just as I did not expect there to be so much history behind each design form in History of Design class. However, I look forward to having deeper understanding that will aid my thought processes in designing in the future!


Sleepy Choco, and our selected font for presentation is Didot!

Graphic Form: A Gallery


A fictional series of typographic portraits using my name and/or initials, “DC”, to describe my potential mishaps in future jobs, in the concept of the four elements – Water, Fire, Earth & Air.

GF: Image Making Through Type



An abstract abstraction of the left-behinds by the patrons of what is known to be the
‘print nation’ of Singapore, Sunshine Plaza, exploring the idea of what could have been.

01 Locale: Research Process | 02 Locale: Research Presentation
03 Locale: Zine Process |04 Locale: Zine Final

03 Locale: Zine Process

Locale: 01 | 02 | 03 | 04

While the final spreads are shown in this post, you may view the full zine here.

The process of this zine was no doubt a long one, but here goes.



“The personalities of Sunshine Plaza”

Ending off my research presentation with the thumb drive thief, I knew that that was the direction that I wanted to head in. Specifically, I wanted to make a zine out of what I could find inside the thumb drives found at Sunshine Plaza, as I felt that it would be a really unique, unpredictable concept.

Almost immediately after looking into a few thumb drives I was filled with excitement and regret. There were so many things to work with, so many ideas for different spreads, but they were all so, so different. I thought maybe since each different spread was going to represent a different thumb drive it wouldn’t matter if they were different, but if they were so strikingly different, then the zine wouldn’t come together at all. This was what I had a lot of trouble with.

“Printing Mishaps”

Apart from the personalities of Sunshine Plaza, I wanted to play on the different kinds of printing mistakes as well, since every ‘printer’ (designer, etc.) will definitely face the terrors of it. Specifically, I decided on pixelating, misaligning, double-printing and colour glitching my spreads. However, you might not see any examples of them in this post as further into the process, I didn’t feel comfortable with the idea of printing pixelated and misaligned work, and the idea of ‘printing mishaps’ seemed more like a random slap on the zine. I decided to tweak the concept a bit, where I worked on the wonders of what might happen if these lost files were printed.



This person has lost their resume, it’s useless now.

The first spread is based off the first file I opened upon taking the thumb drive, which turned out to be a resume. Not wanting to reveal anything about the actual person or use the person’s work, I decided to slice up the resume into over 500 slices and jumble all of them up and have them fall into a pile. The arrangement also represents how the resume is falling to pieces, deeming its uselessness as a lost resume.

Since every resume usually comes with a cover letter (which was not found in the thumb drive), I took all the words from the resume and made them into paragraphs that make no sense. I placed a text box separate to the paragraphs, reading “Daer Sir/Mdaam, Psleae aecpet the elcnsoed ruesme for ftruher rvieew. Snriecely, 0011688”.

I played on the scientific idea where a person can still read words as long as their first and last letters are in place. This allowed me to still have the words look jumbled up, but also give a hint to viewers that this represents a cover letter/e-mail. And again, all the letters are falling into the pile, just like the resume pieces.

I wanted every spread to have its representative thumb drive name to symbolise how this is what I know these people as. This thumb drive’s name in particular was 0011688. Since the thumb drive had a resume, I of course knew what the person’s actual name is, and it came along with a logo – which is what the person uses to represent their self. I decided to play on this, where I overlapped 0011688 over the person’s logo, to show how I don’t know the person as the real them, but as 0011688. And yes, even this is falling into the pile of uselessness.

I actually also tried to play with a literal ripped resume, rather than the digitally sliced up one. However, the rest of the zine at this point of time was already very ‘digitalised’, and this composition just didn’t fit in, so I stuck with the sliced resume instead.

Food Stains

So far, the spread does not have any visual link back to the actual location of Sunshine Plaza. From my research presentation, I found out that the second most done activity at Sunshine Plaza is to eat, and specifically for people who go there to print, they tend to have some ice cream at Merely’s after printing.

I decided to incorporate this idea into the spread, imagining that if this person had gone to print their useless resume and then gone for ice cream after, they’d probably stain it really badly (and also try to wipe it away, which obviously wouldn’t work!)

My first attempt at this also had a bubble tea cup stain, but it wasn’t very visible after scanning, so I decided to just leave it as ice cream. On top of that, in my second and final attempt, I started dripping and wiping ice cream off immediately after printing, which resulted in smudges of the actual ink of the logo.

Final First Spread:




The second thumb drive that I worked on was filled with codes. When I say filled with codes, I mean FILLED. Immediately, I was confused – what’s a programmer doing at a printing shop, much less this print nation?

I simply opened several files of the codes on a coding software, and took note of the corresponding codes and colours.

To draw visual reference to Sunshine Plaza’s signage, I decided to use the large, black italic font for the thumb drive’s name, and change the coloured words to highlighted boxes instead to match the orange sign. I then proceeded to arrange these files of codes in a messy order to symbolise my confusion, and perhaps maybe even the programmer’s confusion, as to what they’re doing at a printing place.

The italic font was obviously too bold to match Sunshine Plaza’s sign, so I changed the font to a lighter one. Also, since the original idea for the zine was to play on printing mishaps, how the spread came about was through the idea of double printing, where I duplicated the exact same design but flipped.

Not duplicated:


Even though I decided against the idea of slapping on random printing mishaps, I liked the effect that the duplicate gave to the spread as it added on a lot more to the haphazardness. I decided to misalign the highlighted boxes and their corresponding codes (as compared to the first picture) as I really enjoyed the messiness. I also changed the order of arrangement where the NO NAME on the left is now in the back, as I wanted to avoid having the spread look too similar to the first spread, where the thumb drive’s name was close to the top left as well.

Since the first spread was printed and scanned, I felt the need to do the same for the rest of my spreads otherwise the first spread would be very out of place. As I was in a rush, I printed the next two spreads on my printer at home, which doesn’t have very good ink. As a result, the colours of this spread changed in the print despite being printed in CMYK, and I felt that this was a really good representation of what would happen if a programmer printed his codes that are meant to be digital.

Final Second Spread:


Third Spread: ACE

“Too. Many. FILES.”

Playing with the floor plan of Sunshine Plaza along with added elements from the thumb drive’s work. The second picture is also a play on the shelves of files and paper at Sunshine Plaza.

This was no doubt the most painful spread that I had to work with, and what you see above are only some of the rejected ideas. Thumb drive ACE essentially consisted of way too many files that seemed to touch on every possible thing – floor plans, illustrations, photography,  song lyrics, etc. I initially wanted to combine aspects of the different works to form a whole other work, but the problem that I faced was that all the attempted spreads could not tie in together with the rest of the zine because at this point, the first two spreads somehow managed to both take on the concept of ‘glitch’ although completely unintentional.

For a long while, this mixture of the different elements of illustration and types of floor plans was as close as I could get to matching the composition to the rest of the zine. However, something still didn’t feel right, and the spread still wasn’t abstract as the other two spreads.

Thankfully, my very helpful friend found a series of work by Andrej Ševčík titled Freezing, that she felt could possibly inspire me to create a better spread.

This is what the idea plays on:

So there I went, duplicating boxes over and over, trying to get something out of them. I stuck to using part of Sunshine Plaza’s floor plan as my visual reference back to the location. The use of ‘X’s and ‘VOID’s, an element taken from the one of the thumb drive’s floor plans, is to symbolise the ‘irrelevant’ shops that are not printing shops. I also tried to make the name ‘ACE’ out of the laggy windows, to show that maybe, this person’s computer was lagging really bad and he/she just decided to play with it.

While I actually like the composition with the ACE in the background, the spread still didn’t match up to the rest of the zine. I guessed that maybe it was due to the lack of text that’s very apparent in the first two spreads? Or there’s just not much to decipher out of just the lagging windows. So, I decided to combine this with my previous spread, and came up with this:

The messy background is a play on the irony of how floor plans are meant to be very, very neat, but now it’s all messed up because of 1) how ‘laggy’ the thumb drive is and 2) the floor plan’s useless anyway, since the thumb drive’s been lost.

I took the text from the actual floor plan from the thumb drive but played around with the words, for example changing the scale to ‘inaccurate’ and the date to ’16 APR 2000′ (because back in 2000, we had these laggy windows computers, and 16 apr was the date of submission).

I also thought it would be cool to incorporate the name ACE within the lag, showing a form of distortion that’s very much like a glitch. I placed the name backwards as I wanted to mess around with the viewer’s eyes, where there is confusion of whether to read from left to right or right to left. You could read from the text on the right, and follow the trail of the circle outwards, or you could follow the trail in from the left, towards the text.

I also wondered whether I should design the laggy windows to resemble the actual blue/grey ones, but decided to keep them as just plain boxes to represent the ‘files’ or ‘printed paper’. Furthermore, keeping this spread almost pure black and white lets it match with the very first spread, leaving the centre spread to be strikingly outstanding.

Finally, I crushed the spread and scanned it, to show the frustration of this floor-plan-maker whose work turned out to be no where near tidy.

Final last spread:



“Take a look inside.”

My simplest yet most favourite idea of all.

I made the front and back covers be the front and back of a thumb drive, except the two holes are instead an illustration of the windows of Sunshine Plaza, so you’re literally taking a look into the thumb drives of Sunshine Plaza!

The turnout of the printed-scanned-printed version of the covers wasn’t so good, as the centre line in the back couldn’t be seen. I decided to leave the covers as their original versions, since thumb drives can’t be printed anyway, unlike the three spreads. While I also played around with incorporating title(s) and text, I decided to take them away to leave viewers to their own interpretation/realisations.

Final covers:



At the beginning of this project, I really wanted to explore photography and illustrations. However, I just couldn’t give up the very initial idea of maybe printing each spread on papers from different print shops (which eventually led to the use of thumb drives instead). While I struggled a lot with this zine (and am still upset that I didn’t get to explore photography), seeing how un-me it is in its art style, it’s been a really good challenge by forcing myself to work with what I have. I couldn’t plan any of my spreads out because they could only be based on what I actually find, which means I couldn’t have a specific aesthetic goal in my mind. All in all, I also really like to think about how this zine would have been completely different if I had just taken any other thumb drive.


– END –

With that, I’ve come to the end of my semester with Graphic Form. Thank you Joy for all the encouragement through the past year, and also for all the snacks and pizza!