My final deliverables are
- A book with a book sleeve
The link to the book can be found here: https://issuu.com/fernandezleong/docs/dot_book_pages.4_lowres
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My final deliverables are
The link to the book can be found here: https://issuu.com/fernandezleong/docs/dot_book_pages.4_lowres
The first few weeks were spent on thinking about the metaphor we wanted to explore. I spent those weeks thinking asking myself, what do I want to work on? What matters to me?
My personal stake in the project:
The timing was quite coincidental too; It was near the start of the semester and as I do each new semester, I resolved to be better at design and life in general. I’m a rather petty and jealous person sometimes, but I was tired of being like that. I wanted a way to improve together with people and not feel like I was in competition with everyone all the time. It was exhausting and honestly, not very good for someone’s mental health. The metaphor project came at an interesting time and I thought that it would be an interesting way to learn more and be able to think deeply about something I care about. So, this semester, I learnt to help put aside my ego and instead, attempt to make more connections with people and support others and myself too.
The metaphor I chose was insecurity. In dictionary terms, insecurity is defined as “uncertainty or anxiety about oneself” and a “lack of confidence”. There were many posts online about the kinds of insecurity people faced and the methods of dealing with it. How was I going to talk about all of these insecurities? In the end, I focused on finding a metaphor for the general feeling of insecurity.
When you are insecure about life, it feels like:
Insecurity is like…
Insecurity is like… running a half-marathon?
My first metaphor equated insecurity to the stages of running a half-marathon. You start at the same line but somehow some people end up in front of you, you get so tired and somehow you have to keep pulling yourself along, you’ve got this because you trained for it, and somewhere along the way, you feel it might be okay, you’ve got this.
Well, it ended up being a little hard to explain what exactly about running the half-marathon is equivalent to insecurity. It felt a little flat so i abandoned the idea.
Insecurity is like… termites.
This idea came to me in that short moment before you fall asleep. So I literally shot out of bed and wrote stuff on a note pad before going back to sleep. Why are termites like insecurity? Here are some nasty facts about termites from my research:
Insecurity is similar to termites because:
The medium- Version 1:
The first idea was to create a game as a final deliverable, using Lightwell, a program that allows you to create games without coding. After facing some technical difficulties on my laptop in the first few weeks and realising that creating the game would instead require more resources or knowledge than I had, I reluctantly dropped it. However planning through the game gave me certain insights into the nature of insecurity and how I intended to talk about it.
The game required a storyline and characters to be designed in the initial stages. The main character was supposed to be a termite hunter who navigates through a path of complex pathways, battle termites, and somehow have to be better than the competitor that always seem to be doing so much better than you.
Along the way, the main character gets discouraged and tired and your words are supposed to help the character power up as they finish different stages. Each stage would lead them to a powerful weapon to aid in their journey- such as a sword of self-acceptance or a mace of self-approval- and would be a quality that each stage would try to help instil in the player. The twist in the game would come when you realise that you have to work with your competitor to defeat a final boss instead of having to defeat it along, thus promoting the idea of connection and companionship through the struggles of insecurity.
This idea was scrapped ultimately.
Certain takeaways I got from reading about games and gamification in design are:
The medium- Version 2:
In brainstorming, I considered several other mediums:
I eventually went with option 4- a book.
Creating the book:
For the content of the book, I looked at the stages of insecurity as a cycle and they are:
1. The problem
2. The search
3. The Journey
a. Forgiveness (of self and past)
b. Acceptance (of present and future)
4. The Solution
a. Self Approval
b. Good self talk
This should be seen as a process of actions to take when faced with insecurity. Healing does not occur in a linear timeline similar to the one given above but that’s okay. Therefore, in the book, I decided to give myself some parameters to follow for a cohesive final look.
Draft 1: Dot
The draft still felt as if there were too many elements in it. It was clunky and not very aesthetically pleasing. The first chapter had too many pages and it could be very draggy as a book.
When I went back to reflect on why it wasn’t working and through consultations with Nanci, something came through. There were some images of dots and lines online by Korean students. She also showed me the book “Flight of fancy” by Bruno Munari when he connects dots and lines to create simple yet light-hearted stories. Their simple use of dots to tell a story inspired me and made me realise that, in my piece, it is ultimately the storytelling that was most important. No matter the medium, the story it tells matter most. I didn’t want to just design dots base on post from Pinterest. The dot- a circle- meant something to me but I couldn’t articulate it. I went to look at more books and came across another of Munari’s book, Square Circle Triangle.
The circle has taken many forms throughout history and Munari’s book explores the various ways that it has manifested itself all over the world.
From this research, I reflected on what the dot means to me and came up with another set of parameters when designing the book:
In the end, I did away with the second parameter too and decided that only the circle could be used to design the entire book.
Cover PageFinal Book:
The link to the book can be found here: https://issuu.com/fernandezleong/docs/dot_book_pages.4_lowres
The dot in the book is the simplification of a human. In the book, it encompasses a human and its perceived wholeness of being. When the dot gets destroyed or punctured with holes it is no less a human being but one that has been destroyed inside.
Insecurity is a very personal journey to me. Everyone can look good on the outside to others but be very damaged inside by the thoughts you tell yourself. The book is printed in a small size (10.5cm x 10.5cm) because it is a book meant for one person at a time only. It is meant to be an intimate experience with the words and something that can be carried around easily. Nobody knows when the bad thoughts will strike us and I want the book to be easily accessible to all so that you can read it wherever you are. It is also divided into individual sections inside so that the reader can flip through to that page when needed.
My final deliverables are a book combined with a book sleeve, and post cards. Why post cards? These postcards will ideally be sold with the book. Postcards are items whose sole purpose is to connect a new space or idea to others. Since the journey of healing from insecurity is better taken with companions, the post cards can be used to send a message to people you care about or want to reach out to.
Through this project, I learnt much about my own insecurity, especially regarding my design works and ideas. I’m quite satisfied with the final deliverables even if I do have regrets about not being able to accomplish others. However part of the process of healing from insecurity is learning to let go and be with the present, which I will do.
Summation of journey for visual communication
To understand where a project has taken you, I feel the first thing we have to do is go back to its roots. Why did we choose this path? Why did we want to talk about when we show our final product? How did we get there? These are the few questions I attempt to answer before going into the final products.
The premise we were given at the start was interesting. When given the topic water and tasked to research on it, it feels open-ended, perhaps a little vague and more importantly, exciting.
What can we talk about water?
I went through a range of interests that I had before reaching the final topic I wanted to talk about. Below is a quick map to look at the thought process.
Water >> Naga and myths >> Conservation of spaces and movement of water in these spaces (Specially islands and water) >> Ecology of water akin to a cycle >> Water pollution and its roundabout effects of human
It took a while but when reading about water and water being part of the ecology, it just felt as if it were right topic I wanted to explore. How important is water to the cycle of life? Very important, as it turn out.
Here are some slides that were presented to the class in the process of thinking about what we wanted to talk about.
In the slides, certain key words were highlighted. Words like biodiversity, ecology; these words represents a relationship of similar things seen in different perspectives to me. How so? With biodiversity, we know that there is a wide range and variety of flora and fauna. With ecology, we deal with the knowledge of relationship between the environment and the living beings. With ecosystem, we think of these beings as a system. If one part were to malfunction, the whole system is affected. Therefore from small actions or changes come consequences. This brought me to the topic of a threat that we see far too much, anthropogenic threats, also seen as the impacts of the human ecological footprint.
The idea of relationship and systems interested me and I decided to look at places where we see tangible results of this relationship. One example was the Marine Dive Trail near St John’s island. Coral reefs are in danger of being damaged or destroyed by human activities hence the decision of NParks to protect the reefs. At the same time they turned the space into where people are able to join to admire and learn more about the reefs.
However, when researching more about the impacts of human threats on the ecology, I found that the impacts are way bigger and drastic than just the corals and the dive trails. That’s where my direction changed when I decided to switch the scope of what I wanted to say.
So I started researching. There were many articles and papers online about the effects of human action on the environment and I was admittedly unsure where to start.
When I was doing my research I tried to be as open minded as possible. There were many interesting articles about findings in Singapore and around the world. My initial interest was choosing between the mangroves in Sungei Buloh and the marine dive trail at St Johns. However my research led me to finding new terms such as microplastic, the circular economy, ghost fishing etc. These problems seemed so much bigger, so much more urgent that I switched my focus halfway and decided to talk about it instead.
Funnily enough, upon looking back, I felt that perhaps it might be better to stick to talking about these specific spaces. I don’t regret learning and talking about the plastic problem that the world is facing but I do feel that when talking about such a big problem, certain things get lost in translation, for example the sense that we can help as humans wherever we are, or even thinking about how this large problem has affected us in Singapore and how we contributed to it. I did talk about this in the booklet however I feel that it would work also if I kept narrowing the scope to these locations and let my research help inform the design and solutions I have for these spaces. Perhaps a continuation of this project?
In the end, I chose to talk about the impacts of human actions on the marine environment and focused on the effects of plastic pollution on the environment.
This came in the form of a project titled “The Ripple Project”. It is a fictional not-for-profit organization focused on disseminating information and educating the public about the effects of plastic pollution.
One of its main concerns was that the information about plastic pollution is too scattered at this point in time; there was no one place where all the information could be found. Similar to how the world is interconnected, the efforts of the other organizations should not be isolated. Share the findings! Talk about it! Link to other organizations and create conversations!
The Ripple Project’s first aim is to create an online space where the user gets connected with these organizations without having to go to many sites.
These are the three deliverables:
The online website ties in with the posters and booklet because it is the product that the users get directed back to immediately. It has informations on upcoming talks where one can register online, a challenge for people to participate in and learn about mindfulness, and links to local and globals organisations that hosts different initiatives or provide information on the pollution.
F0r the challenge, participants are encouraged to post photos of single use plastic they used over a one week period. Through this challenge, it hopes to cultivate mindfulness in the participants while allowing them to understand that every small action has unintended consequences, thus linking back to the idea of the ripple effect.
Screenshots of website:
2. The Booklet:
This was intended as a print booklet hence the QR codes included where users can scan with their phones and it’ll bring them to the website indicated. The booklet aims to reach students and young adults and it will most likely be distributed in schools, cafes, and included as reading materials in company lobbies.
The information inside introduces the reader to the plastic pollution problem before narrowing it down to how people in Singapore could have contribute to the problem. It then suggests ways that the people can take to reduce plastic waste before introducing links to organisations that the users can look through for future action.
3. The posters:
The posters are large with taglines that have bite sized facts about the problem. With more information below the tagline giving context to the problem, it aims to inform and encourage people to find out more about the plastic problem through the QR code. This code links the user back to the website.
Conclusion and reflection
The objective of the project was to raise awareness of the plastic pollution problem. However the harder part would be getting people to act. There are certain setbacks to this style of campaigning that I realised upon hindsight. The things I liked about the project was the amount of time we had to research on the topic before designing for it. It allowed me time to think about my role as a designer when talking about matters that extend beyond the field of design. I find myself asking questions like, why does this matter? How can I reach people better with my designs? Where will my designs be distributed so that the issue gets more attention? My skills has improved somewhat too. Upon seeing the works of my classmates, I find myself being excited about other methods of presenting information as compared to what I’m doing now.
The setbacks would be that I should have started on the creation earlier. I found myself stuck with too many things I wanted to say but then I got overwhelmed when I think of all that I wanted to say. When I look at the works of my classmates, I realised they picked a part of the whole and worked on creating a solution for that. This was something I feel I could definitely do better in. Also some design elements, such as logo creation or poster design, could be improved on too.
In conclusion, the thought process took longer this semester but it allowed me time to really think about my project. I really appreciate the ample time given to us but I really should be careful of being stuck in the thinking process. Sometimes I get frozen when thinking about the designs because you start thinking questions such as How can I design well enough to convey my messages, or something like that. With more time, I feel that my message and purpose of designing is stronger. As compared to the last few semesters, I don’t find myself questioning what the whole purpose of the project is about because I chose this path myself. Although it was tough, I felt that I learnt quite a lot about the design thinking processes (Will want to improve on this too) and my technical skills this semester.
The final image for assignment 1:
The challenges I faced were
In our first class, we received out brief: Create something that would fit on the glass window of the hospital and consider its relationship with the viewer, that’s what we would tasked to do. During the field trip to the hospital, here are the things I noticed about the space we were supposed to design for.
Through this observations, I thought about the function of my graphics and wanted them to be positive, light-hearted, and have the ability to provide a moment of happiness for the viewer. Since the location is only a place that links people to other parts of the building, they only have a few minutes to spare which is the only time I have to capture the attention of the people.
Initial imageries I wanted to play with were plants, for the soothing atmosphere it provides and its link to the outside of the hospital, or patterns with colours, that would invoke an emotional response in viewers.
The initial ideas I had were:
After learning that this was a purely 2D project, I decided to focus on the second idea. I then came up with 3 mood boards.
Throughout this three mood boards, I decided to work on the third idea and came up with some rough sketches. Before working on the rough sketches I decided to research on the function of a garden and the meaning of flowers which I was going to introduce to the design.
The flower language of all five flowers form a bouquet of good thoughts and well wishes which I attempted to convey through the array of colours and graphics.
I went to reference books on landscape design after to understand what the best way to design a garden was. Some tips I took away and decided to utilise were:
After the consultation with Michael, our lecturer, and the class, there were suggestions that the garden could be less dense while the flowers in the foreground could be larger to suggest that the garden is closer. The floating flower pots and its almost fantasy-like nature received favourable comments. Since it was a personal favourite too, I decided to keep it.
Stages of development:
The final designs for assignment 3 are as below:
There were certain challenges that I faced along the way which I feel helped me grow as a designer. Some of the challenges and solutions are as below:
I did learn quite a lot from the assignment and hoped that I would continue adding on to the knowledge as I continue on with my studies!
The assignment started simply enough- create folding and perforation lines to make a 3D card out of a single sheet of paper. Unfortunately I have never been too good at 3D materials but I am interested to see what I can do. Here we go.
When reading about the brief, where we have to explore possibilities in creating a get well wishing card, the first thing I did was think about the folds I wanted to use. I went through card pieces I saw online and at Art Friend and played with the idea of different folds to create.
I wanted to card with two folds that folded on top of each other. There were two ways that it could go then:
At the end of the first consultation, Michael, our lecturer, suggested that the image be the focus before thinking about the folds we want to use. It was the complete opposite of what I had been doing which made me panic for a moment. Then it was back to the drawing board.
When I think about graphics, I also think about what I am capable of currently. If 3D isn’t my thing, then I can focus on creating good graphics. What I wanted the viewer to get out of the card is happiness and a sense of warmth. Hospitals can be rather cold places, with their bare walls and rooms devoid of personal items. The card should aim to provide some warmth and convey the sense of love that people are giving when they give a card.
I focused on the graphics and thought if I wanted to do it digitally or traditionally. The things I thought of were flowers or colourful designs so I went to look for images online.
At this point, I just looked for images that interested me visually but had no idea yet how to apply them to the final product. Also I then came up with more sketches focused on interaction with the viewer.
3. The woodlands creature idea involved the inside of the card being a suggested space where woodland creatures come up to surprise the viewer with their cuteness and well wishes. I was still thinking of using the two fold design. So the first layer would be a door which would open up to an interior where the characters would give the surprise.
At the second consultation, we then discussed about the possibility of doing away with two folds and bringing it down to one fold where the first layer would just act as a door and the act of opening the card is akin to opening a door. Michael also suggested doing away with the “Get Well Soon” words at the top and creating a die cut with a character at the front, which will correspond to the design at the back.
I quite like the idea and decided to stick to it. I had a few design sketches for certain characters but realised that they would not all fit into the final design. So I kept to just four final characters- the Hedgehog, who would be inviting you into the room and has presents (yay!), the Bear, who likes to see people happy and warm so it made soup for you, the fox, who is shy but likes to dance in joy at seeing a person healthy, and the squirrel, who likes its nuts or acorns but doesn’t mind sharing if it makes you feel better.
After designing the characters, I then designed the layout. Using various image sources, I combined them into a final design.
At the third and last consultation, the suggestions given were that I had to consider about the space I was inviting the viewers in to when they opened the door. Also the images of the mushroom could be a little bigger to suggest distance instead of it being flush against the door. A classmate suggested that the corporate text at the back could be combined together with the design, perhaps on a notice board, which I found really helpful!
After weeks of consultation and tweaking, the final artwork was as below:
I wanted to give it a contemporary feel hence the font chosen. Texture was also used to suggest blood stains and the sac at the bottom of the mosquito where blood is usually collected. The mosquito creates an instantly recognisable image which people can understand visually before the words register.
Certain challenges I faced were:
Some research I did before starting the poster was to look at the different ways information was disseminated.
2. Illustrated infographics and comics: This form of information sharing uses a storyline and related graphics to share its information.
3. Image-driven: This form of information sharing is similar to how websites are design. It sections the information and uses large images that works with the text to create a pleasant combination.
The initial idea was to focus on sharing information in bite-sized portions and also to highlight the danger of Zika. Therefore I decided to focus on the second mood board above.
Initial mockup: Editing the image of a mosquito and redrawing it in an illustrated style. The purpose was to make it seem like a wanted poster hence the choice font seemed to that in a cowboy show.
After consultation, the slogan I decided to work around was “Who is the unwanted resident?” which focused on the idea of the mosquito being unwanted in the home. Certain information I wanted to illustrate were tips on how to mosquito-proof your home and what zika was.
In the end, due to time constraint, I decided to focus on an image and instead use it to catch the attention of the viewer and be able to bring across an understanding of the content with a look. Therefore I focused on the most iconic image to represent zika- the mosquito.
The following are some of the drafts:
After a final consultation, the slogan was edited to “The Unwanted Visitor”. Using visitor instead of resident gives the connotation that this is something we do not want in the house in the first place as opposed to a resident which means that it already resides in the home.
An example of health communication posters I have always found interesting are infographics. I have added two examples to show the variations an infographic can have.
What stood out for me were the harmonious flat colours and graphics. The colours had two purposes- They were used to create visual interest and also to create an image which the viewer can easily identify. Colours were also used to segregate different portions in a pie chart. In using graphics and colours together, it becomes almost like a story in visual form. For example, in the second posters, the orange van and green blocks were used to identify amount and the visuals make it easier to understand in one glance. The colours in the health posters tend to veer towards darker colours which seem more appropriate when the information is about caring for your body or going for checkups. A darker, somber colour would probably be better for older viewers. Yet perhaps putting one colour as contrast could help to create eye-catching sections for viewers to zoom in to immediately.
The information was easy to locate too. With a line separating major sections and information being spaced comfortably apart, the poster is easy to view and understand. Information is provided in bite sized pieces and is better to digest in.