The Water Project – The Ripple Project

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:

  • A website
  • A booklet
  • Posters
  1. The website:

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.

Link: Ripple_Finalbooklet-compressed

Cover Page

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.

Assignment 1 Therapeutic Graphics: Final

The final image for assignment 1:

25cm x 25cm

The challenges I faced were

  • Deciding on the final direction I wanted to go with. There were so many ideas I had that it seemed such a pity to just focus on one but due to practicality and time constraint, I eventually settled on what I feel I could do.
  • Technical skills could be improved. I feel that I’ve learnt quite a bit about drawing on Photoshop through this assignment and aim to improve my knowledge.
  • Choosing of colours: I wanted to go with colours that would pop and be pleasant to the eyes hence the choice in pastel colours. The flowers had their own colour schemes too which made having a library in Photoshop a godsend.

Assignment 1 Therapeutic Graphics: Research

First visit to Eng Teng Fong Hospital

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.

  • The space was airy and large but seemed a little cold because of the monotonous colour usage.
  • Some windows were blocked by grilles which provided a limited view of the outside.
  • There was light coming in from all side and shadows were very diluted.
  • People were mostly zoning out or  looking at their phones. Most of them were staff and some of them were patients. Some patients and their presumed relatives seemed worried or tired.

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:

  1. Create 3D interactive pieces that viewers can interact with. e.g plants made out of cotton wall.
  2. Stickers with fun designs to be pasted on the wall. This opens up a lot of opportunity to play with the light coming through the window. Also there is a possibility of creating a suggested space where viewers can imagine the stickers as items that sit on the window ledge.

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.

Patterns and colours form a soothing design
Papercut-like designs- nature and floral motifs
Design of plants with cute graphics. Creation of a garden within the space of the window.


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 flowers were limited to just 5 different kinds with varying colours.
The flower language of white zinnia is goodness.
The flower language of yellow tulips is sunshine in your eyes.
The flower language of smilax is loveliness.
The flower language of iris is hope.
The flower language of pink rose is sweet thoughts.


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:

  • A well-equipped garden will revitalise us
  • The presence of plant life in a confined area inspires a feeling of satisfaction
  • Garden as a place for leisure
  • Perspective can be used to make a garden seem larger


Rough sketches:

Incorporating the flowers and pot graphics into a design
Another perspective but instead there are shelves.


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.


Second draft:

Using one point perspective helps lead the eye in and create a suggested space. The pots seem higher and seem to float above the viewer.

Stages of development:

Other ideas for design of pots
Colouring the pots.
In-progress. Pots and flowers coloured.


Assignment 3 Final: Get well card

The final designs for assignment 3 are as below:

Front of card
Back of card
Front detail of card with die-cut
Front detail (2)
Back detail with die cut
Interior of card

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:

  1. Designing the folds before imagery. Also thinking that folds had to be extremely elaborate for it to look nice which isn’t the case. A simple one fold can still look good. The thing that has to match and be considered is the combination of card fold and design. How does the design relate to the fold? How does the viewer interact with the card? How do they approach the card and what visual cues can we give them for a better experience on their side? These user-oriented questions would be better instead of self-oriented questions.
  2. Clarity of design. We need to ensure that the potential viewers understand what they are looking at before we can call the design a success. One good way of gauging is to show a mock up to people of the same age group as your potential client. They will be able to give indicators if the design is working.
  3. Pushing your design is needed. When you have an idea and it’s working out fine, what we can do next is how can we further push the design?
  4. Printing! This was a major problem because the alignment between both sides of the card had to be precise, which it wasn’t. I had to go back to the printer’s a second time after editing the design at home and check the alignment on the spot again. Upon seeing that there was still a small margin of error, I came up with a blue gradient on the outside of the design so that it would not look like it was a mistake. Also when printing, considering the card weight is important too.

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!

Assignment 3 Research: Get well card

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.

Sketches for card graphics and fold
Other exploratory sketches

I wanted to card with two folds that folded on top of each other. There were two ways that it could go then:


  1. A person raise their hands in triumph while the second layer forms a sunburst design. Both layers would be cut out with a die cut. The last layer would be a background upon which the first two layers would rest and together they would form a completed image of a person in a dynamic pose and cheering the viewer on.
  2. Words on top divided into three portions according to the fold of the card. The words say “Get Well Soon”. The imagery for this is undecided.
Front of mock up.
Back of mock up with box for corporate text and logo.

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.

Sketches and character sketches

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.

Character sketches
Hedgehog sketches

After designing the characters, I then designed the layout. Using various image sources, I combined them into a final design.

Pencil sketch for the front
Pencil sketch for the back design


Front mockup

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!


Assignment 2 Final: Zika Poster

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:

  1. Deciding on a slogan: Maybe copy writing is not my thing because I had a bit of trouble trying to come up with something catchy.
  2. Deciding on a layout I wanted to use: It was a little strange that I thought we had to do a sort of infographic and then I see everybody doing image-driven posters instead. In the end, due to time constraint, I did up a poster. Making a decision and sticking with it is something I have to learn.
  3. Positioning of image: I went through many drafts and mock-up to come to the final product. It was pretty interesting in the end.

Assignment 2 Research: Zika Poster

Some research I did before starting the poster was to look at the different ways information was disseminated.

  1. Infographics: This form of information sharing largely uses graphics and colors to provide information in bite sized portions and make it easily digestible.


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.

Mock up 1: The squares and circles were to contain information
Another variation

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:

Another variation of the poster where the information was supposed to encircle the mosquito image.


Playing with the mosquito image as main focus of poster. This has an old school feel, like the James Bond movie, hence I decided to put the target images to make it seem as if the mosquito was being aimed at.
A variation of the poster above. Black and red was added to give the mosquito a more menacing feel. Certain aspects of the mosquito are repeated also to emphasise its scariness.
Initial design with red background. This was an incident; I accidentally painted a whole layer red and it gave a bloody effect which I decided to keep.
A variation in which the font is changed and the red is more saturated. It gives a vintage feel which I quite like but might not use since I want to make it more relevant to present times.
The colour is a little off-color here… Playing with a textured background and suggesting blood stains.
Changing the position of the poster gives it a smoother visual flow. As English speakers, we read from left to right, which is what the suggested direction the mosquito image is providing us.

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.


2D Fundamentals Assignment 3: Ego

Hooray, we’ve just completed our last 2D Fundamental assignment and below are images of my works and sketchbook.


Final works:


The equations are as follow and each picture aim to depict the below mentioned quality:

  1. Curiosity + Practicality = Me
  2. Intelligence – Anxiety = An Ideal Me
  3. Improvement in technique x Confidence = A Better Me
  4. Hard Work + Experience = Me in 5 years

Images from sketchbook:



Artist References: Hollie Chastain, Jesse Draxler, Joseph Cornell, Mayuko Fujino, Martin O’Nell


Tetrad Harmony color test


Analogous harmony color test


Analogous warm 5 color test


Tetrad Harmony color test


Artist Reference: Fong Qi Wei

SAM_1813Color scheme ideas


Impossibilities of Being- 4D Fundamentals Assignment 2

Delving into the subconscious with these 90 images, I seek to show the three stages of sleep and my idea of the myriad of chaotic processing that goes through ones’ mind when in slumber.

The images are set in three stages: falling into sleep, light dreaming, and deep sleep.

Stage 1: Falling into sleep

The images are a metaphorical take on the act of falling into sleep. The figure is literally sinking downwards in a calm blue background. Bubbles and water then rose up to consume her entirely; they engulfed her being. Bubbles are almost whimsical things, they are fragile and disappear in the blink of an eye, and water has always been used to represent many things from peacefulness to danger. These two items introduces the viewers to the second stage.


Stage 2: Light sleep


The figure’s environment represents her state of mind. Flowers start appearing in different combination, in abundance to a single unit, and this represents observations from everywhere. We perceive with our five sense and each flower is a representation of the observations. When they clump together, they become an idea.

The flowers are present in an ever changing mass, they seem to be constantly in motion in the photos, while interacting with the figure.

The flowers are still realistic and recognizable here, suggesting a link to reality and the conscious.


Stage 3: Deep sleep

Flowers are shown with paintings in art. The figure awoke to find herself in a painting. This is her mindscape and the act of travelling represents the act of thinking through solutions to problems or mulling over an idea in one’s sleep. The figure is interacting with her subconscious here and it’s a personal space; the art are pieces which I feel an affinity to. The choosing of using art as a mindscape was made through my previous experience with art over the years too.

The environment is no longer reality and this suggests a break from it. The figure is truly in a space that does not exist but only in her mind. This is where she can find her true thoughts and ideas. It ends with the figure lying back down to sleep, exhausted with her mental forage, and ready to wake up to reality.


Artist reference:

Jeeyoung Lee

The Moment, Jeeyoung Lee

Childhood, Jeeyoung Lee

An artist who manipulates the space of her studio to showcase different realities.


Akira Kurosawa’s Dream


A movie that featured a part where a character went into Van Gogh’s paintings.



Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 11.19.40 am Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 11.19.33 am Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 11.19.20 am Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 11.19.26 am

There were certain scenes in Hannibal that showed the character sinking into water to reflect what is going through their mind at that point in time.



I have to admit, this was a really stressful assignment for me, perhaps because I have yet to define what photography means to me. Therefore I am still in the midst of experimenting and attempting to incorporate my skills with photography. I feel that this series aesthetic visuals were pleasant though awkward in some areas but I should also learn how to let photographs speak for itself and exist by itself instead of doing major photo-manipulation.

Class exercise- Anchor and Relay





4D 1

NTU, School of Arts, Design, and Media, 28/07/2015, .58PM, ISO 1/40



NTU, School of Arts, Design & Media, 28th August 2015, 3.49PM, ISO 1/20. Photo-taking activity for class.

4D 2

NTU, School of Arts,Design & Media, 28th August 2015.

The ADM school can be pretty empty but this time I think there is a legitimate reason: It’s probably class time right now.





4D 1

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

Langston Hughes



Text: The gaze


4D 2

Text: The noticeable dilemma of taking an arts education in Singapore