GRAPHICFORM | hello! artist references

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Tien-Min Liao
Handmade Type Typography
Published: March 14, 2012

This artist’s work is very creative. With the usage of her hands and fingers, she managed to create 26 alphabets, capital and non. It is a very interesting concept and unexpected that she was able to create so many.

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Andreas Schiefer
Evolution of Type
Published: September 9, 2010

The concept of this artist is very interesting! He merge the concept of the birth of alphabets to biology, and it was a very interesting combination.
With the letter S, he incorporated a Spine into it, as it starts with the letter S too. Even the way he constructs makes the cut very realistic!

This really inspired me to do a letterform using other mediums apart from traditional and digital.

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This was initially a reference for me to work on letterform ‘Z’, as I wanted to use strings to form a letter.

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These kind of batik art is a reference I wanted to make for my letterform.

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These are some batik and Peranakan cranes.

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For my hawker centre illustration, I wanted to have a flat lay style illustration, to show it from the top view of a table.

These are some of the researches and references I found online which are very helpful to my process.

Till then,


Create letterforms of our name using 4 occupations.
Lantern Painter
Hawker Centre Cleaner
Batik Fabric Maker

Thinking of which occupations to do, I came up with an idea of having occupations that are  under appreciated in Singapore. 

I started listing down the occupations that falls in the category:
1. Postman
2. Hawker Centre Cleaner
3. Domestic Worker
4. Construction Worker
5. Security Guard
6. Cleaners
7. Teachers

All these jobs are being under-appreciated, not only Singapore, but also other countries. As I start researching more into the jobs, I was thinking of having jobs that instead of being under-appreciated, they are more of dying trades in Singapore. 

Upon searching, there’s certain trades I found in Singapore that’s dying!
One is traditional lantern painter and there’s trades like Peranakan & Batik Maker. 

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Post-man is a trade that’s dying, due to the advancement in technology. Snail mail used to be very useful, as they were forms of communication, heavily used in the past.

However, due to technology and to save the environment, mails are being used less frequently. Instead of using snail mails, e-mails are being used. With lesser snail mails needing to be delivered, there will a decreasing demand for post-mans. We will not need them to deliver mails.

Thus, I feel that post-man will be a very suitable occupation for my dying trades in Singapore concept.

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When I went to search on dying trades, I found out about Lantern Painting, which is halfway on extinction in Singapore.

There’s only one lantern painter left, and he’s Mr Yeo Hung Teo.
While searching on him, I found several websites where they interviewed him. One of the websites was
It was explained that he learnt lantern painting from his father, and proceeded on to add his personal touch. He paints up to 7 layers, to give it a consistent feel and look better when illuminated from inside.

Lantern painting is a very tedious and time-consuming trade, as the details on the lantern is very intricate. This is a major reason why painters are decreasing, and many are turning to printed, machine-made lanterns, instead of traditionally hand-painted.

Having a local context and being a dying trade of Singapore, this occupation fits very well in my concept.

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As I was trying to think about trades in a local context, I thought about Hawkers, as Coffee Shops and Hawker Centres is very unique to Singapore. However, Hawkers aren’t a dying trade in Singapore as we love Hawker food!!! And I realised, there’s Hawker Centre Cleaners! 

To me, it feels that they are a dying trade in Singapore, also due to technological advancement. There are robot cleaners in Hawker centres, and with the increase of robot cleaners,  this poses as a threat for human cleaners, which will soon replace the robot cleaners.

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Thus this is a very suitable occupation to add into one of the four occupations of dying trades.

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When thinking of the last job, I was thinking of doing one regarding Singapore art culture, and I found trades like Rattan Weaving, seamstress, and Peranakan art.

I wanted to settle on Rattan Weaving initially, but it was too hard to find rattan 🙁
While researching, Peranakan craft attracted me. It’s a dying culture in Singapore as just like Lantern painting, it is tedious to make and much time and effort is needed to craft.
I wanted to focus on how hard and tedious the Peranakan craft is, by using a medium that is relevant.

I noticed that in batik making, the prints used was similar to Peranakan’s, with the usage of motifs and bright colours. Just like Peranakan, Batik is also a craft and trade that is dying in Singapore. Most batik fabrics are printed and machine made, due to the hard effort to make.

Thus, I feel that with the combination of several crafts and trades, it fits the dying trade very well.

Next, I will be talking about the process of my work!

Till then,