Project 1: The Gift

For the first project of the sem, we were required to make a gift for our client based on their interests, hobbies etc. Initially, I found it hard to come up with an idea for the project while incorporating all the interests of our client. My client, Li Ling was an avid collector of the Japanese gundam toy, loves drinking coffee and the outdoors, loves working with children and tries to keep up a healthy eating lifestyle by packing her own meals.  In the end, I was given 3 key topics to research on for my gift idea.

Gundam, Coffee, Healthy Eating

In the end by some miracle and help from our prof peter, I came up with the idea of a mini healthy eating toy set inspired by the Japanese toy, Gundam.


The trademark for any gundam toy was that it came in these little plastic frames with parts that you were suppose to assemble together using an instruction menu.


I decided to replace these plastic toy parts with miniature food which I made using clay.


Because I wasn’t able to find a plastic frame, I had to go out to buy a gundam toy set and removed the toy parts for the frame. img_8984

I hand painted each “food” using acrylic paint.


And here are the finished products!! I made a combination of fruits, vegetables, protein and wholemeal bread, all the food you need for a healthy balanced diet.


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Project 1: Que Sera Sera Final

So here are my final 4 compositions!





This project really taught me a lot and gave me the chance to experiment with different mediums. It has also taught me to improvise a lot and to be more open minded when things don’t always go according to plan. This project has also been rather frustrating at times when ideas I had in mind didn’t always go according to plan or turn out the way I envisioned it to be. I learned more about expressing ideas visually through typography especially after looking at my friend’s works, I learned more about the different techniques they used and improvements I could make for future projects. Overall, this project has been rather fulfilling and I’m pretty satisfied with how my designs turned out  😀



Project 1: Que Sera Sera Process

To start off this project, I first listed out a few jobs I had in mind and what type of characteristics these jobs entailed.

In the end, I narrowed it down to these few

  • Designer
  • Architect
  • Tattooist
  • Marine Biologist

I was able to come up with a few ideas fairly quickly but it was the execution that would become the problem. After my first consultation, Joy also suggested that I have an over arching theme amongst all of my jobs to bring about a deeper meaning into my designs. I went with the idea of stereotypes of each occupation which I will elaborate on further in this post.

These are a few shots of my initial ideas:

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Marine Biologist

What do they do?

  • study all types of sea creatures
  • learning and research field, work with other universities and educational institutes
  • compiling research data, publish journals


  • oceanography centres, travelling to interesting places
  • tide pool, swamp, mangrove, coral reef
  • out at sea for an extended period of time, diving


  • dangerous
  • no social life, lack social or practical skills

I was inspired by these works by Sophia Collier and Kate Jackling as mentioned in my previous post.


Work by Sophia Collier
Work by Sophia Collier

 f1e3a5867372a4689c24bf292596b8fe        75dbaff532520615bc95b77b9d8be87f

I got the idea to use acrylic pieces in the shape of my initials and warp it to give it that water shadow effect which I felt fits my occupation as a marine biologist constantly out at sea and studying marine life.



Using the scroll saw from the 3D room, I was able to cut the acrylic pieces into the desired shapes. However, cutting along the lines proved to be very difficult because the blade was hard to control and turn. After cutting the pieces, I used a hot gun to melt the plastic and warp the letters.






Using 2 bamboo poles and an ironing board for leverage, I tried to suspend the acrylic pieces using nylon strings to cast a shadow on a plain surface.





Image of shadow casted when a light source is shone on it.

I also tried to play around with red light to bring the element of “danger” in my design ( a common stereotype of marine biologists ).




However, the desired effect was difficult to achieve and the red light ended up washing off most of the blue shadow. Hence, I decided to photoshop in the “blood” instead.

This was the original picture taken before edit.


Photoshopping away the background from the original picture proved to be very difficult without losing some of the reflectiveness of the letters as seen from the picture above. The clean white background also made the letters look flat and the edges sharp.


After consultation and advice from my peers, I decided to retain as much of the original picture as possible by keeping the grey ish background and adding a bit of a drop shadow to make the letters stand out more. I also adjusted the blue to bring out as much of the light details as possible. Using a brush tool, I brushed on some blood to illustrate the danger element in my design as a Marine Biologist is often considered a dangerous occupation with long hours out at sea.




  • messy
  • hard to succeed in Singapore, unappreciated
  • open-minded, “carefree”
  • easier compared to other occupations such engineers

The stereotype I decided to go with was how designers are often misunderstood as being an “easy” and “simple” job, that they do not have it as hard as other occupations. As an art student, I often hear remarks that my course was fun and easier compared to my peers who were in business or engineering because of the lighter workload and the fact that we don’t have much written assignments or a final exam. However, they fail to see the effort behind each design we come up with. All the research and process put in to convey a message through visuals. I believe that design isn’t just about the aesthetics and looking good, it is delivering a message or story well. A successful aesthetic design is one that delivers the message well while utilising good principles of design.

I was inspired by this installation by Inès Esna with the use of geometric shapes.

installation by Inès Esna
installation by Inès Esna


I also looked into the Suprematism movement and their use of geometry in the compositions. I wanted a clean minimal look in my design to bring across the idea of simplicity using basic shapes and primary colours.

Image result for suprematism     Related image

Using the scroll saw, I started cutting up the acrylic sheet into different shapes of different colours.



After which, I individually buffed the edges of the pieces using sand paper to smoothen out the edges.

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Initially, I wanted to suspend the acrylic pieces in a box along with other shapes in the background as seen in Inès Esna’s installation but decided against it. Firstly, I was afraid the font would get lost in the shapes as other shapes could be mistaken as other letters and I did not want my name to end up ambiguous. Secondly, suspending the shapes proved to be really challenging in getting the lighting right as well as photographing it without the acrylic pieces moving about.

I tried hanging it in a box against a white background.

In the end, I decided to hang the pieces against a white wall and photograph it instead.


After which, I tried to play around with the different colour combinations using Lightroom.

designer3 designer1


As the stereotypes for architects and designers are closely linked, I’m not going to make a list of stereotypes but rather talk about the stereotype I chose for architects in our local context. Considering Singapore’s growing economy and population with our limited land space, most of our old heritage buildings often get demolished to make space for new modern buildings. This is one stereotype I feel that people have of architects in Singapore, that they are constantly building new condominiums and shopping malls to replace our old buildings. However, I feel that this is not always true and that certain heritage buildings are still well preserved and appreciated. One example would be our shophouses. Shophouses are still widely seen around Singapore at places such as haji lane or duxton hill. They are integrated into our modern buildings and these places are often transformed into bars, cafes or hipster shops.

I got inspired to create letterforms from buildings using my name from some images I found online and I thought it would create quite an interesting composition.

pink:       Färgen:   Matthias Heiderich the-tree-mag-systems-layers-by-matthias-heiderich-110.jpg:   Pastels.:

This is a really interesting type of typography made up of photographs that look like letters. Sometimes they can be hard to read, but I think they're really cool and unique.:

Hence, I went around Singapore to photograph some shophouses to create letterforms of my name using the structures of these buildings.

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I tried making use of the negative spaces to form the letters ( as seen from the example shown above) but that proved to be really hard and I decided on cropping parts of the building to form the letters instead.

This was the first draft I made but after consultation, feedback given was that the letterforms were ambiguous and hard to decipher.


I felt like most of the problems were in the “C” hence I changed the design but it was still too ambiguous to be seen.


It was suggested that I used a combination of sketch and photography to distinguish the letterforms and after several revisions, this was what I came up with.




  •  sign of rebellion& irresponsibility
  • unprofessional
  • only people of lower class get tattoos / tattoos to determine social status/class

Tattoo placement:

  • Lower back:  promiscuous, “tramp stamp”
  • Chest:  symbol of love/ affection, image is close to the person’s heart, loved ones
  • Finger: middle finger: blood vessel that is directly connected to the heart
  • Forearm: toughness/strength, depends on the imagery (skulls/ anchor shows the person is strong on the outside and inside, flowers, etc shows that the person is tough on the outside, soft on the inside )
  • Neck: risky/daring, makes bold choices
  • Back: mysterious/ shy, symbolise ending of a phase in their lives/ relationship, put their past behind them

I think that taboos surrounding tattoos are a thing of the past and there is a large shift in the demographics and people’s perceptions of tattoos. There is an increase in the number of people getting tattoos and it can sometimes serve as an important symbols for a person’s religious beliefs, commemorate achievements and mark rites of passage. From the society’s point of view, some employers are starting to see it as a sign of individuality and they value that as an assert of their company.

However, there is still a form of struggle for people with tattoos, especially in our more conservative society. The struggle of hiding their tattoos and choosing when is the “appropriate” time to show them. Hence, I chose the forearm as the placement to depict my design as I felt that it emphasises this internal struggle the strongest. Since the forearm is such a prominent place, it is hard to cover up and the person would feel the strongest sense of judgement from people.

Initially, I wanted to use henna to draw on my design but decided on a black gel pen instead as it turned out looking more realistic and it brought out the details better. However, since I already DIY-ed my own henna, I thought I would just include the process in and it can be quite educational as well if anyone out there is thinking of making their own henna haha.

Step 1: 20g of fresh Henna


Step 2: 1/4 of fresh lemon juice


Step 3: Stir the henna and lemon juice until they are completely mixed together and no lumps of dry powder remain.


Step 4: Add 1.5 teaspoons of sugar and 1.5 teaspoons of essential oil

Step 5: Cover the paste with plastic wrap. Press the plastic wrap against the surface of the paste expelling any air pockets.


Step 6: Let the paste set for 24 hours and it’s ready for use!


I referenced some floral images online for my tattoo designs.

Floral tattoo:    Floral Bouquet 8.5 x 11 Botanical Floral Pen and by emiliebelle:

Flower style:     The shading and cluster size and outline is PERFECT. LOVE:


My designs:




To better bring across my message, I thought of photoshopping cuts on my arm to show signs of distress and struggle of hiding the tattoos. However, I felt like the cuts were too random and was not as impactful as I wanted it to be.


After consulting a few of my friends, I thought of making the cut surround the petal of the flower to show the act of carving the tattoo off of the skin as an act of distress. I really think this created the impact that I wanted much better.


Thanks for reading this super lengthy post! Next will be my final compositions 🙂