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History of Design (VC) | Lecture 4: Graphic Design So Far

This week, I am focusing on two things: International Typographic Style & Psychedelic. The former is an impactful  movement that shaped Visual Communication heavily in terms of organisation of information. The latter is a movement that I’m focusing on purely based on aesthetics and the message behind it which intrigued me.

International Typographic Style

- Traces back to Neue Grafik
- aka Swiss Style 
- Emerged in Russia, Netherlands & Germany 
- Further developed by designers in Switzerland 
- Emphasis on readability & objectivity to communicate ideas effectively 

- Usage of grids & Sans-serif typefaces 
- Style is associated with preference for photography instead of illustrations/drawings as a primary design in addition to text


The emphasis on clarity for this movement paved the way for universally understood way of communication through visuals. It creates a sense of order and control in my opinion. This allowed room to play more with the graphic element be it photography or illustrations etc since the texts are more structured using compositional grids. It is also laid out better to create a better eye flow that is natural so that the message comes across more clearly.


- Art, Graphic or Visual Displays related to/ influenced by Psychedelic experiences & hallucinations form psychoactive drugs 
- Visual Arts were a counterpart to psychedelic music
- Evident in concert photos & record album covers
- Generated controversy due to its links to illicit substance

- Kaleidoscope swirling/spiral patterns
- Strong colour palette
- Concentric circles & repetition of motifs & symbols (eg. Paisley)
- Art Nouveau & Victorian influences

It also had an influence on comic book artists who created undergroudn genre of comic book known as “underground comix“. They were often satirical in nature.

Underground Comix



I think this movement stood out to me visually due to its association with Art Nouveau influences, which in my reflections before, I did highlight my interest in. The contrasting colours were refreshing to see and although jarring at times, it somehow created harmony as colours were carefully curated to complement one another and placed with thought. In this art form, in my opinion, the text came secondary to the image shown. I believe this is due to the fact that since they were attracting controversy, through this manner, they were still able to attract their targeted audience and those who were interested in the scene. It created almost a, “camoflouge” for them to continue existing and to spread their movement/style/message.

History of Design (VC) | Lecture 3 Reflection: To Bauhaus & Beyond

Lecture 3 was pretty insightful and there were many styles/art movement that really intrigued me. However, for the purpose of this reflection, I am going to focus on two of them which is Cubism as well as Surrealism.


- Invented around 1907-1908
- By artists Pablo Picasso & Georges Braque
- Very much focused on the different perspectives of human figures
- Resulted in painting that appeared fragmented and abstracted.

2 different styles of Cubism :

  • First Stage: Analytical – Muted, earthy tones were used
  • Second Stage: Synthetic –  More colourful and used mixed media

Juan Gris

Portrait of Josette Gris, 1916
Juan Gris

My favourite artwork shared during the lecture was one by Juan Gris, called Portrait of Josette Gris. Between the two styles of Cubism, I much rather prefer the Analytical style. Although Juan Gris was more known for his works in Synthetic Cubism Style, this particular painting stood out to me. The earthy tones and the form of the figure created a sombre feeling. The depth was created with shadows in various rigid shape form.

Though the shapes used in Cubism were angular, it’s interesting to still be able to see movement and life in the paintings.

Pablo Picasso

Better known for portraits

Georges Braque

Better known for landscapes



- Founded by Andre Breton, a poet in Paris in 1924
- Artistic & Literary movement 
- Played with irrational and subconscious mind 
- Possessed dream-like visuals, symbolism, unexpected juxtapositions & collage images

Andre Breton

- Advocates that artists should bypass reason & rationality by accessing unconscious mind to create art
- These techniques were later known as automatism 
- Allowed artists to embrace chance when creating surrealist art

Sigmund Freud

- Influential works, esp book called 'The interpretation of Dreams (1899)
- Legitimised the importance of dreams and unconscious as revelations of human emotion & desire

Salvador Dali

- Influenced by Renaissance masters
- Had a bizarre surrealist style
- A skilled classical painter and illustrator
- Works often include ants or eggs

Final Reflections:

I thoroughly enjoyed this week’s lecture as it encased quite a lot of information that were interesting to me. Surrealism was the first art movement that caught my eyes, back when I was in secondary school as I was intrigued by the peculiar style it has and how it was able to convey a message that was individualistic, subjective and very personal.

It also played with the subconscious mind and was able to capture the essence of what the artists’ minds looked like. In my opinion, due to their renaissance-style, technical paintings, that contrasted with it’s almost “psychedelic” or a state of mind that was a daze etc, it created a sense of believability that could still resonate with a lot of viewers or followers of the art.

Links used:


History of Design (VC) | Lecture 2 Reflection: Industrial Revolution & Graphic Reactions

During the sharing session in class, Desmond reintroduced us to the art movement called, Art Nouveau. The works that were classified under this particular style really piqued my interest. The organic and expressive lines in the design was something I really identified with and fully appreciate. Hence, this reflection is going to cover that!

Here is some history that I read up on.

Generally, Art Noveau was generated by enthusiasts who were in the decorative, graphic arts and architecture throughout Europe and beyond, including the United States. It was also known as the Glasgow style or more commonly known by the Germans as Jugendstil. The movement lasted between 1890-1910.

This movement began as an effort to break free from the eclectic historical styles with an aim to modernise design. Inspirations were drawn from organic and geometric forms which formed elegant designs that created visual movement with the flowing lines. Art Noveau reflected transformations of the modern age at the time in an exuberant style that emphasized nature, beauty and optimism. Muted colours of greens, yellows, blues and browns were popular in this art style.

Unfortunately, the style ended before World War I which then led to the development of Art Deco.

Now that the history has been established, I’m going to move on to the artists and works. Although the movement existed in furniture, products etc, I’m going to pull the focus onto the graphic design as that was something that stood out to me most.  Perhaps what attracted me to Art Noveau was the emotions that the art provoked.

Alphonse Mucha

A Czech artist who drew influences from Japanese Ukiyo-e artist, Utagawa Toyokuni. He birthed the ‘Style Mucha’ where he was established as the pre-eminent exponent of French Art Nouveau. He came to popularity from the commissioned work of Sarah Bernhardt.

Works by Alphonse Mucha

Jules Chéret

He was a French painter and lithographer but was also known as the father of modern poster from Paris.

Aubrey Beardsley

A British artist who was notable due to his impressive impact on illustration art. He was able to make a name for himself in a short span of 7 years and one of his most popular works were his illustrations for Oscar Wilde’s play, Salome. Unfortunately, his career was cut short due to the onset of tuberculosis.


This art movement was something I connected with as I’ve always been a fan of muted tones in graphic designs as well as clean, wavy lines. Hence, Art Noveau was a movement that was not only visually pleasing but also able to evoke an emotion that rested well with me. It communicated a sense of freedom and expressed delicate yet bold statements with its intensity in visual metaphors and expressions along with its flowing lines.


Links used:

History of Design | Lecture 1 Reflection: Writing to Typography

This week, we learnt about the Evolution of Communication from Writing and how it led up to Typography.

First and foremost, let’s differentiate the terms, ‘Petroglyph’, ‘Pictograph’, ‘Hieroglyph’ & ‘Ideograph’.

Engraved carvings/images on rock surface in prehistoric times. While they can be found in literate culture, they’re more commonly practiced by illiterates.

A symbol for a word/phrase and were the earliest writing system created by the Sumerian. This is often painted onto rocks, not necessarily engraved, using natural pigments.

Characters of the ancient Egyptian writing system, discovered in the Rosetta stone. At the time, only those who were privileged with extensive education were able to read, write and understand Hieroglyphs. (Pharaoh, priests, etc)

Use the ‘rebus‘ principle where they use a combination of pictures that mimic the sound of the word.

A symbol representing an idea or a thing; graphic representation. It is not made up by suggesting sounds of word and required an educated individual to create ideographs. This was more so influenced by culture.

Given that, I was intrigued by the Book of the Dead, which used Hieroglyphic illustrations to communicate the word or phrase with the rebus principle. They were written on papyrus; made from the pith of the papyrus plant. 

This is how papyrus is made, though this is a more modern technique:

Really interesting mind boggling how they were able to figure out a way to create what we have today as paper!

Moving on, Book of the Dead! It is essentially a compilation of religious, magical texts of the ancient Egyptians that illustrates the spells for souls of the deceased to navigate in the afterlife through the Duat (underworld).

They have 4 chapters which are as follows:

A Book of the Dead were commissioned by those in preparation for their own funerals or by relatives of those that were recently deceased. This was something that could only be afforded by the rich, royal and the elites.

Karl Richard Lepsius was the first translator of the book.

Karl Richard Lepsius, first translator of a complete Book of the Dead manuscript

To get a better understanding of what the Book of the Dead is about, here is an easy-to-understand animation that I watched which gave quite good insights for laymen.

In summary, what the Book of the Dead is, is the compilation of spells on a papyrus scroll that the deceased need to pass through the underworld and into the afterlife. One’s soul must be equipped with the spells that they have commissioned or have been commissioned to have.

The Egyptians mummify the body of the deceased and remove every organ of the dead. They left the heart and top it with an amulet as the heart is thought to be the seed of memory, intelligence and emotion.

In order for the spirit to reunite with its body, it must first pass through the Duat, a realm guarded with scary creatures where the soul used the customised scroll to get through these creatures and reach to Maat; Goddess of Truth & Justice. It is judged by 42 accessor Gods that judge whether he had lived a righteous life. After passing this test, with the help of the amulet, the soul has to pass the test of the weighing of his heart against a feather. If deemed heavier, he will be devoured by Amet; a monstrous creature made of crocodile, leopard and hippopotamus. If it is lighter, it is deemed pure and is then being transported to the afterlife.

How to read?

What we learnt in class was that it was read from left to right, right to left or top down and this is purely based on the direction of the hieroglyphs. They’re written in rows or columns and the direction can be distinguished by the direction as to where the human or animal figures are facing towards the beginning of the line.

Another thing to note is that the upper symbols are read before the lower.


I found it really interesting on how writing systems evolved throughout the centuries and how it transformed to what it is today to create a way of reading and writing that is vastly understood by many around the world. It was an eye opening lecture, though intense with the bombardment of information. I really enjoyed learning how Serifs and Sans Serifs came about and the insights shared by Desmond. Looking forward to Lecture 2!

Links used:

Egyptian Hieroglyphic Alphabet

Final Project – Form and Visualisation

For this final project, we were tasked to design an installation structure that consists of a reclining or seating element in a we chose based on an aural memory or a heightened Aural experience from the site. 


We had to do a site analysis and I did it with Sylvia.

Here is the link to our site analysis:

After analysing the site for measurements, circulation path, gathering point, sun direction, etc, we proceeded to the research and development of our installation.

Research & Development

At this stage, we had to design our ideas using only paper cup and at most, one other element if needed. To me, this was probably the most challenging part as I found it tough to develop ideas based on paper cup forms. I decided to just experiment without any drawings nor ideas in mind and just started creating.

Here are my developments:

After consultation, I settled on a particular idea. My lecturer mentioned that the curvature of my installation should be expressed better and hence, instead of straight lines, I decided to go ahead with the twisting element of the sticks.

I chose my materials to be: Balsa Wood, Skewer Bamboo Sticks, and Art Card

Upon attempting my final model, it became clear that I could not go ahead with Balsa Wood as the nature of the wood is too fragile for an expressive curve as it broke.

Hence, I attempted my model with Basswood. I wet this for about 4 hours and shaped it. I made sure to clamp it down and use concentrated heat to shape it into place.

Here is the process through pictures:

Another thing was that I wanted the grills to the seat to be able to slide so that during the day, one can block out the sun whereas during the night, they may slide it open.


Take note that this is a 2-3 seater chair.


Final Project (Dark Object): Family Portrait


by Jessie and I


While designers bank mostly on the capitalisation of mass production, critical thinking is rarely involved in the making of their designs. This disregards the very need for emotional and personal connection to the average consumer. Our dark object aims to provide an immersive, emotional experience for viewers while telling a narrative, in an attempt to portray the multifaceted feeling of loneliness and abandonment.

Our narrative, essentially, depicts a story of an elderly man, suffering the loss of his son, daughter-in-law and his three granddaughters through an unfortunate accident that involved the negligence of his son when he drank and drive. They were on their way to celebrating his birthday. Every year since then, he gets reminded of that feeling of loss and abandonment as he lives by himself and celebrates his remaining birthdays, mourning their loss.

The purpose of this object is not to torment but for one to reflect on the importance of valuing what we have, at this moment in time. In this life, we can be too caught up on the riches of life yet forget the most basic of it all, love and family.

Design Process Documentation 

Documentation Video

Body Storming

Developmental Drawings

Play Test

Video of Actual Installation

Click here for video!

The images Lei shared during her brief regarding ‘Accessories for Lonely Men by Noam Toran from 2001 really stood out to us so we were inspired to create our project based on that. Emotional connection with the user was of the essential focal point when creating the narrative, audio and visuals. We also focused on creating an ambience physically where we played around with the scent associations of an elderly man. We also added an old tartan shirt to add to the connection of the user, playing the role of the elderly man.

As mentioned earlier, the intent of our object is merely to spark and tug on heartstrings of users. It is to allow for an immersive experience for users to remind them of their loved ones. We get too caught up with the happenings in our lives that we forget to treasure the people we have left.  The very people who actually will be there for us regardless the circumstance.

Hence, this is to allow users to be able to connect with the art, though might not be from a first person’s perspective, they would still be able to follow through the narrative and feel affected enough by it to trigger an emotion.


What we needed:


With regards to the narrative, the sound was designed according to its association with the storyline.

Main character: ‘Ah Kong’

Rest of the characters: 3 Granddaughters, Son, Daughter-in-law

As the user approaches the frame, the ultrasonic sensor will trigger the WhiteLEDs to turn on.

Played through a bluetooth speaker, it starts off with the ambience sound of “Happy Birthday” being sung to ‘Ah Kong’ which also acts as Ah Kong’s reminiscent to his past birthday with his beloved family. This is meant to establish context and add atmospheric noise to the room.

A separate headphone plays the calling of Ah Kong by his granddaughters. It should be loud enough to attract users to pick up the headphones and create urgency for them to do so. This guides the users as to their next step.

As they pick up the headphone, the photocell will trigger the next audio to play. This audio is of the son, talking to his dad, ‘Ah Kong’, establishing that he it was ‘Ah Kong’s’ birthday but his son could not make it for dinner but is still planning to come over with his family to celebrate the remaining evening with his father. He skips the planned dinner to head out for an evening of beers with his friends before driving his family to ‘Ah Kong’ house.

The audio then switches to him driving, in the state of being drunk, and speeding in the car. The end of the audio triggers the servo motor to push the frame down, signifying the first death of the narrative, ‘Ah Kong’s’ son.

With this, the next audio is triggered where the audio of his granddaughters are played, calling out to him. This, like before, acts like an indicator to guide the user to pick up the frame.

Upon picking up, user should realise that one of the WhiteLEDs, the one of the father, that is, has been switched off where the WhiteLEDs on the rest remains. The next audio establishes the context that the rest of the family except ‘Ah Kong’, were in the car during the accident, while they were on the way to celebrate ‘Ah Kong’s birthday’. The end of the audio triggers the servo motor to push the frame down.

Once again, the indicator of the granddaughters calling out to ‘Ah Kong’ will be played to guide the user on the next step. As they pick up the frame, like before, the 3 other WhiteLEDs are switched off, indicating the death of the mother, and 2 of the older kids.

The user will notice the youngest child’s WhiteLED is still lit but will be blinking while her audio crying will be played and faded out. The audio will end with the switching off of her WhiteLED, indicating her death too.

After which, the RedLED’s of all 5 members of the family will be flashed at their hearts, signifying their death while ‘Ah Kong’s’ WhiteLED will still be turned on, conveying the idea that he is still alive.


Step 1: Connection to Arduino

Step 2: Coding – Arduino – Servo Motor & Lights

Step 3: Coding – Processing – Sound

Step 4: Building

Step 5: Creating a physical ambience with scents and set-up

Please refer to:


This project has allowed me to really understand the ins and outs of an interactive project. As a whole Experimental Interaction served as a platform for me to understand the culture of making, open sharing and collaborative art pieces, which are done to provoke and trigger emotions, conversations and debate. What we have learnt over the past few weeks during research critique have equipped us with the basis to create a hopefully, effective installation for users to experience. We realised that we were both very much drawn to the aspect of family and abandonment and most particularly, elderlies and how they are often under-appreciated. We wanted to dive deeper into that. If I am being honest, the coding didn’t come naturally for me and I struggled through the process of coding. I would definitely be brushing up during the holidays as I feel like it could be a hindrance for me to achieve a greater understanding of the subject matter. I am truly interested in the art of interactivity, in particular, if it involves social matters.

As for sound engineering, I felt like I have really understood the craft of creating an ambience and emotion with audio. This project allowed me to evoke emotions for users without visuals and that’s the biggest takeaway for me because it taught me the importance of sound and the ability of how certain elements could work with others for users to make associations and paint a picture in their heads.

All in all, this project was definitely one that was extremely challenging given the huge amount of complicated coding involved, coupled with the multiple elements that went into it such as the building of the object. This was very much important so as to simulate the proper installation and create a reality for users.


Project 2 – Locale Zine: Toa Payoh

This is it! The final project for Graphic Form this semester.

For Project 2, we were required to create a zine based on the allocated locations.

Zine is a “self-published, non-commercial, independent publication” where you can pretty much be experimental in your different ways to express your ideas or message such as through type, illustrations, form, colour and more.

I was allocated the location, Toa Payoh. At the beginning, I was not quite keen on this location as I was unfamiliar with it. Furthermore, the nature of the location did not really spark any sudden ideas for the direction I would like to take for my zine. However, I tried to keep an open mind!

We were first required to present Part I: Site analysis, documentation & Research. 

This allowed us to establish the context, history and uncover stories or architecture of the place, that would help generate for our zines.

I did a pre-site-research before visiting so that I would roughly be able to look out for things as I went along. It allowed me to cover important or iconic areas of the location and be more focused during site visits.

I generated 3 ideas, as stated in the link above:

  1. “The firsts of..”
  2. The Old and New
  3. Freaky Tales

I went back and forth between the 3 ideas as I had several areas of exploration for the three options and was not quite sure which one I wanted to pursue. I felt quite lost for the first couple of weeks as I had a tough time deciding on my creative direction. I wanted to attempt illustration as I knew that it was a weaker area of mine, as compared to photo manipulation.

I ended up deciding to go ahead on Option 3: Freaky Tales of Toa Payoh as I felt like that expressed Toa Payoh quite well when I visited the location. In addition to that, I was genuinely more drawn to and fascinated by the murderous and haunting cases that happened in the area.

Originally, photo manipulation came to mind. However, I realised that with photo manipulation for the horror theme is something that was quite predictable. For instance, the glitch images using RGB channels such as these:

I wanted to try a different direction. I’ve always been interested in Gestalt but never really got around to trying it as my illustrative skills weren’t the best. However, when Ms Mimi showed us images by Noma Bar,

my interest was once again piqued. Of course this stylistic approach demands for critical thinking in design where you are challenged a step further to make universally recognisable associative images and link it to another image metaphorically. Personally, as an aspiring designer, I knew that wasn’t where my capabilities lie as of yet.

During my many attempts,


After a few consultations with Ms Mimi, I started my illustrations and went for a different stylistic approach. For this particular zine, I did not really have an artist reference. Rather, I developed my illustrations based on what I thought suited the narrative and played around with composition and visual cues.

I felt like my graphic style was drawn from Noma Bar but I adapted it to fit my style.

This zine was particularly challenging for me due to the very fact that I had to create visual cues that would identify with the masses while connecting the images to the narrative and establishing the architecture of Toa Payoh. In addition to that, I did not really have reference images in terms of style so I had to develop my own. In a way, it was kind of like discovery of my style!

However, in reference to the choice of bold colours, I was influenced by Tom Haugomat

Also, I was very used to using muted pastel tones when I illustrate but I decided to go for bolder colours this time around to communicate my ideas.

My  main selected colour scheme:



My narrative: 

Basically, I read up on a lot of paranormal happenings and murder cases in Toa Payoh and wanted to cover many stories but I realised that my zine was only 8 pages and establishing context needs to be done. Therefore, having too many stories may overwhelm the audience.

Therefore, I decided on a narrative where I, as a third person, having a third eye, goes to Toa Payoh to explore and met lost souls where I hear their stories and tell them through the zine.

Consistency — The white colour represents the lost souls.

My process: 

Sketches: PHOTOS


Illustration Process: PHOTOS

1st page:

This page was meant to communicate the title, The Third Eye and represent the illustration of me, having this ability.


The Final Page:

I decided to crop the whole face illustration to just the eyes to communicate the third eye reference. The moon indicates the association of these lost souls who only come out in the dark, at night.


2nd - 3rd page:

This page was meant to set the tone and narrative to readers where I establish that me, as a third person, is going to the other side to communicate with the lost souls from the underworld.

I experimented with compositions and used a unique place in Toa Payoh that had a nice contrast against the nature of old buildings in Toa Payoh; Toa Payoh Town Park. The motif that stood out to me there were the hexagonal-shaped border of a pathway.

Photo I took and used of Toa Payoh Town Park:


The message of this particular page was to relay that I was crossing over to the other side to communicate to the unknown. Some of them did not look like I was actually in motion to reach the other side.  Constructing the composition of this page to deliver the right message was particularly challenging here. As I had to have a balance between the reaching out of the unknown figure and me, as a third person is mutual.

The page next to the above is this one below. I tried to play around with the initials of Toa Payoh (TPY) to fit it into the proportion of the face using typography but I disliked how it looked. Hence, I decided to keep it simple as I wanted the text to stand out in this particular page since it establishes the main context that act as an introduction.

Final spread:

Whilst playing around with layout, I realised that I could communicate the idea of the underworld through the illustration. The underworld is represented as the opaque image where I visibly look smaller compared to the real world depicted below the image above that served as a reflection in lower opacity. I played around with opacity that illustrated the opaque one as the current reality of this zine.


4th - 5th page:

This particular page is the recreation of a case that happened back in 2015.

Reference to story:

Basically, this guy who assumes the job of a medium, kidnapped two kids and tortured, rape and murdered them.

The landscape in this is a graphic illustration of the actual house where this incident happened. I used the shadow man because ‘shadow monster’ is usually associated to the monsters children are afraid of.

Final spread:

I decided to add a knife that resembles that the man was actually one who is evil and has killed them. The lost souls are represented by the white colour and this was consistent throughout. It also acts as the highlight of the page in which the text, if any, is related to the white figures and it tells their narrative.


6th - 7th page:

For this spread, the reference to this story was inspired by:

In summary, this is a story of a cross-cultural love story that was not accepted. The lady experienced unrequited love where she was rejected by her lover even after moving out of her house to pursue her relationship with him. They moved into Bidadari Cemetery where she was forced into prostitution to fund her boyfriend’s gambling habits. She got pregnant and the guy refused to accept her and the baby. Hence, she committed suicide.

In this image, I was trying to communicate that due to the rejection by her boyfriend, who happens to be the only loved one she had left since she abandoned her family to be with him, the boyfriend not only led to her suicide but also the murder of the baby.  I used visual metaphor to communicate it where the usage of silhouettes and associative representations were used.

The cemetery illustrated in this imagery is also extracted from the real Bidadari cemetery. The challenges in this particular spread was definitely the composition and where I should introduce a highlight to the page without overwhelming it while still highlighting the cemetery as a location. I also still wanted the attention to also be kept on the stories of the souls.

For this particular spread, it was originally just the image of the lady, baby with noose and man’s hand as a whole spread.

But I added other elements as shows below.

Final Spread:

I decided to introduce a slight textural element to the image with white dots that resemble a starry night as I felt that it looked too plain and didn’t seem interesting enough.


8th page:

For this final page, I wanted it to conclude my zine and relay a location through an iconic image.

Therefore, with Ms Mimi’s suggestion, I decided to illustrate myself, seemingly depicted smaller compared to the compiled lost souls that are behind me. There is a spotlight shining but the remain to stay in the shadows which metaphorically also symbolise their inability to be spotted by the average person. Also, I added a shadow that for the illustration of me to symbolise that I am “alive” while the lost souls aren’t. I am also in colour which helps to amplify the latter.

To me, this was probably the most challenging page as I was really struggling with composition. I wanted to showcase the iconic dragon playground to establish the location but could not find the correct proportions.

I also played with distortion through replication and opacity for the dragon playground.

Final Page:

I actually decided to go ahead and print the image below as the last page but ended up really disliking it as it did not look cohesive with the rest of the aesthetics of the zine. Also, it looked very distracting and has an unbalanced composition.

Hence, I went to reprint the whole zine after changing it to the below:

I felt like it looks cleaner and conveys the intention of the idea better, in my opinion.

Also, notice the text here, it is a continuation to the text in the cover page.

I did two print tests before printing the final one where I used Maple White (150gsm) and Coated Paper (135gsm).

Maple White: Matte paper – I didn’t like how the texture absorbed the ink too much to the point where my illustrations looked faded.

Coated Paper – I preferred this effect where it allowed most of the ink to remain on the surface of the paper and reflects the colour better. However, the paper wasn’t bright enough which was why I decided to go with Bright White as my final.

I ended up going with Bright White paper (135/150gsm). It added a slight tinge of red to my zine which added the creepy effect to my zine as well!


All in all, I felt like despite the many challenges (and frustration) I had creating this zine, I felt like I did try my best and am overall satisfied with how it turned out. As with any designs, there are always things you would like and definitely can improve on. I did not manage to communicate the gestalt theory completely, but I am glad I did attempt something out of my comfort zone.

I used the above, which are elements of gestalt to help generate ideas for my illustrations when I can.

Given more time, I would love to develop the architectural part of Toa Payoh and incorporate it more into the zine. However, I guess what I was going with for this zine is more so something that is open for interpretation. Same goes for the dialogues used to communicate storyline. It was supposed to be open for interpretation as well.

Comments during crit!

However, given the feedback during the crit session, I understood and totally agree that I could do better in the representation of toa payoh. Will think about it for Vol 2 of this zine! Hehe



A group project by Jessie and I

During the body storming session, we managed to get quite a bit of feedback that were relatively helpful. In summary, we gathered that we lacked relatability in our object for it to be impactful to users. In addition to that, we had several technical difficulties. With that, we made improvements in our play test.

Here’s what went on!


Our set-up:

What we were trying to do:

  1. Having the tester approach the object and have the ultrasonic sensor to trigger the white lights to be switched on and ambience sound to be played.
  2. The range of the of proximity of the tester will trigger next sound
  3.  The servo motor was to topple the frame down
  4. Each time the frame topples down, the tester is expected to pick it up and see that the white light of each member will be turned off one by one as the steps go on.
  5. Repeat 2, 3 and 4 until the red LED is turned on at the same time,  glowing against all the faces of the family members who died in the accident, leaving grandpa’s LED to remain white.

However, as expected, during our playtest, we ran into a couple of problems in terms of technicality and relatability.


Technical :

— RGB Light not being able to turn a true white

— Processing coding

— Servo coding

— Soldering


— The narrative was relatively clear in which the depiction of the story interpreted by the testers were accurate

— The testers were unsure of what they were supposed to do.

— The mechanism of interaction isn’t clear in that it needs something to draw the testers to interact with the object

We tried to ask questions to the class to understand what type of commands and associations are needed to allow for a more seamless interaction.


— Need something to ask the user to come closer & interact with the frame

  • have audio calling out to user
  • start with the frame down first and the audio calls out to user to help to push user to pick up the frame
  • as this happens, users will see the lights go out

— Establish context

  • have a journal together with the interaction
  • death of date circled
  • have physical ambience (belongings associated to that of an old person such as walking stick and metal tin) ‘
  • have ambience sound play first
  • establish sound of grandpa so users can understand that they are the grandpa then followed by the “Happy Birthday” audio

— Immersive Experience

  • have headphones
  • establish ambient sound, as the user puts headphones on, the interaction starts
  • have a deeper narrative
  • make the experience longer as it seemed rushed

Videos to check out!

Therefore, with the considerations of the comments made and the help our lecturer provided us during consultation, we attempted to move on to our final project.

Check it out!




Final Project Development Drawings


A group project by Jessie and I

Establishing context, Jessie and I chose Option B – Dark Object where we designed and built an object that communicated the emotions of loss, loneliness and self-pity, as mentioned in the brief.

We both came up with a few ideas and realised that we shared one idea in which it had a common denominator, in that they involved the loss of a family member.

Therefore, collectively, we decided to merge this idea and develop it:


A1: Leaving dirty dishes on the table after a meal that will result in replicating the nagging from mum that has passed on.

A2: Forgetting your towel in the shower and needing your dad to pass it to you. Presented through a disobedient object that'll move in the opposite direction to you as you reach for the towel hanged on it to simulate how dad used to tease you.

A3: Having the mat to trigger a prayer/chant before eating to simulate parents who are always reminding you to say your prayers/grace.

A4: Altar/prayer area activated as you walk pass to keep as a reminder and simulate the presence of a parent/elderly who used to frequent the altar.

A5: Door mat triggering the sound from a child that passed on when someone walks and steps on the doormat in the child's room.

A6: Having an object to simulate a parent waking up the child every morning where the alarm will trigger the motor to roll the blanket out of the bed.


A7: Reminder alarm is triggered once the laudnry basket is filled to recreate the nagging from mum when you don't empty the laundry baskets into the washer.


A8: A snack cabinet that triggers the recreating of the nagging of a parent when you reach for a snack.


A9: Family photo frame where when coupled with an associated audio, will trigger it to be knocked down each time a family member passes.

The feedback from this idea was the best from both our classmates and lecturer.

We felt that this idea had the most potential as well.  Jessie and I also felt that we could connect most with this idea.

The next step was to figure out how people would interact with our object and what elements and tools to consider.

Link to our body storming session:  Click here 



Final Project Development Body Storming


A group project by Jessie and I

Audio we played to simulate a narrative:


What did you learn from the process?

During the body storming session, we realised:

  1.  Timing and directions are of the essence when it comes to interaction. 

We realised that the interactive experience we need to provide the audience with has to be in correct timing proportions in relation to their reactions. This would provide a more immersive and extensive experience that would provide a better visual and audio association. Basically, it would make more sense if the audio ties in timely with their actions during the experience.

2. It’s all in the details! 

What we found was that the smallest details such as placement of lights that are introduced to our visuals and associative sounds that are universally recognised makes a huge difference in the user experience. It would allow the user to either connect or disconnect with the piece.

3. Connection with users

The user and an observer did mention that our piece did not make them feel things the way we intended to. There was barely any emotional impact. The reason being that they did not feel any emotional connection with the people in the photo since they do not know them.

Therefore, perhaps the suggestions that they introduced could help in improving this experience to allow for a better connection that would resonate with the mass audience.

  • Have the audio of kids playing and laughing in the background throughout as ambience sound
  • Add a visual effect of blood for everyone else but the grandfather (the last person standing)
  • Instead of the image of the grandfather, use a mirror to communicate that the if last person standing was you, how would you feel?
  • Establishing the context of the piece. [Is the participant the sole survivor or is the participant the people who passed on or are they just a third person?
  • Include the audio of the people who died to amplify the feeling of lost, capturing the essence of the person to create a narrative [eg. the recording of kids] –user will form a connection with the kid that would impact them more as they sympathise as they went along
  • Include recording of the grandfather (last man standing) of how he’s lost them or him crying.
  • Include the recording of the kids talking to the grandfather, having the user make the association that they are viewing it from the grandfather’s standpoint and that they’re not replying
  • Include recording of the kids talking to the grandfather but not have him reply [perhaps he doesn’t hear them?]
What surprised you while going through the process?
  • The fact that we did not consider the emotional connection the audience would not have since the photo was with people they were unfamiliar with
  • The unwillingness of some participants to repeat the steps to experience the piece
  • The critical importance of creating ambience to aid our user experience
  • The crucial importance on minute details
How can your apply what you have discovered to the designing of your installation?

We would definitely take into consideration all that we gathered through the following steps:

  • Be sure to add carefully curated ambience sound to allow users to connect with the piece and be emotionally invested
  • Be mindful of the narrative of the piece and consider the point of view of the participant
  • Creating an experience that involve the senses of a typical user that creates association and therefore allow for them to paint a visual in their head of our narrative or an interpretation of our narrative [eg. Have the kids call to the grandfather (user), add sense of smell through baby powder and axe oil]
  • Be critical in our decisions to create an immersive experience that would tug on heartstrings of our users. It has to be a somewhat universally accepted association that the user make to the piece to allow for an emotional connection to be established.

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