2D: “Typographic Portrait” Process Part 2


Whilst researching on reference artists, I came across David Carson’s TED talk on “Design and Discovery” that he gave in 2009. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFpANOqSdi8)

The whole talk was around 25 minutes, but I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it. He was extremely funny and insightful.

One thing I wanted to share from his talk was when he talked about the power of emotion in design. I feel like he explained this in a really simple and concise way when he showed two pictures of ‘warnings’ spray painted onto two doors.

Here’s an extract of his transcript:

“I’m a big believer in the emotion of design, and the message that’s sent before somebody begins to read, before they get the rest of the information; what is the emotional response they get to the product, to the story, to the painting — whatever it is. That area of design interests me the most, and I think this for me is a real clear, very simplified version of what I’m talking about.These are a couple of garage doors painted identical, situated next to each other. So, here’s the first door.

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 9.53.29 PMYou know, you get the message. You know, it’s pretty clear. Take a look at the second door and see if there’s any different message.

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 9.54.49 PM O.K., which one would you park in front of? (Laughter) Same color, same message, same words. The only thing that’s different is the expression that the individual door-owner here put into the piece — and, again, which is the psycho-killer here? (Laughter) Yet it doesn’t say that; it doesn’t need to say that. I would probably park in front of the other one.”



After watching just this part, I was taken aback by how the same message simply written in a different way could have such a discrepancy in affecting the viewer. I realised that there emotion is truly powerful in design- I just need to know how to express it. I’m am hoping (and will be consciously trying my best) to evoke this kind of emotion in all my work so that I can effectively relay my message and more importantly, make an impact on the viewer. But it will be a challenge to channel my emotions into my designs and choosing the best way to express myself.


2D: “Hello”


Hello! I am now in a new semester with new exciting projects lined up!

In our first 2D class we were assigned this fun mini ‘project’- to decorate our name cards in 3 ways- abstract, conceptual, or using typography. We were supposed to present out name cards to the class in Week 2 but I couldn’t make it for class so here are my presentation notes that I had prepared beforehand!

I decided to focus on three aspects on myself based on the nature of each requirement.



Name card 1: Typography (Obsessive compulsive/ ‘perfectionist’/ Conformist?)

In the brief it said to pay attention to the type of font, the spacing, the overlap, the positive and negative space, use of capital alphabets etc.I went with a simple drawing which said ‘W i d a d’.

I did everything ‘right’ in the sense that I followed the proper ‘rules’ and the norm for writing your name. This was to show how I was very much an obedient rule follower in life as well as in design. I also wanted to show the so called ‘perfectionist’/ obsessive compulsive side of me, so the spacing had to be exactly equal between each alphabet, and each letter is drawn out as perfectly as I could. I’m the type of person who always colours within the lines.

The main medium I used throughout all the name cards was pencil. This was mainly to reflect the lack of confidence and the self-doubt that I carry with me. Using pencil symbolises how I always need a safety net- to be able to erase my mistakes to achieve ‘perfection’, or to be able to erase what I do in case I change my mind. This is different than having the confidence to use pen straight away.


Name card 2: Abstract (Scatterbrain/ Absentmindedness ) 

Of all the 3 cards, I think this is pretty straightforward.

  1. I really love henna designs
  2. The crazy mix of designs show how ‘scattered’ my thoughts are (I always have too many tabs open on one window, I am frequently scolded for jumping from one topic to another, I forget where I left my phone/bottle at least 3 times a day/ )

(Abstract Henna designs flowing and going crazy-to represent scattered thoughts


Name card 3: Conceptual (Lack of independence and self-reliance) 

It probably sounds as if I view myself really negatively (which may be true just sometimes!), but really, I find that it’s so much more interesting to explore your own flaws and maybe sometime discover why you have them and what you need to do to fix them. The last name card, I wanted to convey my lack of independence. As I grew older, I realised I wasn’t as independent and self-reliant as I should be.

Following the rules and having someone to show me the way often leads me to ‘success’- because I’m good at following orders, but it doesn’t lead me to somewhere new neither causes change.

You may be wondering why all 3 name cards have more or less the same font and same style. I did this to show what happens when you get too comfortable in your own bubble, play safe and rely and expect others to guide you and show you the way. I can achieve ‘success’ but the outcome is nothing outstanding or special each time. I confine myself by creating a template by following others but the result is really nothing new or exciting each time. I need to be independent and take risks to be able to create new experiences and achieve my own success- to create my ‘own font’.


I think that was somewhat deep for name cards.



2D: “Typographic Portrait” Process Part 1


Hello all!

I’m extremely excited to be working on the first 2D project for Semester 2! It is somewhat similar to the last project we did last semester (on ‘Self’), but I feel like this makes it slightly more difficult because now this project really pushes you even more explore aspects of yourself.

To recap, the 3 attributed I covered in the ‘Hello’ project were: Being a ‘perfectionist’, scatterbrained and lacking independence.

Because I’m indecisive and still cannot decide which 6 to choose:

Some characteristics I’d like to portray about myself

  1. Meticulous/ Obsessive Compulsive
  2. Conformist/ Following the rules/ Colouring in the lines
  3. Lack of independence
  4. Revealing too much (being too open?)
  5. Indecisive
  6. Clumsy
  7. Absentminded/ Scatter brained
  8. Procrastinator/ Unfocused

How can your 6 attributes be best represented typographically?

I’m not very sure,I’m still in the process of deciding which concept I want to choose.

I have a few concepts I have in mind:

  1.  I’ve read several pages of Barbara Emanuel thesis on “Rhetoric in Graphic Design”, and it is extremely enlightening. Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 10.13.09 PM

I never thought as my artwork that I’m making in ADM as a means of persuasion. But in reality, we are unintentionally making choices as we design in order to portray a certain image of ourselves/ our beliefs to the audience.

  1. My first concept idea would be emphasising rhetoric in my composition. I thought of playing with the idea of opposites/antonyms of attributes (Flaws VS Strengths). As humans we always want to hide our flaws and show people only our good side. So I thought that I could create pieces where my flaws would be disguised as strengths.

2. My second concept idea is ‘Dreams VS Fears’. Rather than focusing on what we are, I thought it would be interesting to represent our attributes in an indirect way by looking merging the extreme ends of the spectrum (what we aspire to be and what we fear / what is stopping us).

For instance,

Dream: “My name is Widad and I’m healthy and fit.

Worst Fear: “My name is Widad and I eat brownies for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

My reasoning for this is that I feel like I am always in the middle of these two extremes and I always aspire to become this dream while fearing the worst. So it would be very intriguing to explore this balance.

3. My third idea for my concept was looking at my relationships with others. This concept would be process driven, involving the other person in each relationship.


An idea I had for the medium was to focus on environmental typography- to bring in the relevance of my major- product design. As I want to learn to design sustainable products, the typography/ fonts/ types I make could be limited to natural/ recycled materials.

That’s all I have for now!