MandoBuddy providing a platform for people who would like to improve and practise their Mandarin by connecting them together, along with Mandarin speakers in the world who love to make friends. Other than interactions with people through text messaging and voice notes, users also go through Quiz of the Day to help them widen their Chinese vocabulary. Recommendations for popular Chinese songs and dramas are also included as part of the function so users may grow interest in the Chinese culture through these mediums. Quiz of the Day and Recommendations may also allow the users to have common topics to start chatting.

Here’s the link to my MandoBuddy app prototype

1. Briefly share your experience going through Dialogue with Time. What were some of the feelings, thoughts, challenges and insights gained while role playing an elderly person? (150 Words)

The trip to Dialogue with Time was very insightful as it walked me through facts regarding ageing, then projecting the future me (as an elderly) before allowing myself to role play as an elderly. In reality, as a young adult who has yet to experience the difficulties faced during old age, we could only see what the elderly experience through our eyes. This exhibition had allowed me to put myself in the shoes of the elderly by stimulating the problems they faced with daily. One of the exhibits was the stimulation of tremors while unlocking the door. I had a taste on how difficult it would be to insert the key into the lock with tremors and I believe that the actual tremors experienced by the elderly would be even worse. While the stimulations do not entirely represent the difficulties stimulated by them, it has helped me to understand their circumstances better, to a certain extent. That evoked an even stronger sense of empathy towards this group of people which gave me a greater reason to want to help them.

2. Drawing on your experience, can you think and list some of the benefits inherent in the design research technique of role playing? (150 Words)

  • A better understanding of the “role”
    • Role-player personally faces the difficult situations which are never encountered by him/herself so he/she is able to gather primary thoughts and feelings on the issue through personal encounters during the role-playing process. With personal emotions evoked, role-player will be able to delve deeper into the issue instead of just touching the surface of the issue.
  • Different POVs – gathers different understanding of the same “role” by different people
    • During encounters by different people, people will notice the different problems faced by each individual. With the help of role-playing, we are able to gather more inputs based on each individual’s own role-playing experience. The inputs can then be pooled together to solve the design issues faced by the relevant group of people.

3. Can you think of some contexts where role-playing can be useful to help discover and define design challenges or contribute to the development of design solutions? (150 Words)

In situations where people find it difficult to understand the actual circumstances or something that people do not feel as strongly for, role-playing will be effective in discovering and defining design challenges as it is an engaging way to expose people to the situation of the particular group that is concerned. One example would be mental illness. Most people assume they know how it is like suffering from mental illness but what they understand may differ from the actual situation. Through role-playing, people may change their initial way of thinking and allows them to see things from different perspectives (as a particular person in concern and as an outsider). That can help with giving a more all-rounded insight as compared to someone who only has one.

1. What are some of the current issues confronting our world today? Amongst them, what is of interest and a cause of concern to you? (250 words max)

Autoimmunity Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)

AIDS is an acquired viral infection caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HIV) which attacks the human immune system over time and result in a compromised immune system. Unprotected sex is one of the various ways which it can be transmitted. Public education on AIDS has been ongoing for years and yet, there is always this stigma and discrimination present in society. With it being a sexually-transmitted disease resulted in its association with “shame, embarrassment”. Thus, this social stigma that is present has in turn prevented affecting people from accessing HIV services.


Vaccine hesitancy

While immunizations have seen success in the prevention of many prevalent diseases such as measles and chickenpox, some parents are reluctant to vaccinate their child due to various reasons such as complacency, inconvenience in accessing vaccines and the lack of confidence in it. This causes a loss in herd immunity and is a reason as to why some vaccine-preventable diseases continue to exist in society.


Ageing population

With the increase in life expectancy and the ageing of the “baby boomer” generation, the ageing population is becoming an issue of concern. This suggests a reduction in the labour force and lower economic growth.


Losing Ability to Speak Mandarin and Dialects in Singapore (Chosen)

In our English-speaking society today, where is the English Language is the main and preferred language of command anywhere, many Singaporean Chinese are losing their ability to speak or even understand Mandarin and their dialects as they lack the environment to interact in those languages.



2. Why is the issue important? Who does it affect and how? (200 words)

The main reason for the loss of dialect-speaking environment arises from the Speak Mandarin Campaign which was started in 1979 to encourage dialect speakers to speak Mandarin. This campaign was deemed a success as statistics showed an increment in the use of Mandarin in Chinese households and saw a decrease in people usage of dialects at home. As schools were all eventually turned into English-medium schools, there was a rise in English-educated speakers the Speak Mandarin Campaign turned to focus more on this group of people instead. As of today, this campaign continues to encourage more Singaporean Chinese to speak Mandarin which suggests that there are still fewer people who prefer to speak in Mandarin.

As such, this suggests that while fewer Singaporean Chinese speaks Mandarin than English, there are even fewer Singaporean Chinese speaks dialect(s). Less has been done for dying dialects, however. The increase in the number of youths who are willing to learning dialects stems from their wish to prevent the loss of their roots.

While there are people who find it important to not lose their roots as Singaporean Chinese, there are many more who finds nothing wrong with not being able to speak the languages, including the dialects. This is a cause for concern. There is a loss of culture when fewer, if not no one, speaks the languages in the future. While there are still many people who primarily communicate through Mandarin, language differs slightly in the different regions of the world. To protect the heritage, languages used in the specific regions must not die.


3. Who do you need to communicate to, and why? (150 words max)

I would like to target at Singaporean Chinese who find it difficult to speak, read and understand Mandarin and dialects. I hope that through this, the audience will be able to find the spark that pushes them to learn the languages. Learning them will help to preserve our region-specific heritage and allow future generations to appreciate the culture we have here in Singapore.


4. How has visual communication contributed to address the cause?

Mandarin Tip Notebook, fFurious, Print, 2017!works/digital/smcnotebook2017/5

The illustrations within the design were very clear and straightforward to tell what each word meant. The graphic stylization made the entire notebook appear more playful and hence more engaging. The use of bright yellow also further draws attention to the work so people would take a longer look at it and understand what is going on within each illustration. I find that overall, it has a good clarity to show what word, ways to read it and also how different countries refer to the same thing differently.


Speak Good English Movement Postcards, fFurious, Print, 2017!works/featured/sgempostcards/4

This design comes in the form of infographic postcards. Symbols were used to illustrate what the words or sentences meant. While the dense title looks great, it got me to wonder if the subheadings appear too dense that visual hierarchy is not present. At the same time, I am not very sure if this bold colour scheme works. That brings me to the clarity, I find that the 3 designs are not very legible as the colours used were too distracting for me. I would have found that it is more informative than engaging and the elements are not interesting enough for me to keep my eyes on them.


The New Singlish Perpetual Calendar, Ng Xin Nie and Donn Koh of STUCK, Print, Year Unknown.

This calendar appears to be inspired by the lunar calendar and comes with Singlish vocabulary. This delivery format was great as the calendar is something which people look at every day. Therefore. for someone learning Singlish, the attempt to incorporate that in the calendar may help the learner to learn new Singlish vocabulary every day without having to flip through a book to learn about. That saved the hassle. This complimentary colour scheme used is very close to the one used in the lunar calendar and that helps to draw a relationship between the two. This is also very clear with clear hierarchy that helps to draw attention to different parts and follow. The fun element in this work is the ability to flip to other days/month/year and the user will be able to learn new sentences everyday, making it engaging.


Before the start of this course, I did not have a clear idea of how the different art movements came about and all of them just appeared to me as separate entities. Throughout these 4 weeks of graphic design history, I have a better understanding of how the different art movements are related to one another and how the modern graphic design came about. It also allowed me to understand the importance of typography in the world of graphic design as it was something that many people overlooked/could not understand.

With topics briefly touched on during class due to the constraint of time, I find it difficult to pick out a topic that I find especially interested in to explore deeper. Hence, I find myself trying to squeeze out something to write about for the weekly reflections. Despite so, I find that the reflections useful in allowing me to grow interests in the topics that I was researching on.

The quizzes have reinforced my knowledge of graphic design as it forces me to remember things that were shared in class. If possible, perhaps fewer questions can be tested on the names which were only introduced to us on the day of the quiz as it can be difficult to remember the similar names related to different design movements. Or maybe you can introduce some questions related to the visuals of the specific design movement.

Overall, I find that the history of graphic design has widened my exposure in graphic design and I think that has helped with my sources of inspirations in my works. So thank you Desmond for your effort!

I particularly liked the editorial designs of Harper’s Bazaar magazines by the Russian designer Alexey Brodovitch. Other than the interesting cropping of photographs which he was famous for, there was an intensive use of white space to bring emphasis to the visual elements on the cover page. The dynamic grid columns was interesting to me as well as it was very different from the regular horizontal and vertical grid system.

Brodovitch was the art director for Harper’s Bazaar magazine in the United States from 1934 to 1958 and revolutionized the mainstream American publications with his experimental editorial layouts – “the use of text and image in dual page layouts; the use of color photography; cropped and off center images; and the extensive use of white space”. (The Art Story) Brodovitch’s legacy was something worth mentioning as his experimentations are still relevant even as of today.


“All designers, all photographers, all art directors, whether they know it or not, are students of Alexey Brodovitch.” – Irving Penn (The Art Story)


If you don’t like full skirts…
Article in Harper’s Bazaar, Photographs by
George Hoyningen-Huene
March 1938 (Iconofgraphics)


The Consensus of Opinion
Article in Harper’s Bazaar, Photograph by Man Ray
March 1936 (Iconofgraphics)


Through his designs, I see how type and image can flow together to make a well-designed layout as he often relate his images to his typography within a spread. That showed how we can view typography, not only as plain text but also as an image on its own to achieve a layout that is dynamic and interesting. His works have played a very important role in the world of editorial design and they have inspired me to create something that can be as interesting.



“Alexey Brodovitch Paintings, Bio, Ideas.” The Art Story,

“Alexey Brodovitch.” Iconofgraphics,