Box project

For our box project, we were assigned to make boxes that represent two similar or opposing ideas. Out of many brainstorm ideas, I chose “natural” and “artificial.”

I wanted represent these ideas through first: the material, and second: the form. After some initial research, I decided that I wanted to express nature and city. I was inspired by the different layered cards that pop up and wanted to apply that concept to my boxes.  So, I researched some more with the word “shadow boxes” and found some work that are similar to what I wanted to achieve.

With my first draft, I used black cardboard and thick weight paper for both the natural and artificial. I brought it to class and got the feedback that I should use maybe plastic for the city box and wood for the nature box.

I bought plexi glass and wood to make the second draft. One of the challenges I had with this round was that I found out it is hard to get the dimensions correct because my boxes used materials that needed precision when building the box. I also had white foggy things on my city plexi glass box, which I thought was from using the sand paper. At this stage, I also bought a light to put in the city box, but from class feedback I decided to take out the light aspect.

For my third draft, though my boxes dimensions improved with precision (nature box was 95% complete), I still had the white foggy things on my city box. I realised from class that it is the fast glue that makes the white fogs.

For my fourth draft, I had it perfect! I used a different liquid glue that I got from Canal plastics, which was hard to use because the glue was in a can and I had to use a can opener which I never used, so I broke the can opener while trying to open the can. The glue came in a can and I needed to use another container that had a needle that can spew out glue with more precision.

Overall, throughout the the entire process, I learned that with every draft and step, I learned something new and ran into challenges. It was a lot of problem solving with the production itself. At the end however, I was very pleased with my final draft. I ended up making another box with the scrap plexi glasses, which had negative spaces. (left box in the two plastic picture)

please refer to the recent post I made.

Due to storage issues, I posted on my personal tumblr (which I don’t use anymore!)


An introverted poster portrait

I knew right away that I wanted to play with the idea of what it’s like to be an introvert — the feelings of being mysterious or mean, hidden or seen, and everything in between.

In my sketchbook experiments along the way I played with different ways to visualize these perceptions and feelings. I cut, dissected, rotated and obscured different elements in lots of combinations both ordered and more chaotic.

First draft – I used type and photography in a much more systematic way — the letters slightly shifting in each quadrant, and my face never fully in view except in the last when the full photo is revealed but not my face.

Second draft- in response to feedback to explore a less organized composition, my second draft was the most fun to make. I let go of the formal grid and played around with scale and a broader range of photography.

Final draft – this was an exercise in refinement — sharpening the photos, heightening the contrast, and finessing the composition.

As I look back, the conceptual thread between all three is looking at myself as a sort of visual puzzle — which seems fitting since I’ve been told I’m hard to read by virtually everyone I’ve met 🙂

Here’s a link to my drafts and process work.



Self Portrait Poster Project

This was my very first project for our Process & Skills class & even to this day – despite having completed a number of other projects through the semester – it still remains my favourite.

The assignment was to create a black & white self-portrait poster (18” x 24” in size), by making use of only 3 elements, and these were – B&W photo(s) of ourselves taken at a photo-booth, our initials OR first/ last name which had to be found type only and last but not least, a photocopier. No form of digital use/ editing was permitted.

Initially, this made me happy. The reason being – I wasn’t quite keen on using any sort of digital form or method to produce the poster as I didn’t quite know how to at the time, and preferred to use a more lo-tech, manual approach. However, when I actually got to it, I realized it was much harder than I had anticipated.

I began my process by making a short but surprisingly successful trip to ‘Urban Outfitters’, where I headed straight to the store’s self-operated photo booth machine and started confidently clicking photos of myself. Little did I realize that I ended up leaving the store with a bunch of photo reels – that weren’t all that bad after all. (not what I had expected!) I was satisfied with the photos, and wouldn’t have to make another trip to the photo booth anytime soon, unless absolutely necessary.

Meanwhile, I started collecting my found type. I decided to go with my initials rather than my entire name. I hunted through a number of books, magazines, newspapers and other publications, as well as store windows, restaurant décor, or even delivery parcel bags. I narrowed down my search and selected the ones I liked most and felt were most suitable, and held on to these to take with me to the photocopier.

The next step was Xeroxing. Xeroxing. I don’t think I had ever really had a situation in which I had actually, physically photocopied something myself, particularly large-scale or for a project. Initially, I hesitated, when I didn’t receive much help from the Staples staff members and was left alone with the photocopier to continue the remaining part of my project process. Though, after several tries, and a couple of failed attempts, I managed to get the hang of it, and photocopy my photos as well as type to the size that I required for my first draft. I ended up having a lot of fun varying the proportions, scale and contrast of my pieces, and made friends with a few of the Staples floor staff in the process as well!

The photocopies did not turn out to have the best quality, but those imperfections are what made me construct my very first (and somewhat consistent till the end) concept.

My concept sprung from the fact that I had various different types of pictures of myself, each showing a different ‘side’ of me/ my personality, & a lot of different type to supplement that. Thereafter, I formed my concept of ‘self representation: identity fragmentation’, and began sketching alternative page layout options for pasting my elements. I explored options such as ‘light/ dark’, ‘introvert/ extrovert’, ‘humble/crazy’, ‘inside/outside’, etc. only to deduce that each of these were a part of ‘figuring out who I was’, and representing me as an individual, and hence I incorporated almost all that I had found into making my first draft.

After our first class crit, I received feedback – that my idea was great, however there was a lot going on! There were too many components present, and I needed to simplify my poster in order to convey the concept clearly. This led me to my second stage of sketching once again, making more mock up drafts, and iterations. (No wonder this class was named ‘process’ & skills – I could already see why) Despite a ton of manual work, I enjoyed improving my piece and was eager to make it better. I further developed my concept by creating layers with the type & photos. I enlarged just one of them, which I felt gave out a strong message visually, and balanced the background layers at the same time. I used my found type to reflect this as well. I also lessened the number of photos, and initials throughout the poster, to keep it cleaner – while still keeping my main message intact.

The feedback I then acquired was to have a value difference between my ‘shout’ face and the background components, keeping everything else the same.

My final poster turned out exactly the way I predicted it to, and there was a big sigh of relief (across our whole class) on the day of our Final presentation. Everyone had come a long way, and the end results showed that clearly.

For this project, I was inspired by a lot of different poster styles, when having to research polish posters as part of our homework – including punk, grunge, and Russian, but the main inspiration for this particular project came from within. It was a project about myself, showing the different parts of me through limited visuals, and that’s the reason why I was inspired more and more each week to build on portraying myselfwho am I? What’s my purpose? What do I want to say to the world? – through my poster.

I thoroughly enjoyed this project, even though there were a number of constraints, because it was more than just creating a piece of artwork – it challenged me to my fullest ability.

Check out some of my final images + process work here! Continue reading SELF PORTRAIT POSTER PROJECT

Opulent Oceans: an invitation to enjoy scientific art

By Mariana Bernárdez S.

The prompt and the exhibition

“For our final project you must do a promotional package of a museum exhibition: a poster, an invitation and a handout”, said Astrid as the end of the semester was approaching. While she explained her expectations, I began mentally going through those I had recently seen or wanting to see, and finally decided on the one I believed I could have more fun with: Opulent Oceans.

Opulent Oceans is an exhibition being held in the American Museum of Natural History that includes 46 beautiful reproductions from 33 rare and historic scientific works on marine life. I’ve always been interested in the merge of things that are normally seen as separate, so with this project my goal was to motivate people to discover and enjoy scientific art.

Key ideas and initial steps

My first step was to sketch out ideas based on my first visit, and put down on pen and paper (yes, I’m old-fashioned that way) the basic information of the exhibit: where and until when it was taking place, what it was about, what it was based on, what kind of illustrations were there, from what authors, who curated it, and any testimonies and reviews that had been written on it. After this exercise I realized I still wasn’t sure about the hows: how was it structured? How was the information displayed? How did it attract and retain the viewer? (Did it?). To answer these questions, I hopped on a bus and visited it again.

The second time around I photographed all the reproductions and the information they were accompanied by so I could revise them later (120 pictures in total). Immediately after, I walked through it again to enjoy it and “soak it in”. As I went on from French naturalist Pierre Belon’s woodcut of a dolphin (published in 1555) to an unnamed Indian artist’s illustration of a saltwater crocodile (published in a book by naturalist Hermann Schlegel in 1844), I was more and more astonished by the detail in the images. This inspired me to decide to (1) make the images the heroes of my pieces, (2) respond to the shapes of the animals portrayed and (3) be keen on selecting appropriate parts of the images that would give enough idea for the viewer to understand what they were about and how beautiful they were without giving out “the whole thing” (I decided not to display the images in their entirety to generate curiosity).

135 pictures later, I started playing around with them. I wanted to mirror the aesthetic of the exhibition without copying it, keep my compositions simple and use a neutral palette that would bring out the colors of the images. In this sense, I chose a light beige similar to the one around the exhibition as a background color for the images and a blueish-greeinsh-aquamarineish spot color as the PMS color for display type and the ocean (PANTONE P 174-16C). In terms of typography, because Opulent Oceans was both about scientific works and somewhat playful art, I chose a serif font that had a warmth to it and that could also be versatile: Miller Text.

The design process and execution

With all this in the table, it was time to start designing! I started off by making some posters and at some point decided to make them horizontal to express the opulence and extension/direction of the ocean. The handout was next, and this was a lengthy process: I went from a traditional trifold with basic information, to a trifold with a map inside where you could see where the illustrations were made, to an octopus that was grasping the trifold, to a crocodile whose mouth opened and the information was inside. At this point you might be thinking… why a trifold? I wanted to make something that would go “from small to big” (one-panel size to three-panel size) but was also easy to carry around. The crocodile, though, wasn’t a trifold, but I found it to be a thought-provoking solution. After many mockups, I ended up going for the octopus-grabbing trifold, which presented one fundamental and challenging problem: adapting the already-existing illustration of an octopus to the shape of the handout (It took some research, several cutting experiments and prints to get this right!)

Last but not least, the invitation. This was the most limited option: it had to be sent through mail, so it had to fit very specific criteria. My idea was to “invite to explore”, so having read about voyages in the book the exhibition was based on (Opulent Oceans: Extraordinary Rare Book Selections from the American Museum of Natural History), I set my mind to making a ship where the receiver of the invitation would come in to join the breakthroughs. The wow factor seemed simple, but proved to be complicated in its execution: the ship was a pop-up. After four different ship models, several mockups, experimentation and the discovery of the concept of “kirigami”, I finally managed to construct a suitable ship. I added the text, accompanied it with showcased imagery, and sent it off to print.

At this point you might be thinking everything was ready, but it wasn’t. Although printing is generally the final step, I had to cut the shape of the handout and the ship. The handout was not complicated, but if you ever decide to do a pop-up and there isn’t a laser cutter available, I have one essential recommendation for you: don’t be shy on the blades! You’ll probably need lots of them to get it right.

In case you want to visit it (and you should!), Opulent Oceans is up until December 1st 2016.

To check out photographs of my process and solutions, visit ->


Museum Project – Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible

Yoshitaka Anchi

As my Museum Project, I chose Metropolitan Museum’s exhibition titled “Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible”. A reason why I chose the exhibition was not only I love The Met and I wanted to maximize my membership, but also this exhibition is interesting enough to give me inspirations and creativities for the project.


In this the exhibition, we can see 270 art pieces, and they are all “Unfinished” some sort of level. For example, some of paintings were unfinished because the artist could not keep working. Some of them were unfinished because the client loved to see unfinished piece so that the client could tell how the artist developed the painting. Therefore, the most interesting and important thing was for audience to understand which art pieces are unfinished unintentionally and which ones are not. In the exhibition, The Met marks a special sign (rectangle with diagonal lines; see “Photos”) for visitors to know “unfinished”. Then, this sign became a motif for my promotional pieces.

Concept Development

During developing my promotional pieces, I visited three times to the exhibition:

  • First – it was a general visit to make sure I would have enough inspiration to create promotional pieces, and love to work on the exhibition.
  • Second visit – I wanted to choose main three art work for my poster, brochure, and invitation.
  • Third visit – I attended an exhibition guidance tour (one hour) so that I can have extra information. In fact, this exhibition tour helped me to understand the exhibition more deeper than before.

Form & Function

When I started thinking how to develop promotional pieces, I thought that each promotional piece should have intended audience:

  • The poster: for general audience on public display. Function is to get attention; easy to catch eye & easy to read. Information: exhibition title, date, and museum location (The Met Breuer). Size: 24 inch square
  • The brochure: for visitors of the exhibition in the museum. Detailed Information used in the exhibition. Information: introduction, daily/extra event information, publication, accessibility, audio guide. Size: 8 x 5.25 inch
  • The invitation: for museum members to their home. It can tell The Met treats members special so that members are willing to continue to renew their membership. Information: introduction plus membership information, and introduction of The Met Breuer, which is a new The Met’s branch used to be Whitney Museum. Size: 5.25 inch square

For the brochure especially, I wanted to follow The Met’s standard size (a half letter size) since I was imagining to put the brochure in their shelfs. Also, I was thinking how visitors hold the brochure during exploring the exhibition, how members feel when they receive the invitation, and how people see the poster on the street.

Three Main Art Images & Theme Pantone Colors

Main Art Images: I chose following main three Images for the poster/the brochure/the invitation:

  • Madame X (Poster) – Marble sculpture by Auguste Rodin in 1907
  • Sun Setting Over a Lake (Brochure) – Oil painting by William Turner in 1840
  • Untitled (Invitation) – Oil painting by Luc Tuymans in 2002

Pantone Colors: I chose two theme Pantone color from the main art images.

  • Light blue from the Tuymans’ painting (656U – C10/M3/Y1/K2)
  • Light orange from the Turner’s painting (2015U – C0/M13/Y30/K0).

Each individual art piece in the exhibition has really interesting story behind. I couldn’t  choose one main art piece, so I chose the three art pieces that at least I knew their behind stories.

In deed, a reason why “Madam X” was identified as unfinished is it was unfinished by the client, but unfinished by the artist. The client (Madam X) wanted to change her nose but the artist (Rodin) refused. About the Turner’s art work, I can tell his work is done or not even I’m not an art expert because he always always put his signature when he thought it’s done. In other words, if his work doesn’t have his signature, Turner still wanted to make some changes. For the Tuymans’ still life oil painting, it is surpassingly and unexpectedly about 911 incident. Also the center of the painting doesn’t have any oil paint (bare canvas), which makes it “unfinished”.

Extra Research

I checked some information out side the exhibition as well. For example, I wanted to know a style guide of The Met, but I couldn’t find it on-line, so instead I found a style guild of the British Museum. According to the style guide, the British Museum uses nine-grid system for their materials. They use Baskerville for the logo, and Akzidenz Grotesk for main text. Addition to that, I checked Disability Access Symbols by Graphic Artist Guild because I wanted to add some universal design concepts – everyone can enjoy art no matter what challenges people have.


I was imagining a situation if the exhibit could have promotional pieces I designed while  was developing concerts and/or making mock ups that didi’t match both side prints. I had many ideas I wanted to add to my promotional pieces but I couldn’t. However, I found that I really enjoyed creating those promotional pieces in the end.


Photos – P&S Museum Promotion Project – Unfinished

Unfinished (The Met Official Site) – Unfinished

Self Poster Project

The first project we were assigned for the Process and Skills class was to construct an 18” x 24” black and white self portrait poster. To begin with, this sounded relatively easy till we were given the other constraints – we were only allowed to use photographs clicked at a photo booth, a photocopy machine and found type. After searching a bit I managed to find a photobooth and simultaneously began researching poster design. I was attracted to both Punk and Swiss poster design; two very distinct forms. I felt the grunge, DIY technique of the Punk era suited the resources assigned for this project, accurately.  However, without finalizing on one, I began working on my poster.

I began by sketching a few rough layouts. Post this I photocopied my picture and scaled it up in 3-4 different sizes, so that I had an ample number to play with. I started playing around with the photocopies, trying to match my sketches. What I found extremely helpful was to try different layouts and photographed them, without sticking them, so that I had an idea of what they looked like, this really helped me make a final selection.

After presenting my first draft, I received suggestions from my fellow classmates to find more type to incorporate in the poster. For my 2nd and 3rd drafts I concentrated on playing with type in different sizes and fonts. I also managed to find type that had an interesting pattern, which I included in my final poster (image posted below). Overall this turned out to be an exciting project that became easier once I got the hang of it.

You can see images of my work here (password is processandskills)


Dansaekwha & Minimalism (Exhibit Promo)

Oy the process…

For the exhibit promo package I elected to go for smaller, lesser known show opening at Blum & Poe NY the New York arm of their Los Angeles flagship.
The show titled, Dansaekwha and Minimalism opened April 14th and closes June.
In particular, this show aims to highlight the similarities between the Korean Dansaekwha art movement and the American minimalist movement. According to the gallery this is the first time both genres of work were represented with the same space in dialogue.
For me, this was certainly the most interesting and engaging project yet. It was nice to pretend I had a “client” OOOH my first freelance gig!
For my package I decided to focus on keeping things simple, true to minimalism in limited colors and to focus on the works. The show had some of the greatest heavy hitters – Sol Lewitt, Carl Andre, Agnes Martin, Richard Serra etc. etc.
I though it would be interesting to create physical collateral that echoed some of the pieces and techniques featured in the show. For the invite I did a 5×5′ foldable that when opened resembled a Sol Lewitt sculpture on display. The grid pattern I elected to include as it was both visually engaging, cued minimalist fundamentals and is prominently used (though not always visible) throughout the show. For the art catalogue I created a custom 4 paneled fold out that was influenced by much of the vertical line work evident in the show through artists like Ha Chyonghyun and Agnes Martin. For the poster I elected to create a series of flat representations of the works of Carl Andre, Sol Lewitt, Ha Chonghyun, and Chung Sang-Hwa.
Through the entire process the biggest setback was production. It was a welcomed exercise in developing the skills to design a custom fold out. I slowly started to anticipate where to add paper allowances and what markings should be included int he file to clearly communicate trim lines, score marks, etc. These lessons were learned by hand and making mistakes, which wile frustrating were beneficial in developing clean product. This particular assignment was instrumental in driving home the benefit of hand craft to me.
You can view some images of my process and iterations as well as snaps of the finals using the Flickr link at the bottom of this post. Excuse the username its carryover from highschool :). Also you will find some images of artwork by Michael Riedel.
For my artist show and tell I selected Michael Riedel. He is currently based in Frankfurt, Germany and has been working since the early nineties. He is most widely known for his highly conceptual works that reiterate the same information / texts / audio loops / images/ videos over and over composed and exhibited in seemingly endless ways.  His process questions redundancy and how we consume information, more importantly how information can be manipulated over and over just through re-imagination of composition etc.  Interestingly another important aspect of his process is the elaborate books, promotions, brochures Riedel designs himself to accompany his fine art exhibitions – a prime example of graphic design as fine art. What I enjoy most about his pieces is the use of bold graphic forms against more subtle shapes created by collaged text. In particular I am always a sucker anything that has a “digital” feel and cleverly uses limited color.
Check out some images of his work here and my exhibit process shots!