Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Hype, Crook & Lyric

As we near the end of the semester, the 'bomb' was dropped on us as Ms Chiang unveiled our final project. This time round, it is a group work and we are tasked to come up with either a childrens' storybook or a comic strip. Lucky for me, I managed to find people to work with relatively easily and we sat down to talk about what we want to do. All of us wanted to do a children storybook. Main reason being it is something we are more familiar with.

So the theme was set as 'hype, crook & lyric' (HCL) and for a moment, we thought that we can only write something like a 'cops & robbers' story because of the word crook. But Ms Chiang went on to decribe it as story peak, twist and storyline. This suited us as it would mean that we are not limited in our content. 'HCL' then is the structure of our story.

We came up with various stories and morals behind those stories. At one point of time, we were rather lost as to what we want. But looking through past years' works, it shedded some light and we went with a story line that is first sad, then sadder, then TWIST and ending it with a happy scene.

Story of An Ant, Alex and the NUT.

We came up with pretty rough sketches according to our very brief storyline.


A little ant Alex set out one day looking for food. He saw a nut lying in his way. Eager to bring it home, he rushed to it and lifted with all his might. But the nut fell heavily on him, trapping his body. He shouted but no one came to help him. 2 little ants came by but left after whispering to each other. Rain started to fall and Alex felt hopeless. Little did he know that the 2 ants actually went to call for help! So they came back and under the rain, all of them managed to bring the nut back home. Moral: Teamwork & value of friendship

So anyway, we presented that to class and our classmates gave us quite a few constructive comments.

Comments given in class:

1. There could be more improvements in terms of storyline. Add in one or two more conflicts.

2. It is not logical that the ant friends whispered and not going ahead to help Alex.

3. The nut (?) does not resemble a nut.

Actions taken:

1. We added one more clause on Alex meeting a dog. This added to the effect of making Alex seemed even more ‘sad’.

2. To make it more logical that why the ants did not help Alex, the presence of the dog has served this purpose.

3. After much deliberation, we decided on the iconic acorn as it is used rather frequently in children’s books. It is also easily recognizable as an acorn.

We improved on it and our final (graphical) product is all done now (14.04.09). We went on to choose our fonts and whatnots, explored the various layouts of our book. For fonts, we browsed through more than 200 fonts from mainly and 1001fonts. We placed it in our first scene to see how it looks like and our final choice is CANDY RANDY. Just because it does not overwhelm our character and also, it is playful and fanciful enough for the kids. It is, in my opinion, a fun looking font.

Our group also looked into the possibilities of including interactive activities at the end of our book. These include coloring pages, mazes and simple fill in the blanks questions (since some words we used are quite difficult). In the end, we decided to include a glossary page for the difficult words and also include a games page. We felt that coloring pages and mazes are usually a one time thing and the kid can only play it once. Our games page is a combination of ideas from monopoly and snakes and ladders. This allows the kid to play with his family and friends and thus foster relationships at the same time. He/she can play it multiple times too.

Now, as we near the submission deadline for the project, our storybook is already printed and we are proud of it! (:

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ms Chiang and fellow tutors for constantly giving us encouragement and ideas through out this module. This is by far one of the best modules I enjoyed. Although the workload is pretty heavy, my heart is always swelled with pride upon completion of each assignment. Once again, thank you!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Postcard: Your Notion of Colourful Asia

For this week, we are supposed to design a postcard that represents our Notion of Colorful Asia. It can be from a cultural/political or even a social perspective. One thing to note is that we were asked to avoid touristy postcards. (Meaning no pictures of sightseeing scenes).

My first conceptualization came from the theme: FOOD

If you look close enough, the postcard design consists of a variety of foods from across Asia. I put in pictures of durians, chilli crab and even sushi! (besides the dim sum picture). Since it is all food related, i decided to name it Taste of Asia and also highlighting the country where the food came from.

I rendered the design in photoshop and added a fuzzy feeling to the background to make the main picture stand out. However, the finished design does look very tourist-y right?

Here is the picture of my color palette.
Final Design:

Back Design:Since i mentioned that my first design is rather tourist-y looking, I decided to design another one. My next theme is rather similar to the first, but its more intuitive: RICE.

Conceptualization is actually coincidental as the idea just came to me while i was having my dinner at night.The staple food of all Asian nations is Rice. So i decided, why not designed my postcard with rice? It was not easy because I first have to place to rice in the form of the letters and they keep running all over the place. The next problem i faced is that of photography. I had a hard time taking a picture that captures the slight details from the rice.

I am quite happy with how the pictures turned out and I continued to design in photoshop, and I used brushes for the oriental houses. I put a pair of chopsticks to signify the "eastern cultures" so the houses are actually rather complementary to the whole design.

Here is the final color palette

And the design which I chose to present in class is a cross between the vintage and original. Gives a very old china kind of feeling.

This is the back design, pretty simple and similar to the dim sum one above.

In the end, after showing both designs to my friends, they unanimously voted for the rice one. So I presented the second design in class.

The comments given were
- Not advisable to use brushes (copyright and issue of originality)
- The Bland one turned out much nicer on printout and the tutor suggested that i could work on it to give it a modern feeling
- For the back, the bowl of rice is too big in comparison to the whole layout
- The words 'energy food' sounded weird

So I heeded most of their advice, actually all, and improved my design. The first oriental house design is by brushes, and the second one, i created a layer above the brushes and drew over them. So they are actually different! Click on them for a better view. And I liked the way the second one turned out because I managed to give it some gradient and depth.

With the main design, I whitened the background and sharpened the rice to give it the modernistic feel.

With the back design, I reduced my bowl size and added a small one in and changed to slogan to 'Asia's staple food'.
So what do you think?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Save, Prevent, Kill...

For this assignment, we were tasked to create a poster with the them 'Save, Prevent, Kill...' Target Audience being the general public as it will be placed at the bus stop and notice boards of busy streets.

I wanted to create a whole new idea based on saving one's self. I came up with a few ideas like how one can save him/herself:

1. Do not Self medicate (If one takes the wrong medicine, the condition will worsen)
2. Go for Regular Check ups (in case one have some unknown illnesses, it can be detected early)
3. Be aware of what you eat (some food may be very high in fat or cholesterol and are not good food)

In the end, I went with the first one due to personal experiences. My family members have the habit of self medicating and I abhor it because most of the times, I do not know what I am suffering from. The medicine does not solve the cause of the problem, but rather the symptoms only.

So I took pictures of the different types of medicine I have at home and put a 'do not do this' sign in yellow. I chose yellow because, it serves more of a precautionary warning rather than a straight forward DO NOT. (RED)

Here it is!

Comments given were:

1. Logos are too big, can scale them smaller
2. The header seems to blend into the background.
3. Must get rid medicine names!!
4. The tagline: Save yourself is not appropriate in this context.

To be honest, I was feeling quite down after all the comments. I've great hopes for this 'new idea' but somehow, I knew that I did not successfully bring it across in my poster. So i acted according to what suggestions they gave, mostly with the approval of Jing.

This is my new poster design, but I still think it can be further improved! Sigh.
Okay, me being me has decided that I will SQUEEZE whatever time I have (it is week 10 and I've got so many impending deadlines and storybook and what nots.) to conceptualize a whole new poster. I basically eat, sleep, drink photoshop for 8 hours non-stop on that fateful day when I made the decision. And I did not regret it one single bit.

I wanted something eye-catching, I want people's heart to wrench when they see this. I will not say I am very successful but to the few viewers of my new made poster, at least I know I made it when i see their expressions.

My idea was along the line of: save the animal, especially your pet from abuse. To me, abuse comes in different forms and it could be negligent or restriction. I chose restriction because it has not been widely adopted by the general public. More than often, we humans tend to force our pets to our own bidding. We push them, we drag them along as we walk, we force them to eat ABC can of food. We slap them if they did something wrong and we do not allow them to behave like an animal. We want them to be who we want them to be.

So the purpose of my poster is to teach the public, especially those ignorant that we should love our pets and not hurt them in the ways that we do. The main focus is 'LOVE' because I feel that as long as the owner loves its pet, problems such as those I mentioned above would be minimal.

Here it goes, MY FINAL ART.

Class Assignment 2

In this in-class assignment, we were asked to pair up with another friend and pick 2 words from a list given to us and draw it using basic elements such as dots and lines. The medium has to be either hand drawn or computer graphic. Since I brought my laptop to school on thursday, my partner, Kenneth, and I decided to just render it in Photoshop.

So here are our 2 masterpieces. Can you guess what it represents?

Kenneth is from DW 5, so he chose to do clutter. Do you feel that the little balls are being squeezed out by the big ones? As for me, since I hail from DW3, I've chosen to do order.

Some how or other, my design turned out to look a bit like an optical illusion where some lines are longer than the other. But i swear they are the same length. And red is so strict a colour it represents order to me.

That's all for this little assignment!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

U C what I C

'U C what I C' is a visual assignment which requires us to take up to 8 photos to narrate our story. We were given a choice of whether we want to include a twist in our story or not. Which I did as you can see from my final images.

I first wanted to do a story of an ugly girl. She is looked down upon in school and she is an introvert. One day, she was scouted by a modeling agency and they felt that she has the potential to be a outstanding model. So she went for a photoshoot and all. And in the end, those people that laughed at her did not manage to recognise her and is reading the magazine she modelled it.

Moral of story: Ugly duckling; do not look at people superficially.

I did some sketches but as the day nears for my official photoshoot with my 'model', I find it impossible to get so many people to help out. Furthermore, I was not able to confirm the timings exactly with them and this ended up being scrapped.

I spent another 3 hours scratching my brains for more ideas and in the end I decided to focus my assignment on the topic of 'stress'

My storyline borders on the idea of: what you think of in the day = what you dream of when you sleep. It is kind of like the chinese proverb ---- fill in proverb!---

This is actually a personal experience. I was having some trouble coping with stress when I was about to take my A 'levels'. So here goes:

Do you understand what I am trying to portray over here? Yes, all the blood and gore happened in her dream, and she was actually 'slicing' with a ruler. (That is my twist!)

I presented in class and the comments given were generally good:
- Good angles
- Colour composition is fine (Thank you Fuji)
- Story is clear

Since no bad comments were given (my friends are all so shy!), I still feel there is room for improvements. Yes, I have decided to blurred the first 7 pictures more so that it contrast with the last picture and try to photoshop my blood to make it more real. (:

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


This is our second assignment of the semester: Creating a pictogram.

Some definitions;
Pictogram: an image created by people for the purpose of quick and clear communication without language or words, in order to draw attention to something.

My understanding form the sentence above is that a pictogram has to be representative of something one is able to easily recognize upon looking at it. It has to be simple to be able for people to understand.

For this assignment, students are required to create a pictogram suitable for the NUS community and it has to be placed in school. Thus it means that the target audience are the students and staff and possibly for visitors of NUS.

My idea came from my experience as a freshmen. During my first 2 months of school, I encountered some troubles locating the bus stops in NUS. This is especially so when I have lessons in AS4 and AS5. These 2 places are situated quite a distance from available bus stops and I got lost sometimes. So I decided to come up with a 'bus stop' abstraction to help visitors and future freshmen navigate their way more easily.

I was not able to capture a picture of the NUS bus, so here is one from around my place. And the abstraction begins!

This is the pictogram i chose to present in class. My Ideal location would be along the walkways of AS4 and AS5 where they are located quite a distance away from the bus stops.

The comments given by classmates were:
1. It looks like a van more than a bus.
2. Looks a little like a taxi stand?

I agree that it does look a little like a van instead of a bus, so I did some editing in photoshop to elongate the bus and put it closer to the stand. However, i disagree that it looks like a taxi stand because my abstraction is based on a photo I took of the bus-stop.

So this is my final pictogram!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Me, Myself and I

This is my first official assignment for visual design and it is about designing a name to fit me. It has to convey something about me to my audience, be it my character, personality, likes or even weaknesses.

I am actually quite excited about this assignment as simple as it sounds, it is challenging to be able to accurately convey who i am to the person viewing the artwork. First, we were tasked to brainstorm concepts associated with the self by writing down the words and come up with 4 preliminary sketches. As this is focused on the process of learning about the self, i came up with the following 4 themes: Flowers, Music, Curly Hair and Anti-smoking. It is a combination of my likes, hate and something that is part of me.

I love flowers! Weaving my name into flowers with a butterfly reflects my love for nature. If one looked closely, my flowers are generally those with petals blooming out, unlike a rose. It signifies me as an outgoing person and if i could colour it, it would be orange!

My next love is none other than music. I was in the school band since 13 and music has since been an integral part of my life. Although I put in some musical instruments (ie, the piano & violin), this design poses a problem in terms of final composition of color. And also, it did not bring out much of my personality and who i really am.

I come from a family of smokers. It is no coincidence that I came up with this. I do not like smokers who are inconsiderate and to be exact, i hate the act of smoking. I will never understand why would anyone smoke. However, this design did not bring out my feelings that strongly and also, after showing this to my friends, they felt like I was actually endorsing it more that condemning it.

Last but not least, this is something that is part of me. Although I look like i have straight hair now, I used to have curly hair. I integrated the cursiveness of my name into the curls of my hair. And in the end, I chose to work on my 4th design: Curly wurly pearly!

I developed the idea into 2 larger scales pictures as shown below. The first one focused on my hair only and that the fact that i like to smile as seen from my smiley face. The second one was a little deeper as I tried to incorporate more of what I like to do when I'm free, which is talking on the phone!

Comments given were good
- Majority of the class preferred the second design,
- I should work with proportions, meaning the head is too small and the phone is too big
- I can include what i like to talk about at the background
- Do not repeat my name on the phone dial

I heeded my classmates' advices and render the second design in inkart for the painting effect. So this is what i presented in class in the subsequent week. I added in musical notes and a heart which signifies my love for music and that I like talking to the person in my heart.

Comments given:
- the name and the hair are too separated, try to integrate them as one
- the phone does not look like a phone without the dial

And ta-daaaah! my final copy!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Class Assignment 1 - The dream machine

This is the blog created specially for NM2208 - Principles of Visual Communication.

Here I am with my first in-class assignment: A Dream Machine Which Enhances Creativity x 100! (does not have to be practical)

My idea of a dream machine is simple, it has to be smart & creative. It also has to be able to convey its own ideas/ concepts of creativity to me, or is able to offer comments on what is creative or non - creative in its own sense.

After 5 mins of doodling in the lecture hall, this is what i came up withBasically, it is made up of 3 components: the 'brain', the processor and the 'disseminator' .

Take a closer look at the brains and you will realize that it is genetically made up of brains from world famous artists and scientists. I figure by using their brains, its going to help in enhancing my own creativity.
After passing the concept/idea (that requires creativity) into the brain, the brain will pick up specific notions of it (note little dots in the spiderweb design). The spiderweb design is meant to highlight the complexity of ideas and the interlinkage of one concept with the other.

Lastly, the elements that are picked up and links of concepts will be shown in a screen for easy reference.

That is my dream machine (: