Studio II, Prompt 5

Designed a poster for the screening of Tangerine, a part of Queer Film Night at Emily Carr. The 2015 film is a dark comedy about the unbreakable friendship between two trans-women as they sordidly navigate Los Angeles in their line of sex work.

Followed a creative process most similar to the kind I followed working as a visual designer. I ideated a number of moodboards after seeing the film that spoke to the film’s themes. Reviewed my directions with Cameron, my thesis advisor and faculty lead for Queer Film Night, and decided to design a poster around the idea of “unwrapping”. The idea came from a line from the film, that on a sunny Christmas Eve, glossy Los Angeles is “a beautifully wrapped lie.”

The tangerine in the poster is a metaphor for sweet surfaces and exteriors. The peel reveals a less nutritious, sugary treat. The donut is a reference to the donut shop where the film’s two main characters, Sin-Dee Rella played by Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and Alexandra played by Mya Taylor, begin their story and return to.

Continued my design practice through mood boarding, sketching thumbnails, and communicating my poster concepts through presentation and discussion. Executed my final design by experimenting with collage and refining layout design using Adobe Creative Suite software.

Studio II, Prompt 4

Visited The ArQuives in Toronto, the largest independent LGBTQ2+ archives in the world. Became inspired to explore archival research since reading Out North: An Archive of Queer Activism and Kinship in Canada by Craig Jennex & Nisha Eswaran in collaboration with The ArQuives. Used this exploration to pose the question, what picture of community can be gathered from an archive?

I got in touch with Reference Archivist Daniel Payne and spent the better part of a month selecting documents and artifacts I wished to have pulled. I focused on mailed ephemera and documentation around queer South Asian groups. Additionally I asked to check out a number of seemingly mundane rubber stamps that signalled how queer activist groups operated in larger political systems as legitimized entities.

In person, the ephemera from queer South Asian groups were some of the most colourful and thoughtfully designed. The letters and postcards painted pictures of migration and even raffle tickets for return trips from San Francisco promised queer  Canadian pilgrims would never forget where home was.

I requested to see a stamp specially that read, I’m One Too. A pin featured on the cover of Out North also shares this slogan and the pin is again immortalized on a mural in the heart of the Church-Wellesley Gay Village. The stamp, however, illustrates the slogan to appear completely different. The psychedelic shapes create an eye, self-referencing the “I” within headline. The stamp imbued new ways to read “visibility” from the headline that other circulations of the headline didn’t.

Studio II, Prompt 3

Currently experimenting with screen printing through the Emily Carr Print Media Studio. Initially purchased a screen printing kit outside of school to be able to rapidly create t-shirts and printed ephemera from my studio space. Scaling down my operation provided a holistic understanding of amplifying communication under the constraints of limited resources.

Visited a photo I took in Toronto of a discarded t-shirt reading “STAFF”, slung over a crosswalk light. In the summer, it is not uncommon to see someone walking around the city wearing a “STAFF” shirt or some other text brandishing themselves as an authority figure. This reading of the image lead me to design a set of t-shirts featuring the word “SECURITY” for a surface level position of authority a person can be given but also a deeper meaning for the sense of safety that can be paid for and privately accessed. The condensed font is from the Trade Gothic family shared with the display typeface I had previously designed, again, as a means for flattening the meaning espoused by the word mark using a standardized typeface.

The ways safety can be afforded is inverted for the purpose of deviancy. At peak tourist season, in peak tourist areas (like Yonge-Dundas Square, where the photo mentioned earlier was taken) it is not always certain if people wearing authoritative tees are actual event staff or just queue-jumpers impersonating VIP-status. Read as “deviant design”, conceptualized by author and design theorist, Craig Martin (2022), the authority signalled by the “SECURITY” word mark here can be co-opted for deviant purposes (p. 54).


Martin, Craig. Deviant Design: The Ad Hoc, the Illicit, the Controversial. Bloomsbury, 2022.

Studio II, Prompt 2

Designed a letterset modelled after communication design used by gay bars and queer establishments. Marquee signage distills moveable type down to sets of minimal characters so the medium is easy to use and messages are easy to amplify. Inspiration began with storefront signage appearing in the cult-classic My Own Private Idaho, that I used to design the season poster for Queer Film Night at Emily Carr. Utilized characteristics found in this medium: condensed, monospaced fonts that aim to maximize utility of limited space. Experimented with full type justification to exaggerate and emphasize this aim.

Manually typeset the headline “I Enjoy Being a Dyke,” from the rallying chant sung by The Brunswick Four. The Brunswick Four were a group of four Torontonian lesbian women who were protested their unjust treatment by police aster reporting unwanted sexual advances at the Brunswick Tavern in 1974.

Currently exploring screen printing slogans designed in this letterset, pulled from photos taken in and around The Village in Toronto, that slide in meaning from the mundane to the urgent. “PATIO OPEN” is pulled from a spray painted banner created by restaurant owners, visualizing the disparity in resources for local businesses. “SAFE SPACE” comes from neon signage outside an event venue in the city’s upscale King East neighbourhood, just outside of The Village, implying safe spaces are only for those who can afford them. “WATCH OUT” references a handmade flyer reading “Pre-Rolled Joints: Watch Out Toxic PAPER” and serves as a reminder that The Village and its members are always looking out for each other. After these messages are set to a standardized typeface, hierarchy of their meaning and urgency is flattened.


Ling, J. (2020). Missing from the village: The story of serial killer Bruce McArthur, the search for justice, and the system that failed Toronto’s Queer Community. McClelland & Stewart.

Studio II, Prompt 1

For my first prompt I chose to create a folded, no-bind zine to explore my interests in editorial design and iterative zine-making. The content used photos of signage in and around the Toronto Church and Wellesley gay village, “The Village”. My goal was to document the vocabulary of communication design that exists in The Village as materiality.

Photos were paired to illustrate the strong social ties that exist in The Village. One photo shows a hand-made flyer on everyday, letter-sized paper, reading, “Pre-Rolled Joints: Watch Out Toxic PAPER”, taped onto an outdoor electrical box. This example of visual communication demonstrates the way the Village is self-contained, self-surveilled, and creates its own community. This photo sits next to another, of a custom-made, neon sign reading “‘safe’ space” for an event venue just outside of the The Village. This sign appears to be more expensively produced than the handmade sign but fails to create the same sense of community or “safety”.

Some examples of design I would come back to at day and night, like a banner hung outside a popular brunch spot, reading “Don’t Stop Me Now.” In a fitting extra-bold condensed sans-serif typeface, the banner is significant for its reference to the Queen song and as lyrics sung by frontman and queer icon Freddie Mercury.

Studio I, Prompt 4: Inquiry

For the final prompt we were asked to conduct a design inquiry into an area that interested us. I wanted to keep exploring materiality and lead with my strengths in illustration and making. My topics of interest intersected my previous explorations of my South Asian background with new inquiries around my own queerness. My research included auto-ethnographic and archival methods to study this intersection and make a set of wearable pins that expressed it visually. The designs dealt with personal provocations and inside jokes around dating and sexuality, adapted and appropriated visual culture in Toronto’s Church-Wellesley Village, and borrowed vocabulary from memes and internet enclaves.

Studio I, Prompt 3: Discourse

For our third prompt, we were asked to enter into a dialogue with a reading and respond to a contemporary issue through making. I chose to examine the text, Super Normal: Sensations of the Ordinary by Naoto Fukasawa & Jasper Morrison. In searching to understand Super Normal, my process of making drove me to examine what objects in our every day we find desirable and how dominating ideals around taste come from histories of industrialization and colonization. By examining the work of Fukasawa and Morrison, it became apparent that Super Normal objects reveal themselves through their longevity of life and use. They adapt to spaces and create an atmosphere that silently engages the objects around them.

Sitting at my desk during fall reading week, I found it hard concentrating and being indoors when the sun in Vancouver was unseasonally bright that time of year. It was this that sparked my interest in creating a window covering, inspired by household objects designed by Fukasawa and Morrrison for Muji. I then looked to lectures from Muji art director, Kenya Hara to understand his own approach to designing for the brand. The themes Hara uses include Emptiness, Natural, House/Home, Water and Earth and would go on to inform my choice in materiality. I used wooden dowels with cotton fabric and string because they were materials that semiotically felt “natural” but could create a vessel for meaning, malleable but affective to the spaces they existed in.

I thought to use an illustration for an art piece I had already created, now situated in Toronto’s Gerard India Bazaar, to cut out of covering fabric. My piece “Bae of Bengal” was originally a painting I did at OCAD U that I vectorized and was laser cut into coloured plexiglass, as a part of an ingoing outdoor exhibit in the bazaar. When speaking about everyday objects, Morris insists “objects should never shout”, implying they should disappear into the background or “(dissolve) in behaviour.” Inspired by the Japanese Superflat movement, I wanted to incorporate a highly referential graphic motif into my window covering. While aspects of my design may become forgotten with Super Normal use, it was important for me to counteract this with a Superflat-inspired expression of my Bangladeshi heritage that could not be ignored.

Presenting my window covering in class, it became apparent that it wasn’t the product that was Super Normal, it was the forms of light the illustration created, that had quietly existed in my work over time, which proved to be Super Normal instead. Studying Japanese and western histories of colonial empires, I arrived to a stronger understanding of how brands like Muji and Ikea dictate tastes and ideologies around design. Opinions on beauty that are considered “normal” or held as the status-quo oftentimes come from industrial, imperial culture. Super Normal builds on this.

Studio I, Prompt 1: The Gift

For our first prompt we were asked to introduce ourselves to a fellow studio-mate by creating a gift for them. My first step would be to meet the studio-mate I was paired with, Erik, so I scheduled a Zoom call for us to chat during class. Having recently graduated from the University of the Philippines Diliman in Industrial Design, Erik would soon be moving to Vancouver to join us for class, in-person, so meeting during class turned out to be the most mutually convenient time period.

Our differing time zones lead us to talking about the awkward sleep patterns that develop during school and how this might be a silver lining to any jet lag Erik might have once he landed in Vancouver. This got us talking about the creative work Erik completed conceptualizing time as a part of his undergrad. Finally we chatted about our natural interests in art and design and I listed off a number of museums and galleries in Vancouver worth checking out once he got here.

Coming out of our chat, I knew that I wanted to make the gift something Erik could use, making the move to Vancouver. So when I visited a barber that week, something especially useful caught my eye: a stack of neighbourhood directory pamphlets stacked at the reception counter. I came up with my idea of making Erik an illustrated map. I was relatively new to Vancouver myself, I figured I could give Erik the experience of becoming better acquainted with the city and som of the places I love.

I made a trip to Michaels to buy sketching paper, a drafting ruler, an X-Acto knife, some cheap and cheerful markers and double-sided tape. I used Google to aid in drawing different drafts of the map. First drafts only featured only roads, then a draft of only landmarks. I then layered them over each other to trace a final drawing. In a crunch, I even used my windows as a light table.

In class, I presented the map to Erik over Zoom: Some Places I Love in Downtown Vancouver. I explained my process and the way I chose the landmarks Erik could visit for a short walking tour around the downtown core: some art galleries, two bakeries, and the Gastown Steam Clock. I made sure to include some landmarks that were open twenty-four hours. This way Erik would have no trouble visiting them, with jet lag or any awkward sleep patterns that inevitably come with school.

Studio I, Prompt 2: Materiality

With the second prompt, we were asked to focus on the materials we use as the foundations of our design practice at Emily Carr. As a starting point, I looked closer at the way I approached materiality in the first prompt, where I illustrated a map of downtown Vancouver for Erik. The paper, markers, and tape here were materials I was familiar enough with to utilize for quick turnaround.

For the second prompt I chose block printing to try something new, inspired by work I was seeing on Instagram and apdaptations in the world around me . I knew carving images out of rubber blocks would give me plenty of time to consider process, as well. I returned to Michaels to pick up a linocut starter kit. The kit included a 4” x 6” rubber block, a small carving tool with 3 switchable heads, a small brayer and a tube of black ink. To experiment with two-tone prints, I got some more inks in red, yellow and blue. I even cut up the 4” x 6” into smaller 2” x 2” so that I could make iterations (and mistakes) more quickly.

Since moving to Vancouver, I’ve been spending plenty of time my two-year-old niece, Brooklyn. One of our favourite books to read “B is for Bee”, a book entirely devoted to the letter B, which just so happens to be the first letter of my niece’s name. From here that I decided to illustrate the first letter of my own name, S. Beginning to consider the prompt theme of “origins”, I figured illustrating the letter S was a way for me to analyze the origins of spelling my name and experimenting with the Roman glyph.

My first iterations used a stylized the letter S to appear embossed. I playing with a subtractive process to visualize both negative and positive space, making it appear three-dimensional. Exploring two-tone overprinting techniques allowed me to try layering and the illusion of depth. I slowly accumulated a collection of monogram specimens, which used my more intricate and intentional carving processes.

Towards the end of my two-week daily design practice I found myself more confident in my carving skills, less concerned with the illustrations and more interested in the technique. My final sets of prints included a systematically carved blackletter S and compartmentalized serif S based on that of Trajan’s column inscriptions. The blackletter S was made up of vertical and angular strokes while the compartments of the Trajan S demonstrated curved, gestural carves. I returned to the theme of “origins”, reflecting on the type specimens as tools for understanding the history of moveable type and origins of type anatomy.