Project: Demystifying The Mainstream



Expectations of men in society have lead to violent crimes around the world. These have been a result of parents unknowingly encouraging the mainstream; the idea that men are supposed to be strong and not cry. This stop motion animation tells an emotional story of a young boy’s journey through life, where he transforms from a little, sensitive boy into an aggressive, harmful man.


Project 1: Packaging


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This packaging is for locally grown mangoes from Tumkur, India. Mavu is a brand that is based on the mango production from a farm in a local countryside town of South India. It holds up to six mangoes in a box and provides information about how the mangoes are picked. It also gives a touch of the Indian way of eating mangoes which everyone can try when they buy this box.

Day Before Final Installation

The last things we did were to cover up the cardboard—we gave the responsibility to Charlie as she had left earlier yesterday. We were not thinking of this initially. We were thinking of removing the cardboard and painting the concrete . However Charlie recognized a problem. The cardboard was actually supporting the concrete and the wood and was the reason why it was bit more stable. She said that if we removed the concrete, it would make the railing tilt and maybe even fall. So, to be on the safe side, she said we will leave the cardboard and she then covered it with modroc.

This was a great solution given by Charlie and it worked pretty well. The railing was still a little shaky if we put pressure on it. But, we were hoping that no one puts pressure on it.



We stuck the type on the floor and when we did this, we had several problems between our group. Not everyone was agreeing with each other. And were kind of were getting too frustrated at each other. After all this, working so hard and making a small mistake was not a big deal for me. The others also realized this and stopped focusing on what was wrong. That’s what I loved about the group so much. We all cooperated very well with each other and by doing that, we even came up with some solutions that solved the problem.

This is a design problem, were there are conflicts between people and  a good designer should know how to tackle this problem.


Type on the floor, not aligned and that was what created frustration among us, but, we made a line from the installation to the type to divide and make it clear who’s going on which path.



While Charlie did the modroc, me and Sarah made the loops in the rope. This required us measuring and estimating how big the rope should be and how big the loop should be. It was funny at point when we discovered that we didn’t have fat people in our class and said that Sarah was the fattest and so we just took her hands measurement and made the loops double the size so it would be easier and quicker for people to wear it.


Some cute moments by Charlie—enjoying the work!


Test Run

This was us trying out the experience
The completed installation.
Charlie and Sarah completing the journey of sacrificing. 

After the critique and experience by every one in our class, we loved seeing that people reacted in exactly the way we wanted them to. It was very cute to see them actually guiding their partners and suffering themselves to reach the end of the path. I remember Latifa saying that she felt like she was more worried about her partner Reham and making sure that she is on track rather than focusing on her path which was filled with legos.



Overall I think this installation was pretty successful and we had delivered the message that we wanted to through the experience. I felt very positive after listening to what everyone said about the installation and learning they went through.

I did realize some mistakes though, which we could have considered. The idea of wearing the ropes was not clear, and I had to tell them to wear it the right way. In this case, the type did not work very well. Also,some people started walking out of the path and did not experience the pain as much as others did. Also, people were not sure about when to remove their shoes. That was confusing and they all started wearing the slippers.

Other than that, I also heard one person saying they hate it and they don’t want to do it. That made me upset a little bit, but It was okay because I knew it was not comfortable to wear the blindfold.

Overall, I think our team did a great job on this and we all collaborated very well with each other. It was a great learning experience for me and I am sure i will always consider what I learned in this project.

In terms of deconstruction, we had redesigned the theme of sacrifice keeping in mind the anime and using their sound effects. Each element was represented in a way that relates to Baby and Me


Day 5

We finished gluing up the legos and with that the path with more legos was done. We moved on to do the next path and then considered how the second path will be laid out with legos. We were thinking about the idea of keeping the number of legos as the difficulties in the life of  the two brothers. We increased the legos on the end of the path of the harder one, to represent that the struggle became more intense as the elder brother understood his responsibility. For the easy path, we had one long lego base in the beginning, which shows the death of their mother and the fact that it was very hard for him at that young age to live without his mother. The elder brother had not understood his responsibility until a little later, which is when he started caring for his brother and sacrificing for him.

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Our next concern after we finished glueing the legos was to find a way by which we will make the rope pass through the railing. We were really concerned about the railing at this point as it was looking to be very unstable and could break at any time. This was a learning experience for us were, after we completing making the railing, we realized that it was not the right material to use and that now, we have to think of an alternative.


We all were thinking of various different ideas. One idea that we agreed with was of using pipes. Using pipes would give us a smooth surface were the rope can pass easily. However, we didn’t have enough time to buy pipes and find a place were we can get them. When we talked to Charlie next class, she said that she can get it made from a wood shop close to QF. We made a quick decision here and just went with her idea.


We all came in on Saturday to finish with the railing. This day was the day were i can say i learned the most in this whole project and even in the whole semester I can say.

Things that we accomplished were:

  • Vinyl cutting the type instructions for our installation
  • sanding the wood to make it smooth
  • drilling nails into the wood to connect the three pieces that Charlie had got made from the wood shop
  • painting the wood with colors from the anime
  •  drilling the wood again with the help of an MFA, who had experience in this and making it stable
  • making concrete to make a stable base

Firstly, we had no clue how vinyl cutting worked so we asked a junior to help us show how it works. We learned how to use the vinyl printer, how to cut them and how to stick them on the floor. It was pretty easy but something new to us. I was glad that we learned to do something that was required of us later in Graphic Design and we got to try it out.

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Sanding the wood was a tiresome job that we did to make the surface smoother. it took a lot of time and effort and in the end we managed to make a good surface that we next drilled.

After sanding, we painted the wood. We looked for a scene in the movie which was very colorful. We found a scene of the sky and thought of using those colors on the wood. We really liked how it turned out as now our idea was clearer and everything seemed to be coming together harmoniously.



Drilling was a scary job. I had only done it once in my life and had no other experience whatsoever without another persons help. Thankfully, Charlie had some skills and we got her to do this part. However, we couldn’t manage find the right way to drill it inside so we asked an MFA student to help us. This was very helpful for us especially at a point were we were so close to the deadline.


After drilling and painting the wood we made it stand. This was our biggest concern–the fact that the wood will not be stable and we end in the same scenario as before when we made the modroc pipe and it was not stable. To our surprise, the wood was stable and standing perfectly except that it would fall if someone put weight on it. We were very concerned about this and again asked our friend from MFA. She gave a brilliant idea to add more weight. She taught us how to make concrete using sand and cement. Me and Aaqifa were working on this as the others had already left and we had to do it on that day because concrete takes 24 hours to dry completely.

We both managed to stay long on Saturday and finish this job. It was great learning to use a material like concrete which we can definitely use for our future projects.

To make the perfect base, we collected the paper boxes in the printer rooms and cut them into a rectangle were the wood can stand on. This was creative solution we learned again for our friend. We first used the normal cardboard box to mix the concrete but then realized that it saturated the box and started leaking. Sultana, our friend gave us a warning about not touching concrete as it can become hard and be dangerous. We used gloves for this but needed to come up with a better solution.  So I stuck the extra pieces of vinyl we used and used it as a waterproof base.


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This process was very tiring as mixing the cement takes a lot of effort and time. we worked till night on Saturday and cleaned up so next day we could start sticking the vinyls.


I was thinking about the rope that we were going to use, we don’t have to make it go through the railing, we just had to have it there to make sure they connect with each other and one guides the other. I thought of just laying them on top of the railing and  not making it go through. Others agreed with my idea.

For the concrete, Sultana had later called and said that concrete pushes things up. So i had to run back and put weight on the wood.


I really found that group work was very motivational and stopped procrastination as we encouraged each other to work. For me, the fact that both of us decided to work, there was no procrastination and we worked continuously to complete the work. If we had not done the work this day, it would have so much more hectic the next day and we would be stresses out for sure. Also, learning about so many things in one project made me think that this project really helped us in terms of understanding graphic design as a wide and open platform where you are free to use whatever material you like. For me, this was the biggest difference I felt from other majors that I will have freedom of choosing different materials and get to learn about so many things.



Day 2

This next step was easy and I quickly arranged all the texts. Now that I new what the mistakes could be, I was more careful.

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There were  a few changes I had to make to make the type more clear, as it wasn’t very legible. I added the ghost box around it to avoid any disturbance from the background texture of the wood which was making less legible.


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Final poster:

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It was really nice to print it out on this scale as everything was more clear and bigger in this one. I found that after putting in all the type on my poster, the poster started looking more complete. It filled up a few spaces where the eye would rest and activated the space.

Overall, this project was a test of all the knowledge that we learned though the previous projects and in a sense reflected what we know about type.


After completing type 1, I now think that as a designer, this class had affected me a lot. Right from the beginning when we learned about the letter forms, I started to notice my surroundings like never before. Looking at letters had become more like looking at shapes, which could be combined to give a meaning. Getting away from the idea of treating type as type was difficult at first but as we did more of it, especially in arabic, which I am not fluent in, I have learned to analyze text as image and look at type around me and think about what made the designer make the decision of using this color, or typeface etc.

I am and will be applying all my knowledge into other areas and I believe this what i should be doing as a designer. My biggest struggle in this project was understanding why we did what we did. The most obvious reason for this is that I have to read more about things that are related to this and put my thinking in a way that guides me in the right direction. I recently showed my word poster to one of my friends who is not in the design field, her reaction was so unexpected and she couldn’t believe that this poster was made by hand.

To me, this was really surprising to know because we put so much effort into it and by the end when people see it on display, they don’t realize the effort put into it and don’t give much thought. This is not I want people to think. I want my work to be something that people stop and look at to understand why we did what we did. This is something that I still have to understand to get over with. I was always used to appreciation of work because of its beauty, but now, the thought behind something is equally as important as how beautiful it is.

I hope to develop my understanding of type through reading more and looking at existing type. I believe this will be the way to develop myself as a designer and expand my knowledge about type.


Day 1

Project 05: Final Poster

After completing all the type projects and learning the basics of putting type on an empty page, I found this project to be the easiest of all. The type added another level to my poster and I personally felt like it made the poster look complete.

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Firstly, I started off with editing my photographs and selecting which image I wanted to use. I edited out some parts of the image which included the onion peel in the bottom left corner. I also wanted to try the white cutting board I had used for my word as type might work better on it and also my professor had told me I could try doing it. However, I did not like the white poster as before because I know I had put more effort into the wooden one in terms of its composition and aesthetic. Screen Shot 2016-12-02 at 8.46.21 PM.png

Keeping in mind all the rules about type, I created the final poster using elements like alignment of the sentence and the paragraph, how I broke the sentence/paragraph and the space in which the paragraph/sentence will be put. I was not sure what the informed decisions should be in this poster, so I only tried what I had learned till now.

I focused more on fitting the sentence into a space and not on anything specific to the word. The first try was just copy parting my final sentence compositions. I didn’t put much thought into it as I did know what was the expectation.  I just tried  different compositions to start with.

Class critique:

In the group meeting with the professors, we got to see other peoples work and received feedback. This helped me a learn a lot of things that I had not considered. Things which I had learned but not applied to this poster. When we worked on the empty page, we had nothing to consider and we could put type wherever we wanted, with informed decisions like the alignment, the type size etc. However, in this one the type added more meaning to the page and so other decisions had to be considered.

The first trials that I did were not thoughtful and I took a very less time to do it. What I learned here was that the actual word on the poster had to have some relation with the type that we put in. Considering the angles, the colors, the way the letters were divided, and the other elements in the composition.


The thing that I was surprised about after the critique was that I thought i knew what I was doing and that it was at least close to being correct. However, I was wrong. it was not as easy I thought it to be. After the critique, i worked on my poster considering the things I learned and using informed decisions.


This was the logo I chose for the poster as it looked organic and went along with my poster.




Day 4


In the Theory and Philosophy class, we watched a video in which Candy Chang an artist created this huge blackboard in her abandoned neighborhood. She had faced a big loss in her life, where she lost her mother. This was a big hurdle in her life and she wanted to spread her message across to everyone.  Her intention was to understand peoples thoughts and see how they react. It was a great success for her as many people had written on the board and in one day the entire board was filled.

I was inspired by this and thought we should have something like this in the end of our installation, which allows people to reflect on what they experienced. I thought of the place outside the MFA department which had a glass wall. This looked perfect for what I was talking about and so I thought of telling everyone else about the location.

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Group Meeting 5:

We decided the location to be that place and soon after started dividing the work. We had to wait for someone from our group to buy legos so we started working on the railing idea.

We all decided to work in the dorms in mine and Aaqifa’s room, as it would be very messy doing it in the class room and we did not have a space to put our stuff. We thought of the materials we could use and the first thing that came in mind was using modroc. We had loads of modroc in our dorm which we had stored for future use.

The idea of the railing was mainly to divide the two paths and have ropes on top of them which the pair will wear when they are walking across. unadjustednonraw_thumb_a02

From the beginning, we were thinking of using things that we already have and not purchase anything new except the legos. So we looked for material that we already had. We collected a lot of small bottles in our dorm to storing water. We thought of using these bottles to make the railing. We connected them one by one with tape and used modroc to cover it up and make it strong.


And this had to happen, of course!


We were proud of what we made and now just had to wait for the next step of combing them together. This, we were thinking to do in VCU as it would be harder to take back if it was all connected. Meanwhile, we also cut the blindfolds which would be used for the one walking on the easy path. unadjustednonraw_thumb_a12

We planned out the arrangement of our installation. For this we had to go back to our location to figure out how everything will work. We realized that planning it out on paper and doing it in real life were completely different. We had to measure the whole area, figure out where people will be standing, were the instruction will go, how the railing will fit etc. The railing was a big problem at this point as we wanted it to curve so we can use a larger area. This did not work out because of the fact that it was simply a complicated task.


We did try using a metal wire and getting  a curved shape but it was a failure so we just left it. We decided to just use a straight path and no curves or bends. This made me think of the idea that less is more and that we should keep it simple. unadjustednonraw_thumb_a0a

Sarah bought the legos and found these puzzle mats and we thought it would be a good idea to have them as a base. Initially we were just thinking about having a lego path but now that we has a base, we could thinking of arranging the legos in different ways and can also glue them onto the path to keep them stable.


This was also perfect for idea of relating it to childhood and using the color palette which used pastel colors from the anime.


We also bought lego and started working on how to place them. The strategy we used was that we walked on the path, and kept the legos in places that the person would put their step, therefore each lego placed on the path was thought of and considered in terms being in the way of a person walking. We also made sure that the pieces looked ‘random’ and so flipped some pieces, glued a pile of legos together, made some towers out of lego etc.


The most amazing thing about our project that I loved the most was that we got to play with legos! this made us a little relaxed. Everyone who passed by were super excited to know what we were doing even asked if we were from painting and printmaking department. No one was thinking of this as  a graphic design project and to me that was surprising and I realized that what makes it a graphic design project is the fact that we are creating an experience for people which communicates something. The installations not just had a message but also involved the requirement of touching, seeing and listening to the everything that’s happening in the space.

I learned in class about Experiential Design, which we were designing in our installment. Everything in our project was meant to give an experience to people.