Novel Cover

Aside from living a freelance designer life, I'm en route to becoming a published author. It's a long way to go. The draft is finished. If you are an avid reader and would love to be the beta reader of my debut Young Adult novel, please let me know.

I barely ever design book covers so this is an interesting personal project of mine. Most YA paranormal romance novels features dark color scheme, giving it a horror vibe. My challenge in the making of the cover is to stay away from the traditional paranormal romance cover.

Translucent follows the story of a girl who falls in love with a young Scottish ghost.

 
 

I'M DONE

After 2 years of not knowing exactly to do, and 3 years of focusing on graphic design, there, I'm a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design.

Pre-Grad Reflection: I Can't Hate Comic Sans

Yes, you read it right. I simply can't. I'm aware that the hatred towards Comic Sans is commonly shared by all designers in the world. There's even a music video made about it. But fear not, dear designer friends. By saying I can't hate Comic Sans doesn't necessarily mean I've used it in my design career. I've never touched Comic Sans ever since I jumped into the graphic design world, where I learned that using the font for any kinds of context is some sort of a sin and the next thing you realize, you'll be doing the walk of shame a la Cersei Lannister.

But I've got a confession to make: there's something about Comic Sans that brought smile to me. As much as my designer-self condemn it just like you guys do, Comic Sans left a special memory to me. Ten years ago, I was an avid child writer, actively writing fairytales and love stories about princesses – typical of twelve-year olds. I would lay the story out in Word document, complete with clipart of apples as the borders and a giant fancy, colorful WordArt (90s kids, remember that?) for the title that read “The Tale of Princess Alexandra”.

Of course, Times New Roman would come across as a way too serious typeface for a twelve-year old girl. Arial just seemed so stiff. Guess, which stood out the most out. Comic Sans, of course. The roundness of the typeface made a friendly impression and thus, I used it. I used it for all of my stories – no kidding – until I learned the right way to format a story manuscript, and until I was introduced to the MLA format.

So now, if you ask me, if I hate Comic Sans, I don't want to be one of those designers who don't even want to bother talking about that darned font. A typeface wouldn't exist for a reason. Vincent Connare of Microsoft wouldn't create the typeface for nothing. I believe Comic Sans had a purpose. If it weren't for a legit graphic design purpose, then I believe it meant to bring smile to aspiring children writers out there.

At one time, my friends and I noticed Comic Sans used in a flyer on the street and we subsequently laughed at it as well as the horrible design. I could just hide my smile, with my thoughts drifted back to Princess Alexandra, wondering if she ever met her prince as I never finished the story.

(I might as well finish the story, but of course, the typeface choice has to be strongly reconsidered this time)

Shameless plug

I picked up my business cards from Traction press yesterday. I couldn't have loved the result even more!

Let's do the happy dance!

Pre-Grad Reflection: Never Forget Where We've Come From

In the middle of preparing for graduation, I decided to take a step back and have a little reflection.

One afternoon, a couple of my friends and I were engaged in a lively conversation about how we ended up at Art Center. Most of them had obtained degrees in some prestigious colleges prior to studying here. My story was rather long but out of all tidbits that eventually landed me in “the world's best art school”, I mentioned that I had a mentor long before I even knew Art Center. Although she wasn't quite officially a mentor, her contributions took part in shaping what I am as a person and as designer now.

I met her in my previous internship back in Indonesia. Her position was, obviously, a graphic designer in the company. Back then I was still transitioning to become a graphic design student since I was still in the community college “I'm-not-sure-what-I-wanted-to-be” phase back in the day. I already did throw an interest in graphic design, so having landed on an internship that gave me an opportunity to develop my graphic design aesthetic was a huge privilege to me. So I ended up working closely with her in developing layouts, icons, and graphic elements. Note that at this point, my graphic design skills were limited only at Photoshop. Illustrator was waaaay too hard for me to use, and don't even bother asking me about Indesign because I didn't even know it existed.

I occasionally peeked at my mentor's desk to see how astonishing her commanding skills in Illustrator. One hand set firmly on the tablet, another hand hitting shortcuts on the keyboard. I realized that Illustrator played a big role in graphic design and indeed if I wanted to be one, I had to learn how to use the program. So I started asking her for some tutorials on using Illustrator, which she happily and patiently complied. In a matter of days, I learned how to make simple yet visually engaging vectors. My mentor also showed her her portfolio. Her works mainly revolved on logo, web, and print – a typical of graphic design demands in Indonesia, but they were done quite beautifully. She was the first graphic designer that I ever got to know in person, so I learned that she was a self-taught designer, she didn't attend any design programs, and yet she had plenty of clients and won prizes for her designs.

Fast forward five years later, Illustrator had become my daily life resource, my basic need as a designer. Just a couple of days ago, it crashed due to a bug and I nearly cried. So anyway, going back to my conversations with my friends, I showed them my mentor's portfolio. I praised her as I opened the website, not until...

“Ugh, they look ugly!” One of my friends chirped. “What a poor skills of typography.”

“The logo looks generic!”

Well, upon enrolling at Art Center, I realized that the college heavily focuses at European and Swiss style – which is very typographic driven – and yet these past few years, my department chair has been also promoting transmedia as the future of graphic design. All of this is awesome and that is the main part of why I choose Art Center. “We are the only school that does all these transmedia projects.” That statement has been repeated numerously by faculties.

As cliché as it might sound, I wanted to change the world. I was hoping once I could introduce this transmedia idea to Indonesian design community in a long term. I wanted Art Center to take part in making my dreams come true.

Art Center has indeed changed the way I think of design. Now that we can tell what a bad design is and what good one looks like. Now we realize that not all typefaces fit for all occasions. Now we know the less is good. Now we learn that a good design doesn't merely lie on the engaging visual but the story behind it. Now our heads are wrapped around transmedia. Graphic design is transmedia and transmedia is graphic design. We worship it. We might think anything outside of it as simply mediocre.

We know so much but we forget where we've come from.

Sure, my mentor doesn't embrace Swiss design, nor does she have any idea about transmedia. She doesn't share the same design values as I do now. If I'm saying this from the perspective of an Art Center student, yeah her graphics and logos are very generic. Does it make her a bad designer? If she's won prizes and gained many clients, I bet you she isn't. I tried not to take a one-sided perspective at things lately. There's more than just the visuals. My mentor has an incredible work ethics. She is a self-taught designer and has now earned her living from it. She's truly passionate about her field. Not everyone can even learn Adobe programs from scratch the way she did.

So, for all the fellow upcoming grads, current students, and even alumni wherever you are, when was the last time you thanked your mentor? I'm talking about the very first mentors you had that taught you design. Even though your mentor might not share the same value as you do now, nor did she/he have zero knowledge about the design movement you're embracing now, you wouldn't be where or what you are now if it weren't for them.

Keep standing tall but never forget where you've come from.

Back when Indonesian Club existed in Art Center

Before I transferred to Art Center, I promised myself I would make a project that promotes Indonesian culture. Now three years it has been and did it ever happen? One word, NO.

Now that I've been collecting my past and ongoing works to be displayed on my portfolio, I was ashamed of myself as I didn't stay true my word. Until I bumped into these folks.

Well, they're not exactly a project. Last spring, my friend and I agreed to create a short-lasting Indonesian club. I have envisioned the idea of having an Indonesian club in Art Center. I even wrote an article about the possibilities of what an Indonesian club can contribute to the school. I was in charged of doing the branding. So, finally, I got to make a mini design project that actually promotes Indonesia!

I hope that means I stick to the promise I once made :)

 
 

5:00 AM - Are you NUTS?

Really? I'm still awake at 5:00 AM and I've no class today. Am I NUTS? Just another insomnia night, I guess. My productivity mode is still kicking in (Ah no, more like procrastination? Otherwise, I'll be doing other future-related, career-boosting stuff right now).

Anyway, in honor of my being awake at this time, I found something that can quite relate to my circumstance now. My whole explanation of why I'm pulling an allnighter when I don't need to might be easier explained by Mr. Squirrel presented by yours truly.

And yeah, that was a game I developed on Processing. It did work, with a glitch. I was proud of it, mainly due to the fact I could make Mr. Squirrel change expression when he caught an acorn. And yeah, he was inspired by Pikachu.

Check out that blush though! How can you resist Mr. Squirrel???

First / Le Premier / Die Erste / 一番目

Finally, I published my very first post in my design website. I'm deciding whether I should post my writings here or more design process. Maybe both? Not sure, but anyway, welcome!

Aside of designing stuff and working on my portfolio, I'm working on two books this semester - two very distinct ones. One is a novel, which is in a beta reading status (if you're an avid reader or an editor, and interested to read my novel, please do let me know!) and another one is an exhibition book. The latter one is more on the designing and less on the writing, in which the subject matter is Jules Verne! I'm very excited on finally doing a project about Verne since I consider myself quite as a Vernian (Always believe in the impossible, guys!) and he's always been my inspiration. Anyway, the Jules Verne book is an exhibition book, yet I treat it more as a thesis paper, because seeing that I'm working on it on my final semester, it kind of has a thesis paper treatment to it (you choose a subject matter and you work on it for the entire semester).

So yeah, I'm looking for both to finish by the end of the semester. Have a great day, guys!