As a part of my role as co-founder of the global Open Design working group, I built the digital presence of the collaborative, including visual identity and website look + content. The intent of this minimalist black and white design theme, largely inspired by the 7th Berlin Biennale, was to portray the idea of a ‘clean slate’ - a place where designers, makers and hardware hackers from a variety of backgrounds would feel welcome to engage with concepts related to openness and transparency in their work.
As one of the editors of The Open Book, a crowdsourced publication exploring the social and technological manifestations of the global movement for open knowledge, I was commissioned by the Finnish Institute in London to design the Web interface for the book and its accompanying crowdsourced Evolution of Open Knowledge timeline. The timeline, which was built thanks to the help of the Open Knowledge Foundation and code from Timeliner.js, was intended to have a participatory element allowing viewers to easily input their own submissions. For the website, I used Public Domain images and Open Source typefaces to convey the collaborative theme of the book in a digital setting.
While this was a massive job to undertake, it was also an enriching one because I was given full reign to apply my usual technoculture-inspired typography and brightness to the camp’s visual identity. The final designs aimed to reflect the edgy, uniquely Polish essence of the camp’s post-industrial venue as well as the innovation displayed in its innovative, participatory programme.
DIGITAL + PRINT DESIGNS: THE OPEN KNOWLEDGE FOUNDATION
Serving as graphic designer for various Open Knowledge Foundation campaigns in 2010 and 2011, I designed banners, stickers, t-shirts (see excerpt), logos and print designs for a series of projects related to openness, data and the Public Domain. While each project had its own visual identity, my overall aim was to engage a wide range of age groups and audiences with the innovative work of the Foundation, while also promoting a sense of community and empowerment amongst those who viewed these designs on the Web.
IDENTITY + DIGITAL DESIGN: YOUTH CAMPAIGN FOR DEVELOPMENT
Images made for annual International Development Week campaign by the BC Council for International Cooperation, a Vancouver-based branch of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Intent was to create a package of youth-friendly graphics for an initiative that aims to empower young people to get involved in Canadian foreign policy initiatives. Given a series of photographs to implement for the campaign, applied a cut-and-paste style to design thematics, opting for lo-fi scrapbook reminiscient images over polished digital copy. Images were distributed as digital banners on indie media, Facebook badges and website layouts for the IDW 2011 homepage.
For as long as I can remember, I have been captivated by science fiction, machines, humans and the neon spaces that sprawl in between such interactions. The digital and physical art I create - much like my MSc research - is often inspired by dystopian, glitch-culture conflicts between the online and offline and how they affect our understandings of identity - mashups, GIFs, memes and remixed Web images attributed from the Public Domain are merged with oil pastel portraits and photographs of computer guts. As I engage further with machines themselves, I hope to combine an increasing physical presence with such works, adding Arduinos and LEDs to digital artworks to create an entirely new and transformative narratives.
As a co-founder of the Fresh Media collective in Vancouver, I was given free license to unleash my most insane, cacophonous design visions on paper for our various community events, from a “Fresh Media Olympics” conference to a “REMiXOLOGY” salon series to film screenings and an “Internet Dance Party”. For a wonderfully organic initiative focused on the promotion of media innovation, citizen journalism and digital literacy, I had a feeling the wildness of these designs might be a somewhat fitting approach.
As one of the coordinators of a Vancouver-based unconference in 2009 called ForeignPolicyCamp, hosted by Canada’s World and other local foreign policy organizations, I was the camp’s designer, coordinating all aspects of logo, web and offline visual branding and identity. My inspirations came from a combination of edgier digital looks typical of Open Source tech conferences focused at programmers and hackers along with more traditional fonts and colours seen at government conferences focused at public servants. The website skeleton, along with all other camp graphics and media, was released to the public domain after the event under Creative Commons non-restrictive licenses.
In 2011, I created and curated DigiSnail, a small digital gallery showcasing the favourite pieces of physical snail mail items amongst twenty-something Canadians and Americans. The intent was to “simulate the phenomenological ‘experience’ of opening a special piece of mail and sharing it with friends.” Site layout and art was hand-designed, with a Tumblr-hosted backend and various community functionalities so that members could self-post new pieces. It produced some valuable discussions regarding the digitisation of personal and cultural artifacts.
I always say that I need to do less digital and more physical art, and so I was glad to have the opportunity in 2010 to contribute a large-scale (oil pastel-based) art canvas created in honour of the 2004 anti imperialism and Iraq war protests that happened across the globe and galvanized so many young activists at the time (including myself!) to be featured (link here) in the third printed issue of Vancouver-based Rain Zine.
As a designer, some of my favourite work has involved crafting posters, flyers and printed medias for campaigns that get local communities engaged in politics, urban affairs and public policy - from talks to workshops to book readings to voter registration drives to political party events. In this context, I usually aim to use the most cheerful, eye-catching colours I can in order to depict an atmosphere of innovation and citizen-fuelled participation.