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Strata


Strata Copyright Š 2011 by Melissa Nilsson All rights reserved. hello@melissanilsson.com 240.813.4232 Produced in the spring of 2011 at the Academy of Art University MFA Graphic Design program in San Francisco, California. Instructor, Jeremy Stout Typeset in Linotype Univers & Egyptian 505 BT. Paper stock: Scandia 150gsm text Printed by Digaloo Digital Tryck in Stockholm, Sweden Hand bound by Melissa Nilsson 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 The works presented are NON-COMMERCIAL Works PRODUCED AS A STUDENT FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES


Strata MFA Graphic Design Portfolio of Melissa Nilsson


Foreword

Good design happens in the space where two seemingly unrelated subjects overlap. As a trained printmaker, the physical layering of multiple runs of ink is my favorite analogy for this design philosophy. Unearthing where and how these two subjects meet is how I build the foundation of a design concept.


Contents

SCIENCE!

10

MP Free

20

Nakano

30

Garamond

40

Frederick’s

47

Comfort + Despair

57

Vibram

68

Hidden Waterways

77

Phantasmagory

85

Unstable

92

Food Gym

100

CV

110


SCIENCE!

No. 01

How can a crazy idea change the world? Although we have science to thank for virtually every element of our modern lives, science illiteracy is a major problem. Failure to grasp basic scientific principles results in everything from bad personal habits to shady public policy to matters of life and death. Science has a stuffy reputation, but most (if not all) discoveries are the product of incredible stories. Bringing scientists’ personal struggles and professional battles into the lesson can reveal the source of their inspiration and its impact — so it seemed only natural to frames these conflicts as a Mexican wrestling match.

InsTrUCTor

T YpeFaCes

Roland Young 2010 5 fight posters trading cards website lucha libre masks Arsis D, Sentinel, Railroad...

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portfolio of Melissa Nilsson

Year deLIveraBLes

10


Project 1 of 11

Science!

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Each scientist is represented by a lucha libre style wrestling mask. Theses masks employ motifs that characterize the work, the personality or the defining conflict of that individual’s career. For use in the game website, I translated these drawings into hand sewn lucha libre masks.

Project 1 of 11

Science!

13


http://www.discovery.com/science

Empathy is a valuable teaching too. The website lets users virtually try on the scientists’ masks and match scientists (and their methods) against each other.

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Project 1 of 11

Science!

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The posters are a nod to classic boxing posters from the late Victorian era.

Project 1 of 11

Science!

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MP Free

No. 02

How should copyright law behave in the digital world? The invention of Napster in 2001 revealed a major disconnect between the mechanics of the internet and existing copyright law. In its aftermath, the as-yet unresolved “copy-fight” is emerging as an important subject for artists and consumers alike. The purpose of this book was simply to explore and express a subject through interviews, research and loose associations.

InsTrUCTors

T YpeFaCes

Phil Hamlett & Hunter Wimmer 2007 book measures 6” by 9” 70 pages Helvetica Neue

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Year dIMensIons

20


Project 2 of 11

MP Free

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Unlike a physical copy, digital information is not altered when it is copied. All the images are photocopies of photocopies as a nod to the style of Art Chantry.

Project 2 of 11

MP Free

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Project 2 of 11

MP Free

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This topic touches on many spheres of infl uence (politics, economics, culture, the environment,and individuals). Color-coded markers indicate instances of these subjects.

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Certain chapters outline the loopholes (or areas of consumer confusion) in copyright law that have been exploited by certain corporate entities. Other chapters focus on the behaviors artists can encourage for a more open approach to intellectual property rights.

Project 2 of 11

MP Free

27


Nakano

No. 03

Where old Japan ends and new Japan begins. The goal of this project was to redesign a common supermarket product for an upscale market. The Nakano Vinegar company was founded in Tokyo in the late 1800s and is currently sold across the United States. Despite this long term success, their current packaging system does very little to elevate the brand. To present this product to an upscale customer, the packaging suite leverages Japanese history, modern Japanese design, and the fi ne art of wine tasting. Sake, the rice wine that is used to make rice vinegar, is graded for its sweetness on a scale from -3 to +20. The new line of Nakano vinegars shares the same grading system.

InsTrUCTor

T YpeFaCes

Paul Kagiwada 2010 4 bottles & boxes boxes: 8¼” x 2¼” x 2¼” Diavolo & Fontin

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Year deLIveraBLes dIMensIons

30


Project 3 of 11

Nakano

31


T

:

Project 3 of 11

Nakano

33


The overall aesthetic is a fusion of traditional Japanese craftsmanship (handmade Noh masks) and modern graphics (loosely based on the Superflat style of Takashi Murakami). Together the new packaging honors the company’s long and successful history and accentuates the value of the product in a modern setting.

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Project 3 of 11

Nakano

35


Nakano’s original bottle shape is identical to countless other Asian sauces on the market, so one goal of the rebranding effort was to distinguish the brand through a new bottle shape.

The original Nakano logo mark is the basis for the color coding system.

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Project 3 of 11

Nakano

37


Garamond

No. 04

Classic typeface plus experimental typography. This box, the result of a semester of typography instruction, contains 24 pages of meticulous typesetting. The first five pages are recreations of manufacturer type samples and modern type compositions by Wolfgang Reinhart, each lovingly reset in Adobe Garamond to exacting detail. The remaining nineteen pages are original experiments exploring the effects of scale, positioning, and unconventional typesetting on the readability and beauty of this typeface.

InsTrUCTor Year dIMensIons

Jennifer Sterling 2008 box measures x� by x� 24 pages

T YpeFaCe: Garamond Premiere Pro

40

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Project 4 of 11

Garamond

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Project 4 of 11

Garamond

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Frederick’s

No. 05

It’s not every day you can give a brand a sex change. A lot has happened in the area of gender relations since Frederick’s of Hollywood was founded in 1946. Despite dominating the lingerie market of the United States in the 1950s, Frederick’s of Hollywood’s resistance to change after the advent of feminism and emergence of the Moral Majority was its eventual undoing. Given the chance to rescue a dying or defunct company through design, I focused on Frederick’s of Hollywood’s troubled relationship with its female customer base. Although their past outlook has been to see women as objects, this redesign focuses on a woman’s right to choice and privacy.

InsTrUCTor Year dIMensIons T YpeFaCes

Project 5 of 11

Hunter Wimmer 2009 8½” by 10½” 80 pages, hand bound Archer & Sentinel

Frederick's

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Project 5 of 11

Frederick's

49


You can tell a lot about a woman by her underwear (if she’ ll let you see it)

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The Frederick’s persona: before and after

Project 5 of 11

Frederick's

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Project 5 of 11

Frederick's

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Comfort + Despair

No. 06

A film festival about the two sides of religious experience: comfort and despair, life and death. Ingmar Bergman, the legendary Swedish director who worked throughout the better part of the 20th century, was an atheist whose worldview was nevertheless dominated by Christian theology. Bergman struggled with this internal opposition for much of his life, and the dichotomy between the comfort of religion and the despair of the loss of faith is a theme that comes up in much of his work. This dichotomy is also the inspiration behind this branding project to produce collateral materials for an Ingmar Bergman film festival.

InsTrUCTor Year deLIveraBLes

T YpeFaCes

Project 6 of 11

Troy Alders 2009 5 DVD box set and booklet, vodka bottle, fi lm festival catalogue, map, poster, chess set, stationery set, “memento mori” pocket watch, tickets, rosary-inspired VIP pass Futura and Centennial LT

Comfort + Despair

57


The website and catalogue provide history and context to the fi lm festival. They outline the scope of Bergman’s work, then narrow in on the selections.

Project 6 of 11

Comfort + Despair

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Arranged side to side, the DVDs cases form the image of a reclining figure. The body signifies a humanist outlook (the only way to explore the universe in the absence of God), or alternately, a corpse and the implications of death.

Project 6 of 11

Comfort + Despair

63


Bergman once described the soul as a “shiny, red membrane.� Red is aggressive, angry, and passionate. When challenged, the characters in Bergman fi lms ruthlessly lash out at one other. Bergman once explored this color across an entire fi lm, Viskningar och Rop/Cries and Whispers (included in this festival), in which three women in red dresses congregate in a red room and contemplate death.

Project 6 of 11

Comfort + Despair

65


Vibram

No. 07

Bare feet, bare cardboard. The challenge behind this box design was to create a mail-ready display package to ship a pair of shoes and promotional materials to an unwitting recipient. I selected Vibram Five Finger shoes, a relatively unknown workout shoe that does little more than protect the foot from the elements. The product itself demands the user to strengthen the ligaments and tendons coddled by other running shoes. The box shape and color scheme is derived from the Vibram logo mark. Like the shoes themselves, the box employs simple, utilitarian materials. A draw tab runs the entire way around the package. Upon unfolding the box, shoes are laid out in a display tray opposite a hidden compartment for promotional materials.

InsTrUCTor

T YpeFaCes

Paul Kagiwada 2010 13” by 11” by 9” Quicksand

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Year dIMensIons

68


Project 7 of 11

Vibram

69


The box unfolds to reveal a tray that contains the shoes, and a compartment containing a gift certifi cate, catalogue, and promotional CD.


Project 7 of 11

Vibram

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Despite living in San Francisco at the time, it wasn’t until I uncovered an archive of weathered newspaper articles and musty historic maps at the library that I realized the extent of the hidden water in the city.

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Hidden Waterways

No. 08

Filling in the gaps of a modern landscape with the traces of an old waterfront. This book is a photographic exploration of the secret waterways of San Francisco, from leaky foundations to empty riverbeds. Despite being surrounded by water on three sides, the city of San Francisco is often at risk of water shortages. There is very little rainfall year round, and most fresh water used by the city is piped in from off the peninsula. Very few residents realize that the city sits atop a secret aquifer. For the sake of earthquake safety, it is common knowledge that SOMA, South Beach and various other areas of the city were once part of the Bay. But it isn’t always obvious where the boundaries lie between landfi ll and terra fi rma if you don’t know where to look.

InsTrUCTor Year dIMensIons T YpeFaCes

Project 8 of 11

Beth LaDove 2010 8¼” x 8¼” 79 pages Sentinel & Gotham

Hidden Waterways

77


The aquifer under San Francisco is used to pump fountains throughout the city, explaining why even during droughts, they are not shut off.

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Project 8 of 11

Hidden Waterways

79


Surprisingly many areas of the city must run pumps 24 hours every day to avoid fl ooding, including the foundations of Civic Center, under the 101 Freeway, and above the Powell Street BART station. Even with these precautions, water damage is inevitable.

Project 8 of 11

Hidden Waterways

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Phantasmagory

No. 09

Dreams, arising from nothing. Typography, arising from stuff. I have the uncommon talent of remembering my dreams every night, sometimes several at a time. Inspired by some of the bizarre narratives I have come up with my in my sleep, I used the science of dreaming as a starting point for a typography experiment. I built display type by folding wrapping paper, cutting up magazines, and laser cutting acrylic. Then I photographed the resulting letterforms in situ so that these components from my life could be recombined into another strange little narrative.

InsTrUCTor Year dIMensIons T YpeFaCes

Project 9 of 11

Jay Wilkinson 2009 book measures x� by x� 32 pages paper and acrylic type, Generation A, Avenir

Phantasmagory

85


This typography is laser cut acrylic sheeting, which I adhered to a window and photographed.

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Project 9 of 11

Phantasmagory

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The body text is an analysis of dream science through the ages.

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This display type was cut out from magazines, wrapping paper and graph paper, then folded to create 3-D paper type.

Project 9 of 11

Phantasmagory

89


Unstable

No. 10

Content and concept in concert. Radioactivity is a powerful, confusing, and fundamentally basic force in the universe. Understanding how it functions is in certain rare circumstances a valuable survival tool. Atomic mechanisms are the inspiration for the layout of this book and support the text and diagrams.

InsTrUCTor

T YpeFaCes

Carolina deBartalo 2010 6� by 9� 64 pages LinoType Univers

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Year dIMensIons

92


Project 10 of 11

Unstable

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Project 10 of 11

Unstable

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All atoms, radioactive or not, seek electrical equilibrium by linking up like puzzle pieces. The page layouts imitate this tendency.

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The book features 30 illustrations and 20 tables illustrating basic principles of atomic physics.

Project 10 of 11

Unstable

97


Food Gym

No. 11: thesis

Like a gym, but with food. The Food Gym is a food literacy training center where people can learn about food and their own eating habits. With the goal of behavior modification, cooking instructors and registered dieticians teach basic kitchen skills, ingredient selection, and cognitive solutions to eat better. Members have access to all the bulky and costly kitchen equipment of a professional kitchen, as well as a library, grocery and clinical support center. Each member is empowered by reputable and tailored advice to achieve his or her goals. For millennia, we human beings have struggled with malnutrition. But over the last 150 years, advances in food processing and distribution tipped the scales — and then some. Malnutrition has been succeeded by overnutrition as our most prevalent health problem. To combat our ever expanding waistlines, we could change our habits (the how and why), but instead many consumers turn to the enormous weight loss

InsTrUCTors

T YpeFaCes

Phil Hamlett, Jay Wilkinson, Chris Riggs, and David Hake 2009-2011 branding guidelines iPod application website Amplitude

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Year deLIveraBLes

100


Project 11 of 11: Thesis

Food Gym

101


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The Food Gym aesthetic is loosely inspired by athletic brands. The target Food Gym member is responsive to fitness and weight loss marketing, but tends to feel alienated by gourmet products.

Project 11 of 11: Thesis

Food Gym

103


People don’t intuitively think in terms of calories, but do have a fairly accurate sense of volume. Wherever possible, these volumetric units take the place of other conventional measurements.

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The Food Gym iPod application is both a meal tracking tool (designed to track meal volume, pace and mood, revealing the triggers of troublesome eating habits) and a scheduling tool for Food Gym members.

Project 11 of 11: Thesis

Food Gym

105


Access to both the Food Gym building and refrigerated storage lockers is governed by RFID-enabled membership cards.

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Project 11 of 11: Thesis

Food Gym

107


CV Appendix

Nice to meet you! My name is Melissa Nilsson and I want to make beautiful things for you.

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Skills

Software

Code

Languages

Other Techniques

Adobe CS5 Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver & Flash); Microsoft Office; Wordpress. Comfortable in both Macintosh OS X and Windows environments. HTML, CSS, some PHP and JQuery English (native), Swedish (advanced), Danish (advanced) Book binding; silkscreen, letterpress, relief and intaglio printmaking; digital and analog SLR photography

Selected Work Experience

September 2002 – present

Freelance Graphic Designer Recent clients include the Craigslist Foundation, the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, and the California Hunger Action Association. Projects include website redesign and print collateral.

July 2010–December 2010

Designer, townhog.com Created logos, sales materials and user interfaces for townhog.com and its media partners. townhog. com is a San Francisco based daily deal site that offers Groupon-style daily offers for broadcast companies such as CBS, Playboy, ABC and more.

August 2009–March 2010

Contracted Designer, Merchluv.com Designed the user interface for the beta launch of Merchluv.com, a San Francisco startup bringing bands and designers together to create innovative merchandise.

August 2004 – July 2007

Promotions Coordinator/Department Webmaster, Theatre & Dance Department at The George Washington University, Washington, DC Created promotional print pieces, constructed and maintained the department web page, oversaw ticket sales and managed a student staff of six to promote the department’s annual six-show season.

May – December 2003

Contracted Designer, 24 Hour Company, Arlington, VA Contributed graphics, digital collages, and proofreading to print and digital proposals generated for a variety of government defense contractors.

Education

MFA, Graphic Design

BA, Studio Art

Academy of Art University, San Francisco, California degree to be completed in 2011 Mary Washington College, Fredericksburg, Virginia

Food Gym

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Dedication

My darling, patient Kevin; Erik, Mom & Dad, Amma, Nanna, Brian, Sebastian, Johanne, and the rest of this fantastic, enormous family; Kristin, Mike, Victor, Lauren, Joe et al at AAU; and all my friends who’ve helped me with their expertise or support,

Thank you.


Strata