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things that make me a designer


a little about me...


Hello! My name is Naqiyah, and I’m studying Design Management at the American University of Sharjah! To describe me in 3 words I am; Creative Optimistic Proactive I’ve always enjoyed working on design projects and letting my creative side speak through the work I produce. Being positive is something I’ve learned through my time studying at AUS, if your’e positive, good things will happen to you and around you and I completely believe in this. Finally, I’m someone who cannot sit still for more than a minute. When I’m engaged in something I’m the happiest, knowing that I have something to do. Because sitting idle could possibly be my worst nightmare.


table of contents


1 2 3 4

digital design

hand-drawn media

logo design

editorial design



digital design


Digital design is the future of the world. Most of my work has been created through digital means, using softwares such as Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop & Adobe InDesign. Digital media is a beautiful blend of technology anwd creativity that produces work that showcases content in a visual form that engages people with the design. These days digital design has become the cornerstone of advertising and marketing and it is what truly allows the media to grab their audience’s attention.


cultural postcards Digital media in communication design was a course that allowed us to learn about the different softwares to create digital work as well as taught us the basics of digital design and how to apply them into creating successful artwork. Our first project in this class was to create a set of postcards that represented a city of our choice within the UAE. The aim was to choose a city, and then go to it’s attractions and take interesting photos of those attractions so we could later turn them into well crafted illustrations. In line with the project requirements, I chose Sharjah as my city. I believe Sharjah has a lot of heritage and beauty that lies within its history and sometimes people are unable to appreciate the true beauty of Sharjah.


To keep things interesting within all my 3 postcards I decided to show a different aspect of tourism within Sharjah. First the exciting attractions, such as Flag Island, the Eye of Sharjah, Noor Mosque, etc. The second highlighting the true culture and history of Sharjah, with an illustration of one of the most famous Islamic Civilization Museums. And lastly, I focused on the exquisite and authentic Arabic food that you can find in Sharjah. I worked on all the illustrations, opting to use a style that let the artwork be flat as well as used a consistent color palette to show that all 3 postcards are related and are part of a set. The purpose was mainly to make them eye-catching and interesting and that was what I was able to do.

Spring 2017 DES 230 - Digital Media in Communication Design

postcard 2

postcard 1 postcard 3


cultural posters The second part of our assignment was to take these postcards and further develop them into attractive posters. This infact was a harder project because we needed to experiment with typography, placement and colors that complemented our initial artworks. I created a range of iterations to experiment with serifs, san serifs and slab serifs. There was experimentation also done with the placement of the title, the subheading and the text. And to pick the colors was easily the most difficult task.


Having to pick a shade of a color that complimented the range of illustrations I had was both difficult and time consuming. Eventually, I was able to select a typeface as well as a color that complimented both my artwork and the type of posted I wanted to create. Moreover I was able to make the posters exciting and dynamic with the way my type was placed and allowed it to be the kind of attractive poster a city’s tourism department would want.

Spring 2017 DES 230 - Digital Media in Communication Design

poster 1

poster 2

poster 3



Fall 2016 DES 200 - Communication Design

poster icons


one day poster Communication Design is a course that introduces the materials and techniques most commonly used by designers in the field of communication. It also stresses the development of skill in these areas through the completion of assignments and projects that represent the concepts discussed in class. We are expected to have a deeper understanding of visual communication and become well-versed in the materials and techniques most commonly used by professional designers. For this project, we were to explore the representation and meaning of personal data. Using design principles, type, colour, and graphical elements, we created an expressive form to communicate the statistics of our daily activities. The final outcome had to quickly and effectively represent a day in our life communicated through our personal data.

Working on this project not only allowed me to systematically record my daily activities but also understand and think about how I could visually represent these activities in a way where the audience understands them clearly. Initially I spent a lot of time trying to visually represent my activities through that day, thus the “poster icons� image. After creating them visually and experimenting with color I later realized that the way I wanted my poster to look would not match the design of my icons. Thus I later changed them to black and white to incorporate them into my poster design. My poster design is designed to clearly represent one day in my life in the form of a segmented circle that shows day and night through colors and the acitivites I have done in the day through the use of icons and illustrations.


illustrator illustration The Illustration Drawing course is a course designed specifically to teach is the different methods of creating illustrations, in my portfolio there are multiple pieces of work from this class that I’ve created. Some different techniques that we were taught were to create illustrations with the use of Illustrator, then by watercolor, by pencil, and lastly by Photoshop. Our first project was to create an illustration using Illustrator and to do this we were asked to create reference shots of food that we enjoyed. We weren’t initially told what these reference shots would be used for so we were encouraged to take photos of whatever we wished.


After creating our photo references we began to work on our illustrator projects. Initially we used the photo as a general guideline to create the right shapes, but then we began to emphasize on the details and we started to look closely at the image and drawing exactly what we saw instead of what we thought was there. This project was one of my first realistic illustrations where we were supposed to make it look as close to the image as possible. The other part of the project expected us to create a cartooned illustration which was also fun and challenging as we experimented with line weight, strokes, and shadows.

Spring 2017 VIS 213 - Illustration Drawing

reference shot

realistic illustration

cartoon illustration


photoshop illustration This was another project created in my Illustration Drawing course. Unlike the first one, we created this completely in Photoshop. We began this project by learning about the different styles artists have and use to create paintings, images or illustrations on photoshop. To start with a little exercise, we used a real painting reference to create a simple painting on photoshop to understand how to use photoshop paintbrushes and blending techniques. After completing this exercise, the next part of our project was to choose an illustration style that we thought was attractive.


Then we were to choose an object, a person or a pet to recreate using the same illustration style as the reference we had chosen. The reference style I decided to choose was a fun comical style with the use of bold and bright colors and drawings that looked hand-drawn. For the illustration I decided to choose my pet cat and created an illustration that looked like my cat but using a style that was primarily of the reference.

Spring 2017 VIS 213 - Illustration Drawing



duplication of painting style in photoshop

reference art style

work created with reference


sound vision Along with university courses and projects, sometimes I like to take the time out to do small freelance projects for colleagues or acquaintances. This project in particular is a project for an acquaintance. She was a student at SAE, studying Audio Engineering and Sound Vision was her final project for graduation. To create awareness for her project showcase, I collaborated with her to create a logo and posters for her project. The project had to do with music cymatics, which is a field of music that focuses on creating patterns and designs within water, sand, glitter, and other mediums.


Because of the theme of her project I decided to create a logo that’s both languid and solid at the same time. The use of N as a curve was primarily because of the physics involved in music cymatics. And following this trend I also created the posters using this same idea. The instruments in the posters are solid yet flowy to represent the idea. The colors were also chosen from images of cymatics created through scientific machinery. Thus the colors and the design solely represent the entire idea behind her project.

Spring 2017 Freelance Work


2 logo design


Logos are the first step to any brand identity that a company or an organization creates for itself. Logos to me are one of the most fun projects to work on since this is where you can lets your creative juices flow and help a business decide what exactly represents them visually. What colors, principles and placement makes them feel that yes, this is my company and this is what it represents. Logo design is a very systematic design, where you are required to do multiple steps before you reach the final stage. From receiving the design brief, to sketching and then finally prototyping, each step of the way truly allows the designer to experiment and work with whatever finally comes to be the best way to represent the company.


aaees logo While in University, I took the initiative to be part of multiple clubs and organizations to involve myself in extracurriculars and to interact with students from different majors and backgrounds. Creating this logo was a surprising experience for me. The vice president of this club requested me to create a logo for their club as they had recently started the globally accredited club and required a professional logo.


To create this logo I researched the affiliations of the club, and other student chapter logos. Since this was a club based on environmental engineers, I designed this logo based on the visual perceptions of environment and engineers. I believe that this logo is clean and simple and clearly shows what the club represents; that they are engineers who give out a helping hand towards the environment and support sustainability.

Fall 2016 AAEES Club Logo

American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists


Student Chapter


automatio I created this logo as part of an online instagram competition. The competition required its participants to create a logo that represented a firm that made web creation easier as it was done without coding, also known as robotic coding since the computer does most of the work.


Since the name of the company was and the idea behind it was robot technology I decided to create a logo that represented the robot but also looked like an A that stood for automatio. Furthermore the cute properties of the logo were to show that it was a friendly usable software that anyone can use freely without any hassle.

Fall 2017 Online Competition


ecoscape This logo was created specially for a logo competition on campus. The competition guidelines were to create a logo for an environmental landscaping company known as ecoscape landscape. The logo had to match the name of the company and show the true values that the company had. In order to create this logo I thought about the name “ecoscape� and wanted to represent this with both greenery and the slopes most often used in landscaping. Thus I created a backdrop that consisted of slopes and two slopes in the forefront that also looked like leaves.


The colors I’ve used are all earthy green colors to represent their company. The reason purple was used is to give a calming effect to the logo and also to represent the use of flowers in their landscaping. The patterns and gradients are also there to add a depth within the idea of the leaf and slope being the same. Lastly, the font selected was sans serif yet elongated and has subtle curves to represent that landscaping is also like that, subtle and languid.

Fall 2017 Logo Competition in University



moved As I mentioned earlier, I often like to help friends and colleagues in creating posters, logos or other such design related projects where they need my help. This project was another such experience where 3 of my friends competed in a competition known as the Hult Prize. They were required to create an innovative product or business idea that would win the competition. To make their presentation for the panel of judges, they asked me to create a logo for their idea to impress the judges. The idea that they had was to create a bus in the more poorer cities of the world that would be consider a mobile


educational bus. It would be supplied with books, stationary and computers to allow some students per day to come to the bus and study or learn new things for a new hour. The name of their company would then be MovEd, standing for movable education. Thus in sync with their idea, I decided to take their bus/van and put it down as a visual, since this bus would be connected globally and connecting students to education, as per my friends suggestions I created a satellite to fit on top of the bus to portray the connective nature of the project. The color blue was selected as it is calm and inviting and the font was selected to represent children’s handwriting.

Fall 2016 Hult Prize Logo



hand-drawn design


Initially when I started to work on designs and projects, I was most scared of anything to do with hand-drawn media. I used to think I’m a terrible artist and that my best skills came from my digital work where I could control things by a click of a few buttons and there was the magical power of “cmd + z”. After taking a few courses in the field of hand-drawn art I realized I just needed the right motivation and guidance to create work that sometimes surprised even me. I truly enjoyed working on these projects even though they take a lot of time. The precision and accuracy of each drawing is what really keeps me going to create something extra-ordinary.


pencil rendering Back at the very start, in my second year I took my first design course - Descriptive Drawing. As I mentioned in my description earlier, I was always skeptical about my skills as someone who could design by hand. At the start of the course I barely had the skills or the knowledge to create any work that was even close to receiving a high grade.


But later throughout the semester I learned, practiced and finally had the confidence of creating work that I was proud of. This piece being one of those works that I had created for a final exam. Completing it in 4 hours, this piece was extremely difficult to draw but after spending 4 hours staring at a cloth and replicating exactly what I saw I was extremely happy with what I had created.

Fall 2016 DES 111 - Descriptive Drawing


pencil rendering Later in my third year, I decided to do another course solely on creating work by hand. The course was called Intermediate Drawing and we created 3 projects over the span of the semester.


This was my final project in the course and the project was focused on creating a photo reference with the use of hands to create interesting hand gestures. Later, we used pencils to render the image in the same scale as the image.

Fall 2017 ART 211 - Intermediate Drawing

reference shot


color pencil rendering This was the second project in my Intermediate drawing class where we were asked to create a reference shot using images purely from the internet and then combining them together to create an interesting reference on Photoshop. The reference shot were created on the basis of two randomly generated words. For example my word was “ugly eraser� and so I had to come up with a crazy unrealistic scenario where an ugly eraser would be in the limelight.


For my piece I decided to show an ugly eraser that was on a factory belt being processed and then would later end up in a dustbin. The entire rendering was created by hand using Prisma color pencils and took approximately 2 weeks to create.

Fall 2017 ART 211 - Intermediate Drawing


watercolor illustration This is one of my favorite projects from my Illustration Drawing class in my second year. We had to take high contrast photos any individual and then create a watercolor illustration with that photograph.

In my second try I did slightly better but I still felt like I could do much better with this project. I was truly enjoying using watercolors and so I wanted to make a portrait that was completely amazing!

In the start we experimented with many ways of creating watercolor effects, making effects in shapes of all sizes and then using extra media such as sea salt for special effects.

As I started my third try we got scarily close to the date of my submission but I still wanted one last shot. I prepared all my material and sat in a studio for 6 hours and that’s when this piece on the right was created. I had managed to complete the portrait with extreme accuracy and had managed to even get the colors and effects perfectly.

After experimenting with making watercolor effects we got to work on our projects. If I’m being completely honest my first try was a complete disaster, the colors came out really bad and most of my paint left the lines that they were supposed to be contained in.


This was one of my favorite hand-media experiences and a project that I was truly dedicated to.

Spring 2017 VIS 213 - Illustration Drawing



editorial design


This section shows the multiple editorial projects that I worked on. Each one of them has a different style, subject and process. They were all created for different classes thus the requirements for each varied. I believe that editorial design does not just consist of the text and the placement of images. But, it is the story that it shows and the way the story is told visually. Working on editorial designs has always been one of my most exciting projects and I continue to enjoy working on them with evert project.


design thinking This was of the first publications that I worked on after pursuing Design Management as my degree. This assignment focused on allowed us to experiment purely with type, scale, layout and color. We had a predetermined article selected and we were to make it come alive on the pages and make it less wordy. The purpose of the exercise was to take an ordinary article and make it exciting enough for someone to pick it up and read it.

This assignment too was quite challenging as it was my first time working with a multipage layout and having to make all the pages coincide and work harmonously was difficult. But in the end I was able to find a common groove that allowed me to make this article really stand up with the help of the layout, typography and color.

Link to view entire book:


Fall 2016 DES 200 - Communication Design


travel guide In the course Digital Media in Communication Design, after completing the first 2 projects of creating the postcards and then the posters, our final project was to create a multipaged booklet that would be the travel guide of the city we chose. Creating this book took many hours of categorically searching for and compiling information to represent the city. From looking for restaurants to creating access to services and then finally creating 3 day itinerary, this assignment was not easy.

But after compiling all the information, working with all the initial graphics and experimenting with layout and colors was extremely fun. To make a multipage book interesting and dynamic on each page isnt an easy task but once you figure it out it’s quite rewarding. Thus working on this project allowed me alot of creative freedom to work with eccentric colors and illustrations and go all our with the layout to make it as appealing to the audience as possible.

Link to view entire book:


Spring 2017 DES 230 - Digital Media in Communcation Design


user experience manual At the start of my third year, we were required to do a course known as “Design Project�. This course expected us to develop an understanding of designing for a purpose. We were asked to define a project by seeking a problem that we thought was worthy to be solved and then create a solution for that problem. The final result then being a presentation to a virtual client and a user experience manual that would help understand the project, the problem and its solution, When I had started this course, I was blank. With absolutely no ideas in mind I started to look at things harder, listen to people more carefully and understand what could be that one thing that bothers everyone but has never truly been solved.

With the help of this course I was then finally able to pinpoint the problem of the lack of awareness of Design Management, my degree in AUS and furthermore the Middle East. And from there I went forward to analyze the problem further and came up with a practical solution that would benefit all of its stakeholders and the people that are yet to be exposed to the course. To understand the project better a link has been provided below. This truly was one of my most extensive design research’s done till date and I am exceptionally happy with the work that I have created in this book.

Link to view entire book:


Fall 2017 DES 300 - Design Project


N AQ I YA H M U STA FA +971525497199 h t t p s : // w w w . b e h a n c e . n e t / g 0 0 0 6 4 5 2 0 d e c f



This is my portfolio, showcasing all my work and showing truly what makes me a designer.


This is my portfolio, showcasing all my work and showing truly what makes me a designer.