Process Journal

Page 1

Process Journal

Glasgow School of Art

Year 4


This is a process journal done by Winnessa Ho over the course of her final year at Glasgow School of Art Singapore.


Contents 1.

The Spoon Theory




Mental illness is not crazy




Audible Travel Anywhere




Linguistic Rebellion —Experimental Typography




Spoon Theory

Project Overview This project delves into the growing discourse around inclusivity & privilege in Singapore, especially in the current pandemic climate where the fog of isolation surrounds us. The intention is to bring awareness to the isolation that people with invisible illness go through everyday in silence. By using spoons as a metaphor to present the difficulty and frustration of their lived experience. Posters for this campaign hope to shine a light on people with invisible illness and drive social change for a more inclusive & empathetic society.


People who have’nt suffered a serious illness don’t understand how isolating it can be.


Invisible Illness What is invisible illness? An invisible illness is an umbrella term for any medical condition that isn’t easily visible to others. This includes chronic physical conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, fibromyalgia, and others — but also mental illnesses. Living with an invisible illness often leads to judgement and criticism because others believe you look fine on the outside, and therefore must be “making up” their suffering.

Disability No Invisiblity In an effort to know what people with invisible illnesses go through, I watched this TED Talk: Disability Not Invisibility by Vicky Potter1. Potter has Dysautonomia which is a type of invisible illness. She says that “I look completely healthy on the outside, that’s why people have such a hard time believing just how sick I am.” She also talked about how she “never once thought about accessibility or disability rights until i had to face it” herself. This statement made me reflect and realise that you have no idea what someone is going through and that a disability is not defined by what you can see on the outside.


People are finally starting to understand what it’s like to be isolated and to worry about their health all the time, which is something that people with invisible illnesses have been living with for years. 8

What challenges do they face? Unlike having a condition that’s observable, those with invisible illnesses often face a lack of social awareness and additional stigma, As a result, these individuals often face more skepticism, and are accused of being lazy or moody and in need of cheering up, going out more, calming down, or a host of other dismissive judgements.

Pandemic effects Harper Spero, founder of the Made Visible2 podcast talked about how “People are finally starting to understand what it’s like to be isolated and to worry about their health all the time, which is something that people with invisible illnesses have been living with for years.”. Studies have indicated that people who suffer from chronic illnesses are more susceptible and risk dying from the coronoavirus. A lot of people with invisible illnesses rely on weekly doctors appointments and frequent trips to the hospital. In order to reduce the risk of local transmission of COVID-19, MOH has introduced an initiative to have follow-ups for 7 chronic conditions (diabetes, hypertension, lipid disorder, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and anxiety) through video consultation.



Theory 10

What is Spoon Theory? Essentially, it uses spoons as an analogy to explain what is your energy level or how much energy you have left. Many people with invisible illnesses use spoons to quantify how they are feeling on a given day. Since there’s not really a scientific way of measuring energy levels, this unit of measurement - numbers of spoons - can make it easier for “normal” healthy people to understand the plight and feelings of those suffering.

What does spoons have to do with energy? In 2003, Christine Miserandino was asked by her friend to explain what did it feel like to have lupus. As they were in a cafe, Miserandino used some nearby spoons as props to describe her predicament. They counted out twelve spoons and Miserandino explained that daily tasks such as eating breakfast cost her at least one of those spoons, and showering used up two.



Who uses spoon theory? The term snowballed on the internet and since Miserandino blogged about her spoons in 2010, her Facebook page ButYouDontLookSick has gained more than 130,000 likes and upwards of 10,000 people have added a supportive Twitter ribbon or a picture of a silver teaspoon as their display picture.

Does it do more than explain energy levels? It is something people now identify themselves with and have built a community around. The word “spoons” has started to crop up in the everyday language of people with stamina problems - and it’s getting creative. You might hear someone say they’re running low on spoons. And if they use up more energy than they really have, and get excessively exhausted as a result, it’s known as getting into “spoon deficit”. Miserandino has what she calls a “scheduled crash landing” in these situations, a rest period to get over non-standard events such as weddings or hospital trips. She says her days are about pacing herself and deciding in advance which tasks are worth “sacrificing a spoon” for.


There are fork cultures and there are chopstick cultures: but all the peoples of the world use spoons.

E a t i ng w it h a n spoo


The ways in which we ‘use’ a spoon As a baby, our first ever utensil held is most likely a spoon. The ways to wield a spoon may vary from person to person. Questioning myself and asking what is a spoon in a philosophical sense and looking at a spoon through a different lens. Thinking of the spoon not only as just an object, but an object in our mind. To contemplate the spoon and its ‘spooness’. By studying the form, according to Plato’s theory of forms is to separate the object and consider the form independently.

Spoon & Food Food writer and historian, Bee Wilson said, “There are fork cultures and there are chopstick cultures: but all the peoples of the world use spoons.” Everyone in the world uses spoons but something that is always associated with cutlery: Food.

A different perspective What does it mean to eat? From the lens of a normal & healthy person, we use a spoon the normal way to drink soup. To a person with invisible illness (IL), a simple task like eating can seem daunting as it might use up a lot of their energy or ‘spoons’. To give an analogy, they might feel like the spoon they’re holding is big like a tennis racket (hard to hold like a spoon) and the netting of the racket makes it impossible to drink the same soup.


Uncomfortable Spoons As there’s a growing discourse on inclusivity and privilege taking place around a world, which has been heightened by the current pandemic, the intention is to bring awareness to the isolation that people with invisible illness go through everyday in silence. Confronting the current structural inequities within the marginalised lived experience, using spoons as a metaphor to present the difficulty and frustration of their lived experience; by drawing a parallel to the consumption of food between people with invisible illness and healthy ‘normal’ people. Hopefully leading to a future where society is more empathetic and inclusive towards people with disabilities to drive social change.


To visually help people understand the simple things that “normal” healthy people can easily do, people with invisible illness cannot. I decided to create these uncomfortable and ‘impossible’ spoons. Impossible? Creating images3 of various types of spoons that cannot be used for its intended purpose (eating). Using the spoons as a metaphor for experience of not being able to do those things that healthy people can do so easily.

What will this do? As people with invisible illnesses are usually have their feelings invalidated due to their inability to do seemingly simple things, this could possibly raise awareness to the isolation that people go through everyday in silence by educating “normal” healthy people to understand their plight.

What it can lead to in the future? Hopefully it can lead to more people in society being empathetic. Thus, building a compassionate & more inclusive society for people with disabilities.















The Brief Definition of: between the devil and the deep blue sea in a difficult situation where there are two equally unpleasant choices. Chosen approach: An awareness campaign to be delivered through a series of posters, adverts, or through social media. Mental illness is often perceived as a taboo subject in Asia. Being a culture less inclined to express our emotions, the fear of being judged, often stops people from sharing and seeking help. The three main areas to overcome the stigma are: awareness, care & prevention.


Mental Illness is not crazy. Project Overview This project investigates the term ‘crazy’ and the stigma behind mental illness. TODAY reported a survey, conducted by the IMH research division, that a large group of Singaporeans have misconceptions about mental illness. Words like “Crazy”, “weird”, “scary”, “stupid” and “dangerous” were among the words that came to mind then the respondents heard the term mental illness. The intention of this campaign is to invite people to start understanding mental illness and break the stigma. 3 animated posters, each depicting a collage of a crazy, situation to juxtapose against mental illness, aims to create conversation and virality by incorporating satire and humour.


Research Taboo & mental illness Why is there stigma surrounding mental illness? Stigma is a kind of buzz word which arouses more emotional reaction than merely to be devalued or negatively regarded. Those stigmatised are more likely to be rejected, stereotyped and discriminated against.

Target Audience According to the paper ( The Stigma of Mental Illness in Asian Cultures), negative attitudes are most likely to be evoked if the patient is male, of lower socioeconomic class, of minority status, violent, unpredictable, showing incomprehensible behaviour (e.g.hearing voices), lacking social ties and being treated with somatic therapies in state hospitals. Older age, lower socioeconomic status and lower educational level are associated with greater intolerance and rejection of the mentally ill.

Shame and guilt There is a general reluctance in seeking psychiatric care (People would choose friends, family doctor, relatives or clergymen before resorting to psychiatric services.) Due to shame culture, the stigma felt by patient may be real or perceived. i.e. Fear of stigmatisation by the patient and family. Fear of rejection, self-doubts, concealment and withdrawal can be far more significant barriers to full social reintegration than the stigma associated with negative public attitudes.


Knowledge and attitudes People are currently better informed about mental illness. The public’s ability to label a broader range of behaviour as mental illness has also increased. However, even though mental illness seems to be accepted as an illness like any other, people’s feelings are not consistently shaped by this cognitive awareness.

Effects of stigmatisation The effects of the stigma can be manifested at different levels including psychological, family, social, cultural and economic. Selfdevaluation, expressed emotions, family burden, low marriage prospects, loss of job and status, social discrimination and lack of mental health resources are only some important effects.

Negative attitudes In a 2018 TODAY article5 reported on a survey conducted by the IMH Research division. “Crazy”, “weird”, “scary”, “stupid” and “dangerous” were among the words that came to mind then the respondents heard the term “mental illness. Around 35.1% said friends would perceive them as “weak” if they had a mental illness. 46.2% of the respondents, who were aged between 14 and 18, also said they would be “very embarrassed” if they were diagnosed with a mental illness,


Insight Negative labels such as ‘crazy’, weird’, ‘possessed’, ‘demon’, ‘scary’ are placed on mentally ill people. Those who suffer from mental illness do not want to be associated with the negative connotations of mental illness such as being labelled as ‘crazy’ which in turn makes ashamed to seek psychiatric help. Some may not want to see it as medical problem because of the stigma attached. Treating it as a spiritual problem instead of a medical one to avoid the shame and labels. For example, the word “Crazy” has been a word to portray those who suffer with mental illness as dangerous, weak, unpredictable, unproductive and incapable of rational behaviour or relationships. It is a word used without any serious thought or consideration.


Aim The aim is to reframe the negative narratives that are placed on mentally ill people. Inviting the public to break the stigma behind negative labels and educate them that perpetuating these negative sterotypes on the mentally ill will deter those suffering from seeking medical help.

Approach A series of posters, each showing different images completely not associated to mental illness. In a satirical way, juxtaposing imagery and text to dispel the misconceptions of people who suffer from mental illness.

Target Audience Young people aged 16 to 25



Idea: Wrestle your demons Tried out my past idea to show a child in pain suffering from mental illness but being perceived as possession. But I realised it was too scary to work as a campaign so I scraped it.


Idea: Mental illness is not 'crazy' Moving on to another idea of how public stigma (negative labels on the mentally ill) deters those suffering from getting professional medical help. Those who suffer from mental illness do not want to be associated with the negative connotations of mental illness such as being labelled as 'crazy' which in turn makes ashamed to seek psychiatric help.


“The mentally ill frighten and embarrass us. And so we marginalize the people who most need our acceptance. What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor, more unashamed conversation.” – Glenn Close (Mental Illness: The Stigma of Silence)


Campaign My campaign will use satire and humour to create conversation and virality. I have a series of posters each depicting a collage of a ‘crazy” situation to juxtapose against mental illness. My intention for this campaign is to invite people to understand mental illness and break the stigma behind the negative labels. Showing them that people with mental illness are not ‘crazy”.




Final work



D&AD Brief Brief Overview Design a visual identity for a fictional Audible Originals title that stands out and makes some noise. At Audible, designers might not have the full text available to listen to before they create an identity instead they will have the title, synopsis and a clear idea of the target audience. To replicate this process, you have a selection of four fictional* audiobook and podcast titles, synopses and core markets to choose from. You’ll need to get into the mind of your audience and design a digital book cover and series of visual assets to promote your title. This brief is all about design craft, so consider how you can make your visual identity arresting and convince your audience to tune in. The identity needs to stand out. It also needs to work across multiple touchpoints and create a world beyond Audible. The identity needs to live in a sea of tiny squares but also be able to stand alone both as a virtual and physical asset. The entirety of the design will be visible on the product description page that draws the reader in or as an ad on Instagram. Think about the wider ecosystem of the design and all the touchpoints it will cover. Deliverables

Title ‘cover’ Product description page (full bleed background) App banner An example of your identity across three different Out of Home spaces such as buses, bus shelters or transport gates Online assets (cover, product description page and app banner)


Audible Project 03 The Faraway ( Fantasy/Adventure Audiobook) Target Audience: 18-34 year olds without kids, who are looking to escape. Synopsis: Daniel has always been described as someone with their head in the clouds. Working in a local store, they are always dreaming of far away adventures until a new visitor comes to town and those dreams start to become a reality. The brief said to develop a visual identity for a fictional Audible Originals title but I expanded the brief and decided to create a campaign promoting the chosen Audible audiobook title as well.


Audible’s targets busy people who have no time to read. Around 70% of Audible consumers are “commute readers” meaning they listen to the audiobooks/podcasts when they travel to work/school.


Research Starting of the project with researching the brand, Audible and its brand positioning. Audible is posiitoned as an alternative to unproductive mindless applications, where time can be better spent listening to something that can enrich and immerse audiences. A study by The Publisher’s Association found 54% of UK audiobook buyers listen to them for their convenience, while 41% choose the format because it allows them to consume books when reading print isn’t possible.


“Listening to a story on Audible produced greater emotional and physiological engagement than watching the scene on a screen, as measured by both heart rate and electro-dermal activity.” ­—Dr. Joseph Devlin Head of Experimental Psychology at UCL


Insight Audiobooks were found to engage people more. A UCL study has found that there’s a stronger emotional and physiological response when listening to audiobooks compared to watching visual storytelling mediums like a movie. By measuring participants’ heart rate and brain activity, the statistical evidence was very strong (over 99% certainty). This insight shows that audiobooks have the ability to immerse the listener into a different world, having a powerful impact on their hearts and minds. Now with lockdown happening in the UK, many people are forced to stay at home and many are bored, perhaps seeking information or a mental escape.


Development WIP Idea 01 Taking in mind the current pandemic and the UK target audience, Audible can partner with healthcare organisations eg. NHS. Spreading brand awareness through plasters for covid-19 vaccinations. People will take pictures of their vaccination and post it on social media, generating impressions.



Mo o db o ard 01 WIP Idea 02 Experiencing travel within the home with Audible. Collecting various visual references into a moodboard representing the idea of how Audible can allow you to travel within the comfort of your home. With travel restrictions in place, there’s no better time to stay home with Audible and be the most travelled person in the room.


How can the stages of travel be portrayed? Planning ⮑ Booking ⮑ Experiencing ⮑Sharing


Mo o db o ard 02 Moo db o ard 03 He a t si gn a t ur e s A b s t ra c t line s G o o s eb ump s He ar tb e a t s


Rough sketch of the idea of the airplane window is used to reference “travelling” within a home.

WIP Idea 03 A campaign showing the emotional and physiological responses that audiobooks can produce. Feel more with Audible. Typographic posters with the words “Feel More” as the central concept. Expressing cognition & emotion in relation to audiobooks. Translating emotions into typographic patterns for posters.


Decided to go for Idea 02 where the central idea was about travelling. WIP Variations of Out-of-Home touchpoints where the airplane window is imposed onto the bus window to allude to how Audible can be used on public transport to “travel anywhere”. The bus stop poster shows a person looking out into a door with clouds approaching them, referring to a surreal and dreamy world that Audible has stories that take you anywhere, making you the most travelled person in the room.




Rough sketches






Liminal Space Travel is the crossing of borders, going from one place to the next. The idea of crossing a threshold reminded me of a liminal space. The word ‘liminal’ refers to the space beyond a boundary or threshold: an area of the unknown. A doorway is a liminal space where people move from one room to another. Doorways, thresholds and portals became the basis of The Faraway’s visual identity. The black silhouette represents the doorway into another world. Layering various shades and hues of blue to give the illustration a mystical atmosphere, and a mysterious castle in the distance with a dragon flying towards it for a fantastical touch.



Website and App Banners for the Audible website.


S t or yb o ard

Travel Anywhere Campaign

With the idea of a doorway as a liminal space, the campaign video brings the viewer through fantasy landscapes into different worlds. Telling people that even when stuck at home, Audible has stories that take you anywhere.



Social Media AR Filters Filters where authors can use to promote their audiobook and gain more impressions.


Billb o ard Ad

Yo ut ub e Ad


Self-Initiated Brief At the beginning of this self-initiated brief, I just wanted to try designing a typeface. The project concept meandered from power dynamics (due to current events—Myanmmar coup) to censorship. But along the way, after much struggle, I finally found my project thesis question of typographic legibility vs functionality.


Linguistic Rebellion Project 03 The project consists of a series of typographic visual experiments where it seeks to challenge the notion of functionality vs legibility.


Experimental Typography

Research When formulating my project basis, I first looked at current events. The Myannmar coup stood out to me. There were protests going on and it made me wonder about power dynamics.


Myanmar Myanmar has become a frequent user of internet shutdowns. Internet shutdowns are a common tool of repression used by governments to halt the flow of web-based communication and information. Since 2019, more than 36 countries have used internet shutdowns for a variety of reasons. Misinformation spread via text messages, much of it seemingly designed to suppress protesters from gathering. Since Feb 1, millions of people in Myanmar have participated in civil disobedience campaigns and protests on the streets and online. Although social media bans have remained in place, protesters have found ways to coordinate through encrypted messaging services and virtual private networks, known as VPNs.


Censorship Online press censorship is on the rise globally. Meaning that in a large number of countries, people are unable to access many independent blogs and news sites, denying them their right to free information. 2020 was a year with the record number of journalists jailed worldwide as governments cracked down on coverage of COVID-19 or tried to suppress reporting on political unrest. In its annual global survey, the Committee to Protect Journalists found at least 274 journalists in jail in relation to their work on December 1, 2020, exceeding the high of 272 in 2016. China, which arrested several journalists for their coverage of the pandemic, was the world’s worst jailer for the second year in a row.


Censorship in China The Chinese government has tolerated little criticism of its handling of the coronavirus outbreak, but internet users within the country have found a variety of innovative ways to beat online censorship. In March 2020, an article published by China’s popular Ren Wu magazine was scrubbed from China’s internet.


Hiding information through bar codes, qr codes, morse code, braille...etc

Censorship algorithms deployed by Chinese socialmedia operators are trained to flag sensitive images and text alike. A screenshot of a banned article typically doesn’t fool the algorithms. As a result, those looking to evade censors are forced to constantly innovate.


Creative ways that circumvent the censorship system Users repost versions of it on the social media platforms Weibo and WeChat, using Morse code, QR codes and ancient Chinese symbols. Some translated the article into foreign languages, including Korean, Japanese, English and German, while others peppered it with emojis, making the text harder for censorship programs to track down. “Bit-by-bit, young Chinese people - at least those in big cities - are trying to push the boundaries and create some sort of bottom-up social discussions. We want to participate in a way like never before,” said Ma Xin, an undergraduate university student in a southern Chinese city. Texting euphemistically on the heavily censored messaging app WeChat, she writes: “And of course that requires creativity for inventing new phrases and new words that are not yet on youknow-who’s lists.” Spelling english words wrongly China’s growing community of English-speaking users will pose an even greater challenge, as the country’s censors sometimes do not have the language skills necessary to spot and filter “provocative” terms. For China’s growing community of Englishspeaking users though, there is an even richer playing field, as the country’s censors sometimes do not have the language ability to spot and filter provocative terms.


Idea Create an experimental display typeface designed to bring awareness and take a stand against media & press censorship. Using typography to empower people through the form of a typography-led campaign.

According to Reporters Without Borders (NGO), we still live in a world where media organisations are censored and journalists are arrested by governments that want to limit freedom of the press.

#UncensorOurVoice Campaign A typographic initiative which takes a stand against the increasing restriction of press freedom and freedom of expression all over the world. A typography-led campaign that is intentionally illegible so it can bypass the ai system that can help the activist communities mitigate this issue of censorship. Empowering people by giving them access to information that can help them spark social change and unite as one.




Elements from QR codes, braille, morse code were incorporated into the typeface.



#UncensorOurVoice Website At the public can use this typeface to campaign for this cause. The public can also go to the website to enter a statement for press freedom, where they can download the image and share onto social media platforms Public can share their views using the typeface to protest against media censorship and support press freedom.


Mid-Crit The critique from the lecturers were that the typeface should explore more avenues and applications rather than just forcing it into a campaign that raises awareness for censorship.




Uncensor Display is an experimental approach to typography where it challenges the traditional understanding of a written language, where the paradox is: typography doesn’t have to be legible to be functional, while exploring the antithesis of self-censoring typeface.

What if typography doesn’t have to be legible to be functional? The typeface approaches different ways of encoding its typographic forms into ‘images’ where people are able to gain meaning from. Trying a more experimental approach to this project where I ask myself questions: Can a typeface rebel? Can it try to hide itself? Must it be legible? How far can illegibility be pushed but still maintain its functionality?


Exploring modularity where the typeface scrambles itself to hide the messatge. Each letter will break itself into shapes in an attempt to conceal the message.






Experimenting a way to encode a message using the typeface, where it looks similar to a QR code but with a message within. The message is “one thousand seventy one journalists” and each word will be split into 4 letters in a square. Eg. “Thousand” is split into 2 squares because it has 8 letters, and “One” has 3 letters and an extra square is used.


The QR code is part of our everyday landscape, we see it in stores, schools, public transport, restaurants..etc It can be hidden in plain sight. The idea was to add something that looks like it somehow belongs. This ‘QR code’ is able to make a statement about censorship and silently spread awareness of the issue.



A message can be encoded into 3D space where it forms into a 3D QR Code. Playing with spatial elements to conceal the message.


Experimented with degrading the visual quality of images by going through multiple rounds and layers of treatment and glitching, to recontexualise it and investigate whether the image can go through multiple levels of censors with the words not being destroyed.


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