Pixel Cubes

Posted by: on May 30, 2011 in


With being a double-major, in both Graphic Design and Film/Animation/Video, I am constantly working with the computer as a medium. For this project, I wanted to take something from the screen and make it more three-dimensional.

I decided to focus on the idea of a pixel and attempted to realize/interpret it in a 3D way. My first problem was creating what a 3D pixel would look like. Since a cube is the 3D version of a square, it seemed fit to make cubes. Also, pixels can have different color values, all made up of different RGB or CMYK percentages. This is what sparked the first step of my system!

I decided to make a set of 20 cubes, all with a designated percentage labeled on them. The cubes increase by 5% intervals, ranging from 5% to 100%. The top and bottoms of the cubes are white with the % labeled, while each of the other four sides are Cyan, Magenta, Yellow or Black. The amount of CMYK on each side of each square are determined by the percentage of the cube. For example, the 5% cube has 5% of Cyan on one side, 5% Magenta on another, and so on.

I realized that the 20 cubes I made create a 4×5 grid which can be thought of as a unit. If I mae different patterns within every unit and then combined them, I could created larger images or patterns. I also realized that if I were to re-photograph the same unit over and over with different color patterns, I could create a moving image. This led me to creating a short stop-motion video, animating movement and patterns using my 3d pixels. I later took every still photograph from this animation and tiled them together to create a large poster that would show a pattern of the movements I was creating.

What I did not realize through my process is that while I was searching for my system this whole time, I had actually already created it in the very early stages of this assignment. My system was this box set of 20 cubes and my project became how I could utilize this system differently and have endless amount of outcomes from it – be it a still or moving image.

This relates directly to one of the most important things I’ve learned through this class. A system does not have to be evident or overly complicated to work. They also do not need to dictate the work. What systems can do are hold pieces together and make them stronger. It can make multiple spreads feels apart of the same book or instruct you how you’re supposed and read something. Sometimes it can make the form, like it did with my Occupational Outlook book, or sometimes it can lead you to something completely different, like it did with this assignment.

Namu – Generative System

Posted by: on May 29, 2011 in

My system involved cutting the corners off of random scraps and papers I came across throughout the week. At the end of my collecting, I ordered them all by size. Then I would same the first four on the top of the pile, arrange them into a diamond and tape them down. I took the next four and did the same, deciding them that one of the triangles of the new diamond unite would always overlap one from the previous. Doing this until I ran out of triangles, I came out with this very textured and colorful spiralesque form.

final system + essay

Posted by: on May 27, 2011 in


For my system, I decided to make a cookbook. A cookbook, that is something more than just the average cookbook. In the end, it became a book of recipes that my mother makes, and the significance of those foods to me. I made it into a binder format because I wanted to be able to add more recipes as time went on, and as more stories and foods become important to me through my mother.

Everything is in Korean and in English, Korean in white and English in black. Every food starts off with a spread with a photograph of the dish, and a little anecdote that relates to the food. The page layouts have a grid that I stick to, certain steps that require more information are outdented and  have a little illustration next to it. I wanted to create a friendly, homey, asian vibe to the book, so I played up the wooden floor texture and the simple illustrations. The binder also allows for some space next to the pages when fully open, so I made a little notepad that sits on the right so that you could write down little notes, thoughts or ingredients while you read the cookbook.

After the crit we had last week, I did some revisions. I rescanned the illustrations and played around with using white as a pictorial element. And I pushed the notepad idea.

Through this class during spring semester, I think that I am starting to understand slowly what a system is and how it can strengthen a design if used wisely and with a lot of thought. I don’t think I have ever used the word, “system” to describe anything in my work before, after this class, I can’t seem to stop saying that word to basically describe everything. It’s amazing how systems seem to be everywhere!

Eight Immortals

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Packaging has always been interesting for me, and with a project about systems, what’s better than creating a system of packaging for a set of items? Also, with my latest work during the semester heavily influenced by Japan because of my wintersession Japan class, I decided to something related to my own culture.

The Eight Immortals are characters from Chinese Mythology during the time when Daoism was popular. They represented the whole of society and their tales showed that no matter who you are, you could attain immortality, whether you were old or young, female or male, rich or poor. Each character had their own item that symbolized them and gave them supernatural powers from reviving the dead to dispelling evil spirits. The eight items are a flute, gourd, sword, fan, lotus, flower basket, drum and castanets.

Originally, tea was the chosen product for the Eight immortals because of the health aspect, however after careful research, alcohol was more suitable, as it had appeared in most of the tales and the play of word, immortality. Because this product is Chinese liquor import made for the American audience, the design emphasized the exotic Chinese style, but still fused both the old and modern.

The illustrations were to imitate the long tradition of Chinese cut paper and the watercolor illustration of the item on each bottle was to imitate the Chinese style of painting. To allow the viewer to see which of the Eight Immortals on the front corresponded to the item, they were always centered and had their item highlighted in color. Although these characters are from mythology, the text was to give a modern feel and look to give a fresh appeal to the liquor for the American market. English names named after what they represented were also used to help Americans remember and differentiate the bottles as well as hint to the tales of each character.

The system made the work cohesive but still showed enough differences to help differentiate the bottles. Throughout the semester, I have gradually changed my views on systems, as I thought they were only set rules that did not allow much. However, I realized, especially with the final project, that there are many aspects where a system can generate something new and interesting. Without careful analysis of the bottles, I wouldn’t have known that there are possibilities of different systems that can be made besides the usual label on bottles. I was able to discover “edges” of the bottle and the use of dimensions and water distortion.


collected book

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for my collected book, I gathered all the envelopes that had windows and #652 which is my mailbox number.

Then I cropped magazines in a way that color blocks would show up on the windows.

I alternated magazine pages and envelops through out the book, and it also had an introduction and the index like part at the end.


final project

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I really like the interaction between art and design, so I’ve always wanted to do graphic design for various fields of art. I think when they meet together, they create an interesting synergy effect. So, for this final project, I wanted to create a visual system for a festival that happens annually during summers, in Seoul, Korea. This festival I chose among many other festivals, had interesting programs and presented many different type of performing arts. Also, this festival was open to every artist no matter they are famous or not, so many underground artists participate in this festival. As I researched more about this festival, I found out that the ticket prices are really cheap, schedules are tight, and the locations are very scattered. The concept of festival was interesting enough and they had full of contents, but I couldn’t really find a consistent visual element to tie them all together as a festival. So, I spent much time thinking about the possible systems and concepts, and the poster was the main part of it.

I wanted to make re-usable posters that they can keep using throughout the event, so I decided to use cut out windows in my posters so they can print photos and titles of performances without designing anything and easily put them into the poster. Also, for the visual element, I created patterns for each categories of performance inspired by rain since the festival is happening in summer. Each cut out window shape is a module for different rain patterns, and people can recognize from far, what type of performance is happening at the location.

I spent too much time thinking about the system, and creating a visual system that ties all different events together was kind of more work than I thought. So I didn’t have enough time for  making catalogs that I planned, but I really enjoyed designing posters, and since I’ve been working on books and small stuffs whole year, this was challenging and fun at the same time.

Last fall semester, the classes I took such as, collage and color, required more instinctive decision on visuals. So I worked mostly with my instinct and inspirations until this semester, and had never set up systems before. Sometimes this class was not easy for me because I was not used to set up systems, but this class helped me to think more logically, and I really liked unexpected results that come out of the systems. I think, by creating visual system, people can understand and enjoy my design more and better.

generative system

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I did my one week assignment again, so it is different from what I had in class.

I cut small squares out of random 6 consecutive pages from a book and made into a cube (1″x1″). Then, I started to use it like a dice to analyze this book.

For each page, I threw the dice, and crossed off the words that appear on the face of dice.

Some of the pages got more words crossed off than the others, and some of them got less.

Surprisingly, many of pages got thirty to forty percent of words crossed off.

Once I get done with every page, I am thinking to reorder the book from pages that had less words crossed off to more words crossed off , which means more unique pages to banal pages.



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Generative System

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Final System

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For my system, I decided to find a different solution for a music score. Instead of having the regular music scores where it only means black and white circles to some people, I wanted to create something more beautiful and visually gratifying for anyone to enjoy and experience the emotional and visceral part of music.

I assigned different colors, sizes, opacity of circles, to different parts of instruments. The circles were arranged according to the grid i created which each “block” was made according to the 16th notes (having 16 of them per major). The bigger the circle, the longer the note. Also the more opaque or intense the color is, the more prominent or close to the leading melody the part is. There is a key on the beginning of the score that indicates different instruments, and there is the guideline for octaves and what kind of notes the instruments are playing towards the end of the the page.

After the crit we had last week, I did some revisions. I worked more on the score and made it so that it can become a cd case. I am planning to push this idea and create an actual motion music score on after effects that shows the growth of circles according to the time. (ex: the size of the circle means how important or loud the part is where as the more it is shown on the screen shows the length of the note. This motion movie will be burned in the cd along with the song to be packaged with the music score.

This class really helped me to think differently when I approach projects. I have learned to find or create a system with materials that may seem out of order, different, chaotic, or not relevant to each other. Either from discovering a system by taking a picture in certain way or by structuring a book so that the content looks coherent, I have learned to enjoy and appreciate visual system.



Vertical Lines

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After going around providence within a certain time limit, I took interesting photos of something vertical on the left. The book was then cut in half so that you can match it with other photos in the book, creating new compositions each time. There is also the option of viewing the entire photo as well, as long as both the top and bottom have the same number of pages flipped.


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This book had two major parts. The first being full bleed images, while the second were images from print magazine. Each part was separated into two parts with text in the beginning before the section of images. Each section was separated by an image of a watch.


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The inspiration for my final project came out of a collection of wedding magazines that I have been slowly piling in my bedroom over the years. What caught my attention where very dim color pallets and the fine detail that is shown. Within that detail, I began to notice pattern. To me, a pattern is a system. From there I began to notice textures and repetition, all in which i kept stumbling upon in my wedding magazines. Right there, I knew I wanted to work from with paper.

Working with paper seemed like a great idea. I wanted to be able to show pattern and system both through my work in a two-dimensional plane as well as a more tangible experience for the viewer and myself. I began playing with paper, experimenting with paper, I was trying to see what worked and what didn’t. I thought back to how it was that I came to the conclusion that this is what I wanted to do and it suddenly became clear to me. My mind tends to wonder off when flipping through a book. ANY book. I wanted to incorporate that.

Personally, the Canterbury Tales is a long and tedious book to get through. Almost impossible. It seemed like the perfect book to add to the project.

Somewhere in my mind I knew I followed a system. I do so in my routines. It only makes sense that the work we produce follows a kind of system aswel and although I have always done so, this class has really help me visualize this and make more sense out routines within my work.


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With no instructions and no defined path the mind tends to take over. During this project we were not given any true instructions. I was able to realize that my own mind was working at creating patters and systems in every attempt at any work I created.


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This was a very different experience from the left pointed shots. In this exercise I was forced to pay attention and look for specific objects. Objects one normally does not notice on a regular walk.

Left pointed

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During a 15 minute of left handed pointed photographs, the experienced is much appreciated afterwards. This allowed me to take a closer look at things in which I dont normally pay attention to as i walk and especially at that height.

Occupational Handbook

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Assigned the letter C, we had to create a system in which the occupational handbook was much easily conveyed. The introduction to every new career consisted of a flap that had the main key points on the left and similar jobs on the right. As you continued through the pages, the logo repeated itself in the top left and an image of the career was displayed on the top right. Following was the description of the career path.

Collected Book

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Using a large amount of old magazines, I was able to put together a book of other collected books.

Using a system I made this uniform. The book was organized by color and typefaces. Full body figure was never fully shown and the book consisted of very geometric text boxes.


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Creating patters was a somewhat meditative exercise. It allowed our creativity  to take control of what was being made without any restrictions.

I began by playing around with circles and adding more linear geometric shapes to the mix. By doing so, I unconsiously created even more circles. This was an exciting surprise during the time of process because it allowed me to create more options when color was later added.

Final Project and Essay / Philippe

Posted by: on May 26, 2011 in


My final book process is generated from my system of choice, where I created a puzzle from a pattern. The idea there, was that from a pattern / puzzle people get lost inside, and find more interesting things. So the aspect of recreating, reorganizing, or taking that aspect, and making it yours. So for this final, I took a step further in the meaning behind a texture or a pattern. I realized that certain textures and patterns relate more to certain people. Reason being is that it reflects their personality and character, so I created a system that compared and corresponded patterns with people attributes. I choose to do my closest friends because then they wouldn’t be afraid to tell their flaws as well as their good characteristics. Not only that, but I also want this to be somewhat of a personal project and I also believe that it wouldn’t have worked as well.

With the help of the computer program Alchemy I asked people to create a pattern for me. It was very important that I collected their very first pattern because that was the one that just came out of their body through their arm and onto the computer. Afterwards I asked them how that pattern related to them in terms of characteristics, personality traits, feelings, etc… I was surprised by the outcomes. Some of the patterns were quite similar, yet they had a completely different meaning to them, and vise versa.  It just showed that everyone is different and unique in their way. No one is the same. Now I have this group of patterns that correlates with my friends, and this group shows how everyone has a part to play, and it comes together to form a family.