Zine: Reflection

Visual Narrative


  • working by hand
  • not exact because there are no “guides”… unless you make them. By hand.
  • time constraints
  • printing with good registration

Learning Outcomes:

  • working by hand can be more enjoyable, but could take longer.
  • the look and feel is very different from computer generated designs.
  • Production by photocopying isn’t as simple or easy as it seems.

What would I improve:

  • I would add more pages.
  • be more consistent with the white marker…
  • Print on different paper; a more textured, rough, organic paper.
  • I might spend more time adjusting the text to a precise grid, even though I like the hand made look.



Pop-up Book: Reflection

Visual Narrative

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This book is about the 2014 Gaza-Israeli conflict that resulted in the death of approx. 2000 Palestinians, and a few dozen Israelis. Most illustrations are based on real photographs that were taken during the conflict, coupled with a poem written about 9/11 and the American Dream statement. The illustration style was inspired by the style of the original Handala drawing.

What I learned:

  • Pop-up techniques are not rocket-science, however, they take LOTS of time and practice to master without mistakes.
  • I enjoy Illustrating by hand even though it probably takes more time than computer-generated images.
  • It is difficult to assemble a pop-up book because of the nature of the pop-up tabs that are tucked behind the pages.
  • New areas of design, especially the production side of them, are helpful for future project executions. Errors discovered now can be avoided in the future.
  • Sometimes one can be too consumed by his/her own concept that they’d forget about other important elements of a successful pop-up book; such as interactivity.
  • Concepts are important for impact, but interactive design will be harder to forget.

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  • time-management is always a challenge.
  • assembling the books smoothly.
  • hand-written type; it sounds easier than printing but it isn’t and it’s more stressful.
  • making spreads look interesting but not overwhelming with too many visuals.
  • working only in black and white and balancing the amount of contrast on the page for better visuals.
  • pop-up techniques.


I think this was a great experience. I really enjoyed working by hand versus on the computer and I finally got to explore a difference illustration style. I think what I would love to do to further develop this specific project is to make a video of it with voice overs of the text being read, and maybe additional sounds for more impact.

Exhibition Invite: Final Prototype

Print II

As mentioned earlier, there are many uncertainties with the production of this print that I’ve designed. So, after this lovely gallery of images of my struggles, I’ll be focusing on the meaning and the intention behind it rather than on the execution.

The idea of having overlapping images of the paintings actually happened from a “happy accident” when I tried to print on a paper size that was too big for the laser printer. And the duplicate prints seemed appropriate for the concept.

I believe I haven’t written down the concept behind my invitation design, yet. So, here it is…

The idea is that the recipient would receive this Handala shaped ‘flyer’ in an envelope. First, they’d notice the reflective material, then the Handala itself, which ideally they would relate to. A connection has already been made, whether it’s them reflecting on Handala, or Handala reflecting on the war, there’s a starting point. Then, once the ‘flyer’ is opened, the recipient is introduced to the chaotic burst out of war within Handala. The war that Handala has witnessed as the ’10-year-old boy’. And in parallel with Handala’s story, him being this boy who gives everyone his back because no one is helping in the process of freeing Palestine, he is internalizing and absorbing this war, and since the war is still the same, Handala never ages. After seeing what’s inside, the recipient is left with two choices, either to put the accordion somewhere  where it could stand opened, or to close it and not look at the war and torture.

– reflective surface from sculpture, to see yourself in him, to reflect upon yourself and your actions.
– warzone on the inside of Handala, that he had seen over the years, taken from Azzawi’s paintings.
– never ageing, there’s no beginning or an end, just like the war is still an ongoing process.
– the choice of ignoring the war by closing the booklet, or the choice of reminding yourself of the suffering of others by displaying the booklet.


Finally, Mailing it!

This was a funny process simply because the lady who works at the Q-Post office looked at me like I was weird for sending a letter by mail from Doha… to Doha.
I totally understand her though, it doesn’t make sense, but I explained that it was a university project.



I think this project had a great learning process. Next time, I’d like to design something that I could produce with the confidence of potentially adding it to my portfolio collection. Although, the risk was worth it in the sense that I really did learn a lot about using different tools to fake certain processes.

Exhibition Invite: Art. Ideas. Procedures.

Print II

Dia Al-Azzawi’s work is unique in the way he explores, visualizes and portray’s the human condition during, or after, war. Learning that he himself fought in war made all of his sketches and paintings more powerful and personal, almost like memories. He didn’t only simplify the complex state in which a warrior, or victim, is in while at war for those of us who have not had the experience to understand. But he captured the little details, metaphors, chaos and anger, within those simple images.

“I am the cry, who will give voice to me?” Is the translation of the name of the exhibition. However, the Arabic name “Ana assarkha, ayya honjora ta’zifoni?” more precisely translates to:

“I am the scream, which throat is playing me?”

(the word ‘playing’ is meant as an instrument).

Since I am half Palestinian, I found that I could resonate more with the work he created about Palestine. Most importantly, the sculpture of Handala.

If you know the story behind the original Handala, then you would know that turning him around to show his face could be very intriguing. He intends to shock the viewer into questioning their role is freeing Palestine, which is reinforced by the reflective material that he used. I was wondering if the artist originally intended to have the viewers see the back of the sculpture, and have the option of walking around to see his face… This aspect of revealing what’s hidden captured my interest and I wanted my invitation to be about that.


Initial Ideas:

My very first idea was to have a card, half the size of a postcard, that is made out of a silver-reflective material, and have half the shape of Handala cut out of one side. I wanted to play with the idea that the recipient would have the choice of flipping the invite to see Handala’s face, but it was too difficult to come up with the way of doing that, since we have no control over how someone would hold or interact with the piece. Another issue with that would’ve been that we don’t actually know if that’s something that the artist wanted to do with the sculpture.

We were told to choose a painting, or a theme, and to make a unique invite that informs the recipient of both locations for the exhibition. I chose the theme of Palestine. Other ideas that came up as I discussed the first idea with my professor were about making a timeline of Handala’s life until he gets really old. We discussed adding the years that Azzawi included in his paintings, or adding the Palestinian Kufiyah. Eventually, we landed on the idea of making a Handala shaped accordion booklet, that is reflective from the outside, but filled with the chaotic war images on the inside.

Here are my first plotter/printer experiments:

So, I chose to only include paintings that are related to Palestine, for the theme. And after the first in-class critique of ideas, I decided to use the outline of the original Handala instead of Azzawi’s version. Why so?  Because people who would potentially be invited to this exhibition are not familiar with Azzawi’s Handala, they wouldn’t recognize it or be able to relate to it. So, in order to form a strong emotional connection with the recipient, I need to make something that they know or have seen before.

Further experiments:


Mailing system:
My professor showed me the Q-Post website where you can use a calculator to find out how much it would cost to send your package. It’s called: “Postage Price Calculator for Letter.” This helps if you wanna make sure that what you’re about to produce doesn’t cost a fortune to mail.

I would use the laser printer to print double-sided on thick paper. Then, use the plotter to cut the die-lines on the printed pieces, and on the reflective sheet for the two ends. But before it would cut out the silver ends, I’d use a pen, instead of a blade, with the plotter to ‘deboss’ the title of the exhibition in English and in Arabic.

– can’t insure that printing registration is 100% perfect.
– can’t insure that die-cut registration with regards to the printed image is on point.
– ‘deboss’ effect is hardly accurate.
– silver-reflective material would not be used in an ideal situation, instead a reflective foil would be applied to the paper by the print vendor.


Title Sequence—Reflection

Visual Narrative

The point of this project was to figure out how to tell a story through visuals, symbols, and motion. Another objective was to learn a different method of learning; to plan ahead and try as much as possible to stick to that plan.

I chose to make a title sequence for the movie “Inside Llewyn Davis,” partially because I love it, but also because it doesn’t have a title sequence.

Initially, I thought I would do animation, but after discussing it with my professors, I decided to do film.


Nature of title sequence:
– slow (like the movie)
– warm but has that unfriendly feel to it (how Llewyn is soft when he plays his songs, but is rude when he isn’t playing.
– dark (like the way Llewyn never sees the light, and is trapped in this loop of no successs.

Skills that were needed for my plan:
– detailed planning
– shooting videos
– directing the hand actor
– editing footage

Challenges that were faced:
– designing and preparing album covers before the day of shooting.
– fear of filming (because it’s not my strongest skill).
– car accident on day of shooting.
– one opportunity to shoot (since an actor was involved, and he is a professor).
– directing actor to do as planned in the storyboard.
– following the story board in terms of shot angles, actions, props and sound.
– editing scenes that weren’t well shot, or well acted out.
– staying within the specified time frame of one minute.

My shot angles changed either because I couldn’t physically set up the props or the camera in the initially planned manner. Or, because the shot I planned didn’t look as great on screen as it did when I imagined it.

Mistakes and Errors:
– vinyl record covers bound the wrong way around (right-left).
– Lots more that I won’t mention.

Learning outcomes:
– don’t use a medium you’re not comfortable with (unless you want that kind of a challenge).
– how to make album covers look more believable: use a gradient as a background fill instead of a solid fill.
– don’t expect high quality videos in dim light.
– ask for help when you need it.
– collaborate with a professor on a project.
– filming is so much harder that it seems, and takes so much practice and experience.
– post production isn’t magic, unless you’re an After Effects genius (which I’m not).
– Details matter (cat sound added at the beginning, or man clearing his throat), especially for hints about the movie and the characters.
– risk taking is not always rewarding.

Print Manual

Print I

Here I’ll explain what needs to be done to your file in order to make sure nothing goes wrong when sent to a print vendor…



  • Make sure you always work in RGB in all programs, until you are done with work and you’re about to save.
  • Make sure you convert all your files to CMYK before saving and sending it to the print vendor.
  • In Adobe Illustrator and InDesign, make sure that your color swatches ONLY have the swatches that you used in the project.
  • Name your color swatches with the CMYK code (e.g. C=30, M=50, Y=30, K=10).
  • If your project is Black-and-White, make sure you set your working space to grayscale instead of CMYK if that’s an option. If there’s no Grayscale option, then choose CMYK.
  • Always make sure that the Black your using is K=100. Not the “registration” black.
  • You CANNOT color with white. White is not a color. All white elements that overlap a colored element(s) needs to be knocked out.



  • When color editing photos in Photoshop, use Levels or Curves.
  • Do NOT change colored photos to B&W using anything other than the Desaturate option in Layer > Adjustments.
  • Once you’ve edited your desaturated photo, you can select Layer > Mode > Grayscale and make further adjustments in Levels if needed.
  • Use the pen tool for clipping paths or use alpha channels.
  • Always flatten layers before saving.
  • Save your Photoshop files as Tiffs!


Clipping Path:

  • Select the object you want to keep.
  • Inverse your selection.
  • Delete that part that you don’t need.
  • Inverse your selection again to select what you need.
  • Go to the “Paths” window and go to options > make work path (here you can set the pixel tolerance—1 px for most detail).
  • Again, go back to options > save path (here you name your path).
  • Back to options > Clipping path (here you set the “Flatness” to “8”).
  • Remember: White reveals, Black conceals.


Alpha Channel:

  • If you need you image to be B&W make sure to set it to Grayscale in Layer > Mode before you make your alpha channel.
  • Go to the “channels” window and then to options > New channel (here you name your channel).
  • You have to turn on the visibility of that new channel in order to work on it.
  • Select your brush tool and paint the areas you want to keep with “white.”
  • Once you’ve done that you can save your file as a Tiff.
  • When you open, or “place,” this file into InDesign, you have to have “show import options” selected (this is where you can choose your alpha channel.



  • NEVER use raster images inside Illustrator, unless you temporarily need to trace something, or so on.
  • Vectors need to be clean—no unnecessary overlapping objects, use pathfinder!
  • Save as Illustrator files.


Slug info.:

  • This will include your full name.
  • You email and phone number.
  • Color space (e.g. Grayscale K=100).
  • Typeface
  • All the raster and vector images.



  • Always work in layers.
  • Have a document bleed set to 5mm and a slug set to about 20mm (more or less).
  • Always NAME your layers (guides, info., raster, vector, text [outlined and live]).
  • Have an outlined version of all your text (have this layer’s visibility turned off).
  • Your information layer will have your notes that go in your slug (visibility turned off).
  • The Actual PPI (for raster links) needs to be 300.
  • The Effective PPI (for raster links) needs to be 300 (or between 290–310).
  • The images all need to be cropped and resized (back in Photoshop) to the exact size, and at the exact angle, that is needs to be at in InDesign. So, that it’s set to its original 100% size in InDesign (95–105%).
  • Do not use transparency or overlays (yet. unless you know how to).
  • When you’re done, make sure your workspace is set in CMYK (or Grayscale if needed).
  • Go to File > Package… (in the window you can go through your document information).
  • Click Package, then fill out the information sheet with you name, address, etc.
  • After that, simply choose the folder in which you wish to save your package and make sure that in the options below, it’s set to [High-quality print].


Done. Good luck next time!

Theme Cafe: Reflection

Form & Communication, Imaging II

Finally, we got to the end of this. Actually, it’s more like just the beginning of something… This project felt very rushed and it is very incomplete at this point. Maybe we can take it and develop it further someday but as it is now… I don’t think it’s satisfactory.

I liked the typography part of this project but I didn’t know what to do with it. A lot of times I would just try to think of what to do with my identity system—it’s simple, it’s black and white, it’s just a logo!?!

But I guess I could’ve worked more with the type that I put together for the menu.

I learned that:
-Good identity systems are very difficult to come up with and to apply consistently.
-writing up a list of objectives for the identity could help whilst designing.
-sometimes the logo can take over the system and lead it to something that you didn’t even consider before (can be good or bad).

Here are the final images:

Theme Cafe: Intro+Moodboards

Form & Communication, Imaging I

We had to come up with a concept for a theme cafe. I was leaning towards very abstract, intangible and vague ideas such as introspection/extrospection/day-dreams.

The first task was to make mood boards for some of our ideas. Here are mine:

I did some research about identity systems and brands for some inspiration…

We also looked in books that the professors brought into class for examples. We looked at logo design and learned that any images in logos shouldn’t be saying the same thing as the name of the company (e.g. name is Fox and icon is a fox).



Show & Tell: ten—Magazine Page

Typography II


A page in Alef Magazine

A page in Alef Magazine

I don’t really know what the purpose of this page is, but I liked how the type is treated like a long body text but then it just starts getting covered with all those colored circles!

It’s a playful page that’s for sure because obviously they don’t expect you to read all that text. Maybe it’s commenting on how long texts become boring after a while.

Show & Tell: nine—THIS

Typography II
"THIS" typeface

“THIS” typeface

I found this typeface design in a magazine and I think it’s pretty cool because it looks like the letters are sinking into some black liquid. That is because the serifs and all the thin horizontal lines disappear into the negative space. It looks like a very mysterious typeface that not everyone would like, but I do.