Words of Wisdom Project


In creating this design, I did some research online. In the course of my research, I came across interesting captions on my Pinterest board, which merged the concept of food and human emotion together. After searching for a cut-out of a honey jar with no luck, I opted to draw my own design, by hand. Following this, I hand-painted the design using watercolours yellow, gold, pink, red, and blue. Parts of my design involved mixing the colours – for uniformity across the entire design, but also to enhance the feeling of a piece of illustration.

I decided that the type would be in English language, with the words fashioned to resemble honey dripping. The design was created across a spread, with English language on both sides of the spread, but the Arabic version of the proverb on only one side. The incorporation of the Arabic version was a later addition, as requested by my professor. Left to me, the text would have been solely in English, for two reasons – English is the common language of understanding amongst the non-Arabic-speaking members of my audience; secondly, I wanted to create and heighten a sense of intrigue in my Arabic-speaking audience.

Initially, I wrote out the Arabic text by hand, however this did not work for the design – it was largely illegible and when printed, even more opaque and difficult to read. For this reason, I decided to create the Arabic text using digital type – when printed, the text read clearly and strongly, intensifying the meaning of the proverb. To complement this imagery, I also included digital squiggle lines on either side of both honey pots – signifying beehive activity.

Photoshop was used to convert the image from coloured to greyscale, and then inverted the image, so that the background was black, and the drawings, illustrations and text were white. This decision proved to be insightful; one that my professor particularly liked. Downplaying the colours took the viewer’s attention away from the brightly coloured honey pot, and put the focus on the words, and therefore the meaning of the proverb.

I printed the design directly onto hot pink coloured paper, which served to turn everything from white on black to hot pink on black. Considering the focus of the proverb, and the use of a female protagonist, I felt the hot pink lent additional emphasis to the feminine direction of the design. That said, the final design was printed on paper the colour of shimmery metallic gold – attention-grabbing, reminiscent of candy wrapping paper and evocative of the colour of honey (both sweet items).

Finally, the cover of the book was designed by my professors, and issued to us for use in the form of a digital file. Rather than go with the conventional option of printing on white paper, I decided to print the cover on light pink – this helped me individualise the cover page, as I was able to express my unique interpretation of the cover page. The book is now in my possession. Seeing the different spreads, and comparing mine vs. those of my colleagues, is quite nostalgic, as it brings memories of discussions with members of my family or friends, who have mentioned one or more of the proverbs included in the book.


Zine Project


The target persona of my doodle art fashion zine would be the one most attracted to heels. Such a persona is typically a young female, who is fashion-conscious and has an affinity for high class footwear, specifically heels. My persona would be aged around 15 – 30 years old, and either of working age, or studying in school. She would have large amounts of disposable income (earned through working, or via wealthy family relatives e.g. Father, Husband) and be able to afford luxury items such as Louboutin heels. Such a persona would be a passionate observer of fashion trends, read Vogue magazine as a daily staple, and frequent places such as the London Fashion Week and Paris Fashion Week. Such a persona would see a pair of shoes as more than just comfortable objects of apparel. She would associate heels with beauty, elegance, luxury and sensuousness, and feel empowered each time she puts on a pair of heels.


Following the project brief for the zine, I was inspired by the designs of Hattie Stewart, and felt that creating a collage of images of heels sourced from a magazine and doodling on it would be the best design for my zine. Thereupon, I searched the free periodicals in the school library for fashion and art magazines in order to look for specific images of heels and fashion icons to cut out. I also combed through my collection of Vogue magazines at home. Somehow none of the images appealed to me – each lacked the particular style I sought, and was devoid of the essence of empowerment and confidence associated with heels. This is important, as it is a critical message I wanted to convey to my persona.

However, I was able to find images of well-known celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe and other models within the magazines, as well as keywords such as ‘money’, ‘for rich’, ‘where there is gold there is a gold digger’, ‘victory and freedom’, ‘endless’, and ‘our bodies’. The use of keywords was very strong and worked especially well to amplify the collage feel of the zine – I cut them out of selected magazines and pasted them randomly across the spreads. This made the process even more fun for me, as I was designing something I thoroughly enjoy. It’s always fun to put things together and see the result.

It took me several trials and experiments to arrive at the final outcome. It wasn’t easy! Not at all! Of particular challenge was the need to do everything by hand, which I as a designer am not used to. To help me surmount this challenge, I went to the school library at VCUQ and searched for books on heels, to see the kinds of drawings and illustrations contained, and use them for my zine. Success came, when I stumbled upon a book called “Footprint: the track of shoes in fashion” that contained a wealth of attention-grabbing drawings of different heels and designer brands, including some of my personal favorites! I was able to use the illustrations, by first scanning, and then cutting and pasting them into the zine, as well as some paragraphs from the same book.

In my first attempt at developing the zine, I opted to use papers colored black, pink and grey. In arranging them, I laid the papers within each other – black on the outside, pink in the middle, and grey on the inside. Following this, I stuck to them the cut-outs I had selected from the magazines and book. It all went awry during the scanning and printing process. What had shone as a hot pink on paper turned to cool pink and lost its vibrant color, when scanned and printed. The black became a dull, lifeless grey upon being scanned. This was no good!

I decided to try something different – to draw the same heels in black on white paper as well as write in the text from the book. This gave my design a silhouette, and ensured that my zine looked true to form when I scanned the white paper and printed directly onto colored paper. Seeing the design printed onto colored paper made me feel much happier about my work, and it aroused people’s curiosity, to touch/feel the paper and ask about the design process. With regards to the writing, my previous experience and a certain book, sourced from the school library, were instrumental to my achievement. Since I learned to write in cursive for 5 years, I am quite good at it. In addition, the book I found had a variety of hand and digital writings that helped me visualise layout, size as well as the composition of the writing.

Though I made a lot of mistakes, I really enjoyed and learned a lot from the process of designing this zine. For the final piece, I chose to use peach-coloured paper for the zine’s cover (in place of the black), tracing paper and white layout paper. This arrangement was laid out as per the earlier approach, with the peach paper on the outside, tracing paper in the middle, and white layout paper on the inside.

I maintained the collage along with the doodling on the white layout paper, and printed that in a double-sided spread, with a collage on both sides. To help with printing, I made the decision to alternate the zines on each page e.g. cutting zine 1 into 2, and laying 1 part of it on page 1 and the other on page 2. Having created this order, I stuck the zines onto an A4 paper, to mirror their printing order. For the cross-overs in the zine, I opted to use a different paper for each side e.g. one side of the cross-over is printed on peach-colored paper and the other side on tracing paper. Using tracing paper was a strategic decision, as it amplified the colors of the collage on the white layout paper.

This project was quite engaging; so much so, I completed it a week before the deadline. I was just so passionate about it that I couldn’t stop working on it and wanting to get it done.



Across a number of spreads in this pop-up book, I documented a memorable event from my childhood – that of the destruction of US Twin Towers on Sept 11, 2001. Although a young child, I recall the moment I learned of the tragedy, as I sat at home watching cartoon TV. That day, the news streamed constantly and clearly. Although I was on the other side of the world in Doha, I saw the victims, witnesses and survivors. I saw the mayhem and chaos that ensued. And I learnt new words from this experience, including “terrorism”, a word which has become synonymous with Muslims from the Middle East, but does not define us.

The Process

In the process of creating my pop-up book, I found it helpful to commence with a storyboard. My objective was to depict duality – me in Doha vs. the scenes ongoing in New York. The idea was to deepen the contrast between the same time period across Doha and New York.

After laser-cutting images of the Twin Towers in New York, and key landmarks in Doha (Tornado Tower, Sheraton, etc.), I added them to my spreads. However, it did not work – it did not ‘pop’. In addition, I had painted the spread and cut-outs with watercolor, against which the paper (white Bristol) was defenseless. It melted. Following consultation with my professors, I took the advice to create a continuous skyline depicting the landmarks as above. This helped the illustration to ‘pop’. I decided against using watercolor, and opted to use black card stock. For some scenes, I drew on white Bristol with black ink, and glued this to the black card stock. On others, I created a contrast by drawing with white ink directly on the black card stock, and shading with the white. After creating the pop-up, I discovered a concern: the black stock material was too thick to enable proper folding and closure of the pop-up book. This presented difficulties with successfully gluing connecting spreads together.

To kick-start my designing journey, I undertook online research, including watching YouTube tutorials, and reading recommended sources via the school’s library. I have learnt much about the technical aspects of creating a storybook – some of which I can transfer to my other design projects. For example, this was my first experience of shading with white.

I debated the idea of using handwritten illustration vs. typeface, but opted to use typeface, as I believe this is aligned with the work of a graphical designer. I chose the typeface Orator – for its simplicity and somberness, in light with the sober nature of the events described in the pop-up book. I printed the text on white Bristol and stuck it in the pop-up book.

For me, it was instrumental that the topic was one of my choosing. This allowed me the opportunity to reflect my personal identity and style. It was also my first attempt at hand-drawn, rather than printed, illustrations. I believe this was beneficial for both myself as a designer, and for my audience. It afforded me the opportunity to stretch my skills and be really creative, and focus on the little details needed to animate the story. For my audience, I believe it is these details that lend meaning and emotion to the visual message. Having completed the project, I feel very proud and very protective of my pop-up book! It holds both personal meaning, as it is a memory from my childhood, as well as validation of my professional development as a graphic designer. To see my colleagues and professors engage emotionally with the pop-up book is for me the yardstick of accomplishment.



Final gallery invite


In performing this creative process, I thought hard about designing a promotional piece that would not only encapsulate Dia Azzawi’s emotions and persona, but one that would also engage the receiver of the invite, and leave a lasting impression.

For this reason, I opted to use paper composed of the neutral colours black and white, with contrasting font in English and Arabic. Rather than printing mini-sized images of Azzawi’s work and including these in the invitation, I decided to try a new concept – of creating a flow collage of bits and pieces from several of Azzawi’s works, and a new technique – etching my design onto the paper, rather than printing it. I felt that the typical receiver (and eventual audience) would have the opportunity to view the drawings live at the gallery, and to maintain the suspense until said event, I deliberately chose not to include mini-sized images of Azzawi’s work.

The decision to etch rather than print also enhanced the texture and feel of the paper – etching the designs imbued them with a rough texture, giving them the semblance of having been engraved. I chose this approach to enhance the receiver’s experience of the invitation.

As well as creating an expectation of his creative works, I wanted the receiver to identify with Azzawi on a personal level. Thus, I decided to laser-cut the front cover, mimicking the physical structure of a jail door. I also opted to fashion a seal, formed of a pair of chained hands, which the receiver would have to ‘break free’ in order to read the invitation. With this, the receiver would be engaged in Azzawi’s creative journey, from the receipt of the invitation to attendance at the gallery and beyond.

In addition to the creative process, I learned new techniques – of folding paper and etching designs onto print material. I also gained insight into ways in which people can interact with design material, for example, by providing the receiver with a white pen on which to draw, take notes, or record musings, on the black folded paper enclosed.

In summary, this process was both thoroughly enjoyable and insightful for me.

Final photographs

Dia Azzawi’s exhibition invite

“I am the cry, who will give voice to me?”

Designing a promotional printed piece that reflects on DIA AZZAWI’s retrospective exhibitions currently displayed at Al Riwaq gallery and Mathaf. The printed piece will work as a mailer / hand-out piece to inform the public about the exhibitions and encourage people to visit.

I visited both exhibitions a couple of times in order to choose specific paintings/drawings, which I thought were interesting. Here are some of the drawings (not edited).

The Great Gatsby (title sequence)

I decided to take the option to shoot my own video, with attendant considerations for lighting and sound. I love creating and editing my own work from scratch, rather than working off already established images.

Storyboarding was difficult. At first, I opted to implement my title sequence non-digitally e.g. highlighting the actor’s names against a torchlit backdrop (rather mechanical, as I was holding the torch!). This is one of many reasons why I revised my storyboard, as it didn’t work. In addition, I needed to cast a green light, and figured out I would need electricity to do so, which I didn’t have. The flow of the scenes was also difficult to achieve, as they were shot at different times – the green light scene at night, the man with the cigar at day. It felt more like a movie than a title sequence.

I had to think of all the elements that accompany a title sequence. I opted to change the storyboard, basing my title sequence instead on a single location – an indoor closed room with soft lighting and off-white curtains. In this sense, using the storyboard as a precursor to shooting the title sequence was very instructive – it helped me understand what elements of the scene were workable, and which would not work, for various reasons e.g. the lack of electricity to properly simulate the green light.

Although my first storyboard was not successful, I had a great learning out of it. For example, whilst reflecting on the practicality of the initial storyboard, one of the ideas that occurred to me was to use a color scheme that helped to establish both the tone of the project and the flow of the title sequence.

I also learned to reflect on what props and tools I needed for the title sequence, prior to execution. Once I got the storyboard right, I knew what I was going to do, and this helped save me time. Rather than trial-and-error based on shooting 200 videos, I was able to focus closely on the elements I needed to bring the storyboard alive – based on the location I had chosen.

Post shooting, I began to arrange the video. I decided to allot three frames to the display of each actor’s name, with the actor’s name appearing in and fading out of the second frame of each set of three. I decided to use the song “Young and Beautiful” by Lana del Ray, as I felt that this captured not only the essence of the film, but the dynamic between the 2 main characters – Daisy and Gatsby.

For me, this was a great experience! It gave me the chance to create and direct a project based on a film of my own choosing. This project also gave me a chance to experience the diverse styles and approaches of my classmates.

Package & Print

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Front side

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Back side

Last step ( add contact information )

  • before printing – file – package
  • no yellow signs
  • no RGB
  • color & inks: only one color ( black )
  • save it

Printing instructions

  • Page position: centered
  • Marks and bleeds: all checked


  • Report
  • Screenshot package folder interior ( Shift + Cmd + 4 )
  • Mock-up double sided ( final cards )
  • Mark-up print 2 ( with marks )

Adobe Photoshop & InDesign

On Adobe Ps

  • File – open – picture
  • CMD + Shift + U
  • Image – Adjust – Hue Saturation
  • For contrast: Adjust only levels (move the arrows) and curves (to lighten & darken certain areas)
  • Tools – channels
  • Get rid of swatches
  • Image size = 220 mm, Resolution = 300
  • Image – mode – greyscale
  • Save once (1 layer) raw file
  • File – save as – TIFF
  • Extension turned on
  • Image compression – None
  • Select save image pyramid
  • Choose Macintosh
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While saving as tiff.

To get rid of the background on Adobe PS:

Paths – At the bottom; make work path from selection

  • Save path
  • Clipping path (8); after selecting
  • White reveals
  • Black conceals
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Using quick selection tool.

On Adobe Id

Place – check show import options

Select the object ( image ) – check links ( color scale, size, actual ppi )

  • Go to color – change to CMYK
  • SLICE logo ( 2-3 centimeters )
  • Insert TIFF ( Raster image )
  • Insert Vector ( Ai )

Slug ( contact information )

  • Drop text box
  • Object – text frame options – divide into 3
  • Left: Name – Email – Mobile phone
  • Middle: color space – typeface – size/leading
  • Right: Raster (.tiff) – Vector (.ai)
  • All on master page

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Live type & Outline type

  1. Select live type
  2. Copy
  3. Shift + Alt + Cmd + V ( paste in place )
  4. Turn off one ( layers )
  5. Change to outline ( Shift + Cmd + O )
  6. Turn off outline type
  7. Turn on live type
  • Raster – flattened
  • Lock all layers before printing

Insert manual 001

Introduction to Greyscale

  • On a screen – Work on RGB
  • Print – change to CMYK color mode

This project had many limits and rules, we had to choose our own topic while paying attention to the requirements. We started by adjusting Adobe programs preferences, in order to start working on other stuff, such as inserting the raster image and vector. Learning the importance of having the correct settings before printing.

We started with illustrator, keyboard shortcuts; saving files ( alt+F )

Adobe illustrator

  • Using only black: cool blacks (blue) & warm blacks (red-brown)
  • Proper setup before printing – CMYK – Greyscale
  • Object – compound path – release (ungroup)
  • Starting with illustrator (logo)
  • Label layers; not by numbers but by names

Adobe InDesign: New Document Settings

  • Number of pages: 2
  • Starting on page: 1
  • Page size: A5
  • Gutter: 5, Margins: 15, Bleed: .25 inch (5mm)
  • Slug: 15 depending on the amount of (contact) information provided
  • Checking links: Actual ppi & Effective ppi = 300
  • File – Place ( cmd+d )

General – preferences

Print – Best for enlargement

Web – Best for reduction, Units and rules: pixels