Ghosts from Projects Past: Visitations from Old Designs

You know you’re home when old projects haunt you like spirits.

While my work is primarily about the “intersections of science and art,” I do, from time to time, do design work for things I care a lot about. Here are two of them that have appeared on my radar, physically and online, almost as if to say, “Hi! Remember me? Look at me now!”

It’s as though they were orphans I raised and gave to caring homes.

So, here are the children I gave away:

1. A logo for the Philippine Taekwondo Association 

As my friends and colleagues know, taekwondo is something that’s really important to me, but not in a competitive way. I think it has helped me a lot personally and professionally. I wanted to give back, not through competing (which I assure you, does not suit me) but through something else—design. Around 2008, I reached out to my old teacher, Coach Jobet Morales, a former medalist and currently the Philippines’ national coach, who said that coincidentally, they needed a new logo. I already had something in mind, but I also met with Coach Morales and Grandmaster Sun Chong Hong who discussed what they needed. (I remember that day! It was lunchtime and I thought that being with these two black belts was the safest place in the world. We had Korean bibimbap.)

The logo they approved has the association’s initials, rendered in the colors of the Philippine flag. The blue letter has the profile of a bird, symbolic of the Philippine eagle. The red letter is a roundhouse kick, which was a compromise because I initially suggested a side kick (better suited with the T shape), though was told that roundhouse kicks were more frequent in taekwondo (actually, true). The yellow letter has a sun from the Philippine flag.

Now it’s 2012 and, training at the central taekwondo headquarters in Manila, I keep seeing it all the time. On certificates, belts, chest guards, banners, etc. It’s quite an honor, and I’m thrilled they’re still using it.

2. A poster for Carlos Celdran’s Intramuros tour

My friend Carlos, who does these awesome tours in Manila, tagged me on this photo emailed to him by some European tourists and newlyweds. The poster on the right was my first graphic design poster, which Carlos gives away on his tours. I did this around the same time as the taekwondo project, and both remain among the graphic design projects closest to my heart. What he has done for the Philippines is fantastic, and while his tours are primarily performance art, it has contributed to the discourse of critical issues in the country.

(To the people in this photo, shoot me an email if you’d like to be identified. And thank you so much! You made my day. Oh, and congrats!)

A Disclaimer

I did these projects without any graphic design education at the time. The only things I had experience in were molecular biology and journalism. I was just a girl with a curiosity for Adobe Illustrator and a thing about “making the world a better place.” Years have passed and I’m done with an art residency and an MFA in Interaction Design, and looking at back at these projects made me both smile at the exuberance of youth and cringe at some tiny mistakes. (The kerning! Rats. I need to fix that.) But my friends / clients still seem happy about them, so I suppose that’s what counts. That brief time I was in Manila, I just loved their work and what they’ve done for me, and I thought that this was the best way to help them out. I may never be in the Olympics or Games of any sort, but at least my logo will! And helping cultural gems like Carlos’s work is something that’s always rewarding to do.

I have a cold. And this is probably why I’m sentimental.

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