Sunday, June 28, 2009


In my Independent Study Project (ISP) course with Kelly Murphy, I worked on a number of educational illustration/design projects, one of which was initially going to be a supplementary reading booklet targeted for ESL students. I started learning English as foreign language in middle school in Korea, and when I moved to the Stated, I was in ESL courses until 9th grade, so designing a textbook/study guide for that particular use had personal significance.

As the semester progressed, however, I became more interested in designing a foreign language textbook, whose audience was in my age range now, rather than in their teens. I had been taking Japanese language courses at Brown Univ. for 3 years, and remembered the textbook for the beginning level students titled "Moshi-Moshi," written by Prof. Yamashita, Head of East Asian Studies at Brown.

Although the content of the book was full of interesting topics and informative linguistic instructions, it was clearly designed and published with cost-efficiency in mind, but with little consideration for readability and effective visual hierarchy. Therefore, I thought it would be fun to redesign our beloved first-year textbook as an art student's way of saying thank you (or "お礼を言う")

I took take a chapter from Mosh-Moshi, and tried to create a more visually pleasing system of organizing its content, which had many layers. Here in a close up of the beginning of a new section, you see varying type treatment, use of color, and drawing elements such as dotted lines that indicate the multiple steps of the hierarchy.

Another part of the redesigned chapter that describes a grammar point.

I've also found an opportunity to include handwriting in the Narrative Passages Section, which contained a journal entry. It was Kelly Murphy that suggested this, and I'm quite happy with the variety that the look the handwriting brings to the overall design.

Of course, this project was an illustration project, so I added a few spot illustrations in appropiate places to enhance the content. Also, if this project were to become a real undertaking, where I would have to design over 12 chapters' worth of material, it would enable me to deal with inevitable page breaks and awkward white spaces more easily.