Angel Island and Its Ghosts

  • DESIGN BRIEF: Present a place (not in a travel-brochure kind of way), and create a pdf designed to be displayed on the iPad. It should be experimental in its design approach, and focus on typography.
    I took a historical approach to Angel Island, and my aesthetic approach was a mix of historical, ghostly, as well as slightly bureaucratic or oppresive, as a reference to past persecution of Native Americans and the Immigration Station on Angel Island.
    To emphasize the ghostly I used a paragraph treatment that alternated left and right alignment, giving the layout a sense of movement and unease, I used faded and tracked out miniscule type as decoration on pages, and I abstracted the photographs by layering blurred photographs over crisp photographs. I chose a traditional serif typeface, Stempel Schneidler, for the body text and Mrs. Eaves Italic for headlines and miniscule type. For the bureaucratic feel, I added censored paragraph blocks bleeding off the pages for decoration, put in a structured navigational element that echoed file-keeping visuals, and used the official-looking Trade Gothic for typographic contrast.

    I chose a palette of grays, whites, and olive greens to reflect the history, nature, and the foggy weather of San Francisco Bay. I put in a grungy background on some pages to make it feel old and historical, and reference the natural environment.

    In addition to the hyperlinks on the table of contents and the reference page, I included some interactive elements such as an embedded sound file that played a recording of a poem read in Chinese.

  • For typefaces, I chose Trade Gothic in limited amounts for its bureaucratic feel, and used the more historical-feeling Stempel Schneidler for the body text. For pull out quotes and headlines I chose to use Mrs. Eaves italic, because I felt it had a more elegant and sinuous italic than Stempel Schneidler, and went with the lighter ghostly feeling I was aiming for.
  • I abstracted the images by layering blurred and crisp versions of the same photograph (mostly original photography) at different opacities, which gave them a ghostly, slightly haunted feel. In addition to layering the blurry and crisp versions, I also occasionally layered multiple opacities over each other and cropped them so that the images faded out in waves as a visual reference to waves of history, of years and decades layering up upon each other.