🌐Design History and Practice Introductions
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Nika Simovich Fisher

  • Mali Kuvar (Little Cook) is a tiny booklet included with printed Serbian tabloids, particularly in the late 80s and early 90s. It is small in form, has bright printer colors, and cheaply produced. It includes recipes, and each edition has a theme (“Tiny Cakes,” “Foods without meat”).
  • I was born in Belgrade, Serbia and grew up in The United States. My mom had a giant messy collection of recipes she brought over when we moved in 1992, which included some of these publications. Little Cook is a souvenir of my home country from the time period that I was born. This was also when Yugoslavia was undergoing a Civil War and falling apart. These happy little printed moments feel like a memory from before the country fell apart. This publication also inspired the design of my own cooking website, Little Chefs.

Dani Kau 

• It’s a poster from the 1940’s produced by United Airlines, promoting their trips to the Hawaiian islands. It shows local scenery such as the Diamond head crater, palm trees, and a traditional Hawaiian canoe with people surfing in the background. A woman who looks very much like the bobble head dolls that used to be sold holds a lei in front, and a plane flies in the background.  
•I’m from Hawaii, so it not only shows my home or place of origin, but it references the history of Hawaii being so reliant on tourism for its economy, and we see how it affects everyday life.
At this time, Hawaii was not yet a state, but still an American territory. 
• If it’s the 1940’s, perhaps it’s after WWII, and airlines were trying to get people to travel again. After the war ended, the economy was struggling when many military families left, so the state launched many campaigns to get tourists to come to the island again and boost its economy. 
  1. The poster I chose is a mixed media poster of the actress Alexa Demie from 2022. The poster features photos of Alexa Demie posed in different ways, showcasing the different personalities that a person can hold and how multifaceted a person can be. Aside from the photos, there are little symbols and icons sketched throughout the poster. Without the doodles the poster has a fairly clean-cut structure, so I think the doodles add a nice piece of personality to make it more than just photos on a page.
  1. This photo connects strongly to my interests. Though I adore Alexa Demie, she is not the reason I chose this poster. The reason I chose this poster is because when I look at this poster, I see not only Alexa Demie, but Alana O’Herlihy, the woman behind the camera. Alana O’Herlihy is my biggest creative inspiration, and largely focuses on creative direction and mixed media, two of the things I am most interested in. I also connect to the variety of faces and personalities being portrayed, as I am incredibly multifaceted, as all humans are. Though this poster is from 2022 and does not connect to a historical event, it does connect to how 2022 is when I began noticing how important being multifaceted is, and how you don’t need to have one main personality type and niche. This applies to all areas of life, even the clothes I wear, choosing what I want to wear based on how I feel at the moment rather than one set “aesthetic”. Though I have certain traits and niches that overpower others, there is room for so many. 

Leia Carter

  • The Royal Tenenbaums is a film directed by Wes Anderson and co-written by Owen Wilson. It was released in 2001 to generally great acclaim. It has an eccentric set of characters and essentially revolves around a family's reconciliation with one another based on the false premise that the father of the family has cancer. The above image references a variety of scenes from the movie.
  • This was the first movie I remember seeing that got me interested in how visual storytelling is constructed, versus simply engaging in the consumption of media. The shared space of the house where much of the film takes place is the material cornerstone of how these characters are related to one another, and the use of those interiors to tell part of the story was an element of the film that really resonated with me. I also only saw the movie thanks to my older brother, who took me to see it with him in theaters when it first came out, which made it more memorable to me. In retrospect, explorations of failure and grief in the face of expectations was a relatable theme, in part because my brother and I were very academically disappointing to our parents at the time (we both ironically ended up in academia). However, this film was executed with such particular charm that it caught me as a teenager and still engages and informs me as a much older adult interested in design now.
  • This film doesn't overtly reflect the time it was made in. Modern disillusionment and the decay/salvage of relationships are common enough postwar themes, but to me this film reflects a more specific type of disillusionment with American-centric generational divides on success, legacy, aging, and individualism.

Enerel (Ella)


  • These are 1984 postage stamps issued by Mongolia in a series featuring native ceremonial masks, here depicted is mask of god Lham and Zamindi, a fierce deity that protects the Buddhist religion. These were issued after the fall of Communism in Mongolia. 
  • I was born in Mongolia, and most of the citizens are Buddhists. During Communism, Stalin began purges and eliminations of the Mongolian people who affected the whole country, party, army and especially the Buddhist lamas, resulting in at least 22,000-30,000 victims. During the purge, most of Mongolia’s historical pieces, monasteries and archival treasures were destroyed. My great grandparents were medicine men and lamas who were persecuted during this time. Our family is still very much Buddhist. I desire to incorporate more of my cultural elements into my own design work. 

Brian Lau

  • This tourism pamphlet for the Dominion, Vancouver, B.C., was published by the Vancouver Tourist Association in 1905. About 50 pages in size, it outlined various recreational and industrial activities in Vancouver and the surrounding region. This cover was painted in watercolor by Spencer Perceval Judge, a British statesman who immigrated to Canada and played a major role in the growth of art in Vancouver.
  • I was born in Vancouver and grew up by the water and the mountains. My grandparents first immigrated to Canada in the 1960s - several decades after this pamphlet was created. The imagery on this publication speaks to me as it represents the activities my family took full advantage of while growing up. Surrounded by an abundance of natural beauty, I frequently hiked, sailed, and skied while growing up.
  • The 1900s represent a highly contentious time in Vancouver’s history. While this pamphlet appears warm and welcoming to tourism from anywhere in the world, Canada exercised highly racist immigration laws such as the head tax and the Chinese Exclusion Act. While individuals such as Judge were warmly welcomed to the country, had my family tried to immigrate to Vancouver from Hong Kong at this time in history, they most certainly would have been denied entry.
  • My chosen object is my Star of David necklace (this photo is not me, but for the sake of showing the object, this is a photo I found of someone else wearing the same one). 
  • There is no special significance on where I got the necklace, or who designed it, and although I am not religious in any way, as someone who loves fashion and jewelry, I love to wear this necklace on a regular basis. 
  • Today, the Star of David is a widely recognized Jewish symbol — appearing on the Israeli flag, Jewish tombstones, all over synagogues, etc.  However, the symbol’s meaning in connection to history has evolved over time. In ancient years, the Star of David was used more as a decorative design, and only appeared in 17th century as a symbol for Jewish identity; being used to denote Jewish areas or places of worship in certain cities. The Star of David became a universal Jewish symbol by the 19th century, much like the cross for Christians. However, during the Holocaust, the Nazis forced the Jews to wear a yellow Star of David badge, where the symbol took on a whole new meaning of heroism and bravery. Perhaps the evolution of its meaning itself is why this symbol is so important for Jewish people today, and for me personally, aside from my love for fashion/accessories, my Star of David necklace denotes my pride in my Jewish roots, while also making an ode to my love for Israe

Ritu Damani 

  • This an in idol of Maa Durga (Goddess Durga) during the time of Durga Puja, a very prominent festival in my hometown Kolkata. She is associated with protection, strength, motherhood, destruction and wars. Durga is seen as a motherly figure and often depicted as a beautiful woman, riding a lion or tiger, with many arms each carrying a weapon and often defeating demons.