Taylor’s Students Explore Oddities in Design

Twenty-odd students from The Design School at Taylor’s University showcased their final year projects at KEN Gallery recently with the theme, “Odd of Sight, Odd of Mind” – playing with the popular proverb to highlight the nature of design, where it can be taken for granted. Currently pursuing their degree in either Interactive Multimedia Design or Graphic Communication Design, the students’ exhibition looked into celebrating the eccentric function of a designer’s mind.
The two-day exhibition also gave a chance for employers and innovators to identify the latest talent, and members of the public to enjoy the displayed projects by students. According to Ernesto Pujazon, Head of School for The Design School in the Faculty of Innovation Technology, “Our programmes have improved significantly over the past five years to ensure its relevance within the industry, and to provide students with an authentic industry-based learning structure.”
“I hope the skills taught at our studios and industrial training have produced graduates with a strong sense of good design and bring value to those that acquire professional services from this cohort of students,” he said.

Students at The Design School at Taylor’s launch their final year exhibition with the theme, “Odd of Sight, Odd of Mind” at KEN Gallery recently
Students in each course were given the flexibility to explore a topic of their choice and present it in the form of branding, advertising, packaging, publications, illustrations, interactive multimedia, animation, and game designs. Aimi Ismail, graduating with a degree in the Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Graphic Communication Design, 23, focused on a dying tradition – Malay idioms.
“Simpulan Bahasa, or Malay Idioms, is being forgotten with the newer generation of Malaysians, as they prefer to speak and write in simple Bahasa Malaysia, or in other languages,” she said. Hailing from Johor, her project was inspired by her mother and grandmother, where she is accustomed to hearing expressions throughout her childhood. “Bahasa Malaysia is a major part of our identity and when I experience my elders speaking to one another, there is so much culture in the language skills they use – which inspired me to find a way to preserve it.”
Aimi produced a dual-lingo book highlighting Malay idioms and its meaning; flashcards and stickers. When her collection was complete, she shared the activity cards amongst her Malaysian and international friends. Although apprehensive in sharing her work with friends, it was to her relief that the flashcards were positively received, “They learned so much from the flashcards I showed them and my Malaysian friends have started using these terms in their conversations. It is my hope that the future generations will learn the value in this language and bring it to life again,” she said.

Aimi Ismail (top) and Kimberley Rachel Lee (bottom) speak to visitors at their booth during the launch of the final year exhibition, “Odd of Sight, Odd of Mind” at KEN Gallery recently
Her course mate, Kimberley Rachel Lee, 23, focused her efforts in highlighting the effects of Alzheimer’s disease through her childhood experience with her grandmother – who was diagnosed with the early stages of the disease at 80 years old. Having grown up in Scotland, United Kingdom until the age of 16, Kimberley noticed the stark contrasts of how Alzheimer’s was portrayed between the two nations – one demonstrating active awareness and lending support; while the other with stigma surrounding the name, and minimal efforts in raising awareness on the matter. “I would visit my grandmother in Malaysia during the school holidays and noticed she was forgetting who I was and other members of the family. As I grew older, the reception around the subject between the two countries was difficult to ignore – this observation led me to develop materials to help the patient and their family,” she said.

A crowd shot of final year students from The Design School at Taylor’s demonstrating their projects to spectators
“The best thing family and loved ones can do for anyone going through dementia is to be patient, not letting their fears stop them from learning more about the patient’s experiences and showing up where it counts,” she opined. The materials for Kimberley’s project include a journal with writing prompts transcribed in third person – portraying the thoughts and experiences of someone with dementia; three activity books for puzzles, cooking and colouring for adults.

A group photo of the final year students from The Design School at Taylor’s University