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One of my earliest childhood memories is of when I was about three – it’s a bit of a foggy memory but I’m at a beach in Tioman, it’s my first time playing in seawater and I’m having fun.

I’ve always loved the sea, and so this project began with me delving into the idea of oceanic waters, which then led on to ideas of navigation and cartography. Moral philosophy was explored on a parallel track which later converged.

The main deliverable was a 60pp A4 art publication which comprises nine vignettes of curated prose and treated image. Through which I hope to spark meaning through the juxtaposition of navigation, cartography and moral philosophy; a space for the translation and reinterpretation of thought and emotion from designer to viewer.

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In line with the curated prose, selected regions of the world map were treated to become more of abstract expressions of thought and emotion, less of scientific / geographic apparatus. The aesthetic was informed by 19th century etchings while keeping consistent with the modern minimal aesthetic; a meeting of past with present.

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The secondary deliverable was a handcrafted, fully-functional ornamental wooden compass where the arrow may be calibrated by the user to point in any chosen direction. The idea being that while we no longer require such outdated apparatus to navigate, we very much still decide our own existential directions. I point my compass north of west by a few degrees in approximation to America; I’m working towards an Eisner nomination. Where a compass from old would be heavily decorated with flourishes, I kept my compass design minimal in line with the overall design language, again, welding an invention from the past with an aesthetic from the present.

The last deliverable was an original song written to tie the entire project together, packaged in a handcrafted wooden case with a foldout lyric poster. Poster stylised as the prose in the main book, suggesting that this is the voice I’m contributing to the dialogue I created. A folk-styled acapella song was treated with carefully controlled autotune, repeating the past / present motif, while the vocals gradually layer into a building crescendo, similar to how the main deliverable, the a4 art book, is an amalgamation of numerous voices.

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References

To The Ends of The Earth: 100 Maps That Changed The World. Chartwell Books. 2012.

Mapping it Out: An Alternative Atlas of Contemporary Cartographies. Thames & Hudson. 2014.

Atlas of Remote Islands. Penguin. 2009.

Everything Sings: Maps For A Narrative Atlas. Siglio Press. 2010

“Contemporary Authors: Gavin Menzies”. Highbeam Research. 2006

Hui Chun Hing. “Huangming Zuxun and Zheng He’s Voyages to the Western Oceans”. Journal of Chinese Studies, No. 51 (July, 2010)

Ma Huan. Ying-yai Sheng-lan: The Overall Survey of the Ocean’s Shores

Chunjiang Fu, Choo Yen Foo, Yaw Hoong Siew: The great explorer Cheng Ho. Ambassador of peace. Asiapac Books Pte Ltd 2005

Stephanie Meece (2006). “A bird’s eye view – of a leopard’s spots. The Çatalhöyük ‘map’ and the development of cartographic representation in prehistory”

Finel, Irving (1995). “A join to the map of the world: A notable discovery”.

W. H. Creak: “The History of the Liquid Compass”, The Geographical Journal, Vol. 56 (1920)

Great Thinkers of the Eastern World, edited Ian McGreal Harper Collins 1995

A source book in Chinese philosophy, Wing-tsit Chan

Mandeville, John. The Travels of Sir John Mandeville

Peck, Douglas T. “Misconceptions and Myths Related to the Fountain of Youth and Juan Ponce de Leon’s 1513 Exploration Voyage

Lewis, Bart L. (2003). The Miraculous Lie: Lope de Aguirre and the Search for El Dorado in the Latin American Historical Novel. Lexington Books.

Drye, Willie. National Geographic. El Dorado Legend Snared Sir Walter Raleigh.

http://privatair.com/sites/default/files/magazines/12_11_2013 PrivatAirMagazine_Issue48_Winter2013_2014.pdf

http://www.ruf.rice.edu/~feegi/carto.html

http://math.rice.edu/~pcmi/sphere/gos5.html

http://mathworld.wolfram.com/Four-ColorTheorem.html

http://study.com/academy/lesson/juxtaposition-as-a-literary-term-definition-example-poems-quiz.html

Life in Death

Water > Pacific Ocean > Deep sea > Sea > Dead Sea > Israel > Water supply >  Jordan > Arabs > War > Palestine

This is a rough outline of the research process from the word “water” to what I am doing, titled “Life in Death”. The irony and metaphorical meaning of the Dead Sea is the main theme of this project.

The Dead Sea is dead. Due to its salinity, making the environment extremely harsh to live in, no living thing can flourish under such circumstances and hence, it’s name. However it being dead, life still thrives. The mineral left behind in the dead sea and the minerals that are washed up ashore has known healing properties for curing skin diseases, curing their skin problems. The minerals are also used in skin products as it also promotes renewal of cells. People flock to the dead sea because of these healing properties and some, also to have fun in the water as human bodies can float effortlessly in the water because of it’s salinity.

Ironically, the countries surrounding the Dead Sea are not as peaceful as the Dead Sea. Israel, Palestine and Jordan are neighbouring countries around the Dead Sea, however, they are always having disputes and fights, and sometimes even war. Many innocent lives are lost in this never-ending disagreements between them. The tension of these 3 countries have been going on for many many years, and still on-going till this day.

Despite all the deaths around the Dead Sea in Israel, Jordan and Palestine, it still sits peacefully right in the middle of them three geographically.

Could they be metaphorically like the Dead Sea?
Could there still be life in death for them?

 


 

A contemporary art exhibition space will be set up to convey this message.
Accompanying a booklet that will be available at the exhibition space as a take-away for the visitors.
And a poster, promoting this exhibition space.


 

 

Exhibition

A top down flat-lay view of the exhibition space.
Literally taking the concept words of “Life in Death” to the overall layout of the exhibition.

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Overview of exhibition space.
The walls are the walls of the border between Israel and Palestine. There will be a levered tank of Dead Sea water in the middle circle section and a pile of Dead Sea salt in the middle of it. The exhibition booklet will then be placed on top of the pile of salt where people can take home.
The exhibition is design in such a way where people coming from the respective section of the “Death” layer will cross-path in the middle “Life” section in order to see the other sections from the “Death” layer.

 

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The writings of the accounts of people in the country regarding the other two neighbouring countries.
A gun wrapped in their respectively flag hangs in the middle of the section representing the war and deaths present in their countries.

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Flat layout of the countries in the “Death” layer.

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Architectural model of exhibition layout

 

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Booklet from the exhibition

Booklet will be places in the middle of the exhibition on the pile of salt from the Dead Sea. There will be a handwritten summary text in the booklet summing up the text on the wall in the booklet for each of the country’s thoughts. Tracing paper is used to show the layering of their thoughts and the ethereal feeling of life in death. Minimal colors are present to show the contrast between life and death/ white and black.

 

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Exhibition Promotional Poster

The exhibition promotional poster also has tracing paper behind the dye cut of the circle to show that the word ‘life’ is literally in the black circle of ‘death’, showing a layering effect on the viewer.

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So is there Life in Death?

 

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The Ganges river is now heavily polluted due to the consequences of certain choices that humans have made. It’s role has changed from being a source of healing to a source of sickness and death. However, we still have the choice to reverse this.

WHO

The people on the internet. Use the power of media to pressure those who contribute to the pollution. In such cases, instead of telling the people directly that they are destroying the river, a better way would be let them experience the damage themselves. 

WHY

The pollution of the Ganges has many harsh consequences. It’s healing factor is now severely compromised due to the willful actions of humans. The concept of choosing to throw something filthy into a holy purifying source just because ‘it can clear it’ is rather odd and selfish.

HOW

A 50 page art book (Main), a game preview (With two original tracks), and a designer toy.

Note: Serious games are simulations of real-world events or processes designed for the purpose of solving a problem. Although serious games can be entertaining, their main purpose is to train or educate users, though it may have other purposes, such as marketing or advertisement.

The funds collected from the toy will be donated to activist efforts to aid the spread of awareness about the river’s state. A short interview will also be included with each toy, with each design representing the ‘status’ group of the interviewee (Eg. Doctor/ patient/ fisherman etc). This would give buyers further insight into he personal lives of those connected to the Ganges.

 

Game Narrative (featured in the art book and the preview): 

3 levels

Level 1: Based on the assassination of Swami Niganamanda. The player is identified as a spy/ worker from an organisation that contributes to the pollution of the river. Play against the timer to find your target and complete your mission.

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Level 2: Player is now tasked to control the poisonous waste/ put them into chemical pods to be dumped into the river.

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Level 3: Player now plays as the organization boss after sacking his worker for being too incompetent to dump things into the river. He takes matters into his own hands and proceed to release the waste in bullet like forms. Gain points by hitting moving targets.

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Level 3.2: Something ominous happens, the Goddess ganga now appears and urges him to stop. However, he does not and launches an attack against her. This level is played by the number of times the spacebar is pressed in 60 seconds.

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Ending: Ganga, now enraged,  unleashes her powers and flood the whole screen. animations_4.jpg

View the booklet here

Art booklet and designer toy

 

 

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Link to game preview and soundtracks:

http://delta-1000.tumblr.com

(Play the song while looking at the gif screenshots~)

“上善若水. 水善利万物而不争, 处众人之所恶,故几于道.”

The supreme goodness is like water, nourishing all creatures without competing with them, it gathers in the lowest places where men despise, therefore it is like Dao (the way).

Water is the perfect substance according to Daoism. Water always seeks the lowest point and always takes the shape of any vessel into which it is poured. Water always flows downhill, and it always flows around any obstacle. Water seems to be the weakest substance, but it’s really the strongest, a single drop could pierce through rocks and glaciers.

So referring to that particular verse in Tao Te Ching, what does it mean to lead a life that flows like water and harmonizes with nature and how are we going to do so in order to absorb these virtues and attain the way?

Concept

Taoism had a great impact on the development of herbal medicine. Hence, with the use of herbal teas, we aim to achieve wellness inside out. By creating a series of herbal tea for each virtue presented in the philosophy, targeting a particular aliment in us that is hindering our path of attaining “enlightenment” would help us do so.

These teas can be viewed as an antidote for our wellness and also to substitute the virtues and values that are missing from us which we should be learning from this Chinese philosophy verse from Tao Te Ching.

Deliverables

Packaging | Website | Posters

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Packaging

Each tea was represented by a particular herb / flower and the graphic elements shown was created with only organic shapes. This is to show how fundamental organic shapes are and with simple continuous rotation and scaling, they are able to create such beautiful patterns. These shapes are like the virtues in Tao Te Ching, where everything links back to its most basic fundamental form, just like water, which takes in the form of anything that holds it.  IMG_0216

Individual packaging are shaped in the form of a water droplet, and forms into a flower when all six of them are pieced up together.

IMG_0234Sides of each individual tea packaging

 (From L to R) Logo – Type of Herbal tea , Generic tea descriptions , Graphic Elements , Virtue and explanation

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A simple hexagon box to keep all of them together.

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One tea box is able to hold 3 pyramid teabags.

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Individual tea bags has a tea tab with their virtue and graphic elements on it for easy differentiation from one another.

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Combining all six virtue tea boxes together will form a complete circle from the top view with their individual herb graphic patterns on the packaging. This is to show how all these virtues comes together as one and help to bring wellness to you from inside out.

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6 types of herbal tea for 6 different virtues in Tao Te Ching.

(Wolfberries tea, Osmanthus Oolong Tea, Lavender Tea, Honey Lemon Green Tea, Ginkgo Leaf Tea, Chrysanthemum White Tea)

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I want to create the essence of fun through this packaging too, hence this geometric shape of a water droplet. The graphics on the packaging works as a puzzle when you piece all six of them up together. With the use of colours, we are able to differentiate what flavour those teas are.

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Promotional Posters for Tea Wellness

Idea to draw people who are interested in purchasing the tea to the online site. Keeping the poster minimalistic and simple, emphasizing on the water element by combining curved strokes and flowy like graphical treatments to the logo.

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Tea Appreciation Workshop Posters, to cultivate more interest from target audiences and to learn the art of tea ceremonies and drinking tea.

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Website

Relatively simple and clean outlook for the website in order to showcase more of the graphic elements on the packaging itself.

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Concept page educates people on the aim and objective of this brand, how it derives from the chinese philosophy from Tao Te Ching and how this is being connected to this product.

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Tea page was based on the graphic elements found in the tea packaging.

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Upon hovering on each section of the circle, the name of the tea will appear

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After clicking it, a brief introduction of the tea and its health benefits would appear as a pop-up. Clicking the cross button on top of the circle would close the pop-up and goes back to the initial tea page.

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Simple user interface is created for the online shopping section where consumers are able to shop for their tea through this site itself.

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F4 copyIdeation

Water, a sacred and mysterious force that is able to purge the evil, spiritual impurities and many negative aspects faced in life. The moving water force that shapes and guide humanity, is also a power of life.

Bali is a picturesque paradise island that captures the attention of many all over the world. Balinese Gamelan also display elements of water through the style they play their music. Techniques such as interlocking and syncopation are greatly used and played at high speed to create the illusion of running water.

Majority of the Balinese are fervent believers of Hinduism and water, again plays a significant role in this religion. They rely heavily on water for spiritual, environmental and sustainable purposes. Therefore, water is treated as divine and worshipped with great respects and intentions in Bali. One can never finish listing the uses of water in Bali, it is an integral part of the people’s lives. It is not just water; to them it is their “Holy Water”.

Holy water also represents “Sea of Milk” in Hindu mythology, a well-known narrative in Hinduism. In this religious narrative, there was one thing in common – Movement. Every scene depicts characters physically moving and tension between various parties.

Aim

In this project, I aim to convey the idea of movement that will be featured in a dome exhibition – Mystic; through the use of visual and auditory sensory experiences from the narrative of the Sea of Milk. The audio created for the dome exhibition is a sound art track that has influences from the Balinese Gamelan, heightening the feeling of being in a Sea of Milk. The exhibition is segmented into four sections, which helps the viewer absorb and enjoy their linear experiential journey that allows an immersive experience at the same time.

The four sections:

  • Embarking on a Journey

Mount Mandara radiates at it’s peak, showing a sacred world of paradise that holds a great magical power. Gods gathered here to discuss on obtaining the elixir of life.

  • Overcoming Obstacles

In order to obtain the elixir, the heavenly Gods and underworld Demons have to work together to churn the sea, as good things come forth from the churning.

  • Churning and Battle

Naga Atupura lifted the Mount Mandara and placed it in the Sea of Milk. Naga Basuki wrapped himself around the mountain. Gods and Demons started churning the ocean of milk, till smoke, fire and poison spilled everywhere. Bhrama intercede and stopped the chaos. Tritha Amrita appeared in the middle of the ocean with the elixir in her hands. Gods and Demons eventually broke out into a great battle, as both parties want the elixir for themselves. Shiva took control and killed all of the demons.

  • Peace Restored

Peace was restored and the Gods shared the elixir amongst themselves in Mount Mandara.

Deliverables

Flyer/Poster // Motion graphics & Audio Sensory projection // Website Layout

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Flyers used to publicise the event. It could also double up as a Poster event.

3D Playblast of the exhibition’s exterior.

3D Playblast of the exhibition interior.

Sneak preview of the 4 Dome’s interior.

 

Original versions of the 4 part Motion Graphics before mockup.

Dome 1

Original versions of the 4 part Motion Graphics before mockup.

Dome 2

Original versions of the 4 part Motion Graphics before mockup.

Dome 3

Original versions of the 4 part Motion Graphics before mockup.

Dome 4

Web design and layoutmystic-01

Web mockup on a computer. This web design aims for a friendly user interface.

Final Thoughts:

It was a very challenging but again a really rewarding process, having to constantly steer myself to clear directions whenever I feel lost at any point in time. Definitely feel like I am pushed me beyond my comfort zone, but in return for a steep learning curve, it was worth it.

By Li Sze Pui U1330796L 

Do we take the little gestures of gratitude we do as wholly habitual? How bad can keeping it bottled up be for the people we interact with?

Masaru Emoto’s The Hidden Messages in Water has become somewhat infamous among the scientific community for claiming that water fed with positive words can crystallise into more symmetrical and beautiful formations, while water fed with negative words freezes into irregular and unclear shapes.

Naturally this form of pseudo-science is controversial in its scientific foundation, but of note is the question that a surprising amount of people formed from the theory:

If words can affect plain tap water in this way, then won’t the effects be carried over to humans, who are 70% water?

Positive Psychology is still a relatively new study. Its origins date back to William James’ time (1842 – 1910) although the term was first coined by Abraham Maslow in 1954 and it was Martin Seligman who founded the study as its own field when he became President of the American Psychological Association.

This study deals with the opposite of what was imagined of psychology before the 2000s, which was basically “psychoanalysing people for anything wrong with their behaviour and curing mental illnesses”.The idea of positive psychology is the notion that the absence of mental problems or emotional turmoil does not equate to a mentally healthy individual. Rather it is the humanistic approach to living happily that indicates a good mental foundation.

This study is rather slow to catch on in Asian countries, particularly because we’re of a high-context society where our communication is mostly implied instead of being literal. Authoritarian methods and the ‘tiger mom’ are common parenting tactics that had only begun to be questioned just before the turn of the millennium, as meritocracy has an extremely firm root in the Asian society so therefore any method to let children get exceptional grades is “justified”.

As a result of such a social influence, the Asian personality even in Singapore is said to be withdrawn and carrying a knee-jerk reaction for holding back expressions of any emotion, including joy. This results in a society that lacks certainty that anything positive is happening in an individual’s life since all other people’s emotions at this point are speculative. Asian children, from a young age, learn by themselves that saying things like “I love you” or “I’m glad you’re here” are embarrassing and awkward even to their own parents. Hardly anybody questions the relationships in the family, and a common worry for both parents and children alike is if they are actually loved and appreciated in the household, especially if the family is not especially stable.

My goal is to bring the expression of love and gratitude back into the daily lives of children (and secondarily their parents) by incorporating the show of gratitude into mediums that children of schooling age can enjoy.

I’ve been told that the design should be colourful and DIY enough to appeal to most children of both genders, but yet not overtly childish so as to not to push away the ones who don’t like being treated as children. The aesthetic of the project emulates water and dissolvable vitamin tablets in the shape of a heart, which brings the idea back to Masaru Emoto’s theory that started the inquiry and serves as a metaphor that it is something humans would need to stay healthy.
My first medium would be a party game named Thank You for Letting it Out; basically Truth-or-Dare: Small and Nice Acts version.

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The box is a clasped one to keep it closed in case someone shakes it.

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There are 80 cards in total: 2 sets of 18 variations for both Truth and Dare, plus 8 “Keep-it-in” cards which function as passes.

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The rules (for 2 or more players):
1. Each player takes turns to draw either a Truth or a Dare card. Dare cards usually contain more points than Truth cards.
2. Once a player draws the card, they have to do what’s written on the other side, and they’ll earn the points as shown on the heart tablet.
3. If the player draws a Keep-It-In card, he/she is allowed to pass any future turn by returning this card to the bottom of the respective deck and shuffling it.
4. If the player does not have any Keep-It-In cards but wants to pass, 4 points will be taken from that player.
5. The game ends when 15 minutes is up or the cards have run out. The player with the most points wins!

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This game encourages thought on what and how he/she is grateful towards interactions in daily routine and also prompts players to disclose information about their view on gratitude, allowing the players to bond in a positive manner.

My second product is a wall calendar with the title Thank You for being here all year.

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Every month brings a theme for children to show their creativity in decorating the top of the poster.

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There are random dates highlighted in red where users are encouraged to use the Thank You for the Vitamin app to send a nice message to their parent (or anybody else).

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Stickers are packaged with the calendar. When the user gets exceptionally thanked, thanked someone, received a Vitamin etc., they can stick one of the stickers on the date.

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do1j0gThis calendar is supposed to prompt users to notice thankful acts more in their daily lives, be it from themselves or from others. This practise can form a habit once they find themselves doing it everyday.
My last product is an app named Thank You for the Vitamin. It is a cross between a simple message platform and a status updater, with the purpose of giving a bit of positivity to somebody’s day.

 

The app has a constant wave animation in the background.

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Once the user has registered, he/she can log in based on category (parent, child, friend etc.)

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The main screen is a calendar showing all the Vitmains received this month, and if the Vitamin is tapped, the message will show.

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To send a Vitamin, tap on “Send a Vitamin” and select a templated or customisable message.

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Type out the message and either send it immediately or add it to a queue, which delays the message to a set time so that someone can receive messages in a spread period of time instead of getting a lot of them at once.

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Flick to send the packaged Vitamin.

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When a Vitamin is received, tap to dissolve it in water and the message will show. The Vitamin will then be saved in the phone calendar. Tap to view previous messages.

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This app is a simple and accessible way to compliment, thank or cheer someone up. Since it’s much less stressful to express emotions through a virtual means than physically, this app allows people to make expressing positive thoughts a frequent thing.
Conclusion:

The design process was quite a struggle for me since I don’t have any primary sources on what would motivate children to use something. Someone then told me to not underestimate children since kids today are much more mature than they seem and a childish design may turn them away. So I revamped my entire design to a much more simple interface and worked with as little of a range of hues as possible. The results are much easier to reproduce and animate and I was quite glad I got the advice.

With these 3 products, I hope to promote a better mindset for everyone, but especially children. It can be suffocating to grow up having to keep every compliment and word of love bottled up, wondering if we are hated when in actuality it’s often the opposite. If this could make anybody’s lives even a bit happier, I’d be satisfied with what I’ve done.

 

References:

History of positive psychology: http://mina.education.ucsb.edu/janeconoley/ed197/documents/Froh_TheHistoryofPosPsych.pdf&ved=0CCcQFjAAahUKEwj__bSehZjJAhUWCY4KHbLiCs0&usg=AFQjCNGuui3H4fh7clGUFPQXVVrMGrhP-g&sig2=BTfsQ6p1ien5nRbjVb9r9Q

Masaru Emoto’s experiment:
http://is-masaru-emoto-for-real.com

Founding fathers of positive psychology:
http://positivepsychologyprogram.com/founding-fathers/

Lew, W. (1998). Understanding the Chinese personality: Parenting, schooling, values, morality, relations, and personality. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press.
Rinn, R., & Markle, A. (1977). Positive parenting. Cambridge, Mass.: Research Media.
Chua, A. (2011). Battle hymn of the tiger mother. New York: Penguin Press.
Snyder, C. (2002). Handbook of positive psychology. Oxford [England: Oxford University Press.