💐WELCOME!💐Yi is pursuing Graphic Design MFA @ArtCenter College of Design 🤹🏻‍♂️ Graduating in April 2020👨🏻‍🎓 Previously at Buck. Interning at COLLINS.

an idea-store owner ︎ info.
Ongoing (Stage 1 Is Closed, On Break Now)
“Buttress” v1.0

Having a fundamental experience on designing rational typefaces last year, designing “Buttress” typeface gives the designer a comprehensive and further opportunity to systematically design a typeface and have a deeper understanding on typography. What are the basic characteristics and origins of letterforms? What aspects should a designer notice throughout the process, such as contrast, weight, balance, etc.? What are the intentions of designing typefaces, for body text or digital display? Shall the design/characteristics of typeface come out first or the basic reading functionality of typefaces? Several critical questions are addressed by Professor Greg Lindy during this 14-week font design course.

For “Buttress”, it originates from the architectural term “flying buttress”. The term itself also correlates with biology, car design, and musical instruments. Designer’s intention of designing this typeface is embracing the traditions of serif typefaces in a contemporary context. There is always a duality aspect embedded in this typeface. Ideal contexts, topics and formats may relate to this typeface are, FILM/MUSIC/THEATRE, RESTAURANT, TECHNOLOGY, COSMETIC, PACKAGING, EXHIBITION, FILM, BRAND IDENTITY, POSTER, AND SIGNAGE.

Test pages on the left. 

Designer: Yi Mao
Instructor: Greg Lindy
Disclaimer: Buttress v1.0, as designer’s very first systemmatic typeface design, may not be an appropriate bodytext typeface. If you’re insterested in trying this typeface especially as a display font, please email me for any further inquiry. 

©2019 Yi Mao All Rights Reserved.

April. 2019
Book Report on "Design Research Through Practice"

The book Design Research Through Practice—From the Lab, Field, and Showroom by Ilpo Koskinen, John Zimmerman, Thomas Binder, Johan Redstrom, and Stephan Wesveen, fundamentally and comprehensively discusses about the design in a contemporary context and a structivism manner. The background of this book is that “design” has dramatically become a critical academic field for years. Authors of this book are intended to bring more tolerance from non-designers. They are recognizing “design” in a more fundamental and yet general aspect. “Design” has been a crucial field within educational institutions and society.  

The book itself demonstrates the basic research methods of design in the beginning. “Constructive Design Research” is specifically introduced to readers. It is a type of design research that originates from constructivists’ perspectives on understanding knowledge and society. Developing on the discussion of “constructive design research”, they argue the importance of the emerging human-centered design as well. “Design” is no longer a simple human approach, but also requires a complex knowledge and experimentations which are related to higher education, prototyping, laboratory, probes, field explorations, art, and others. It is a significant filed that strongly correlate with knowledge of methodology, psychology, anthropology, sociology, engineering, etc. “Design”, in the contemporary context, is not a simple word or term any longer.

Being a graduate graphic design student at ArtCenter College of Design, my personal responses on this book and its related topics focus on my own definition of “design” & “graphic design”, personal commentary on the pedagogy of graduate graphic design, and basic thoughts about graphic design in the next ten years.

In today’s context, the word “design” is not simply describing human approaches on aesthetically creating certain things that serve for the larger audience. It has a broader and almost vague meaning in many situations. People can use the word “design” for “She can design a tremendous poster.” And people may also often hear things like “The company is designing a new banking service and structure.” It seems that “design” has become a word which is about “creating and optimizing things”. “Design”, in my opinions, is a humanistic behavior that creates and optimizes the communication and interaction among people, animals, nature, merchandise, infrastructure, architecture, and even outer space. It is like an automotive lubricant and the society is the engine. The expanding on the meaning and function of “design” can be set into the situation that global society has been generating and normalizing human resource, information and knowledge over the time. The existences of “Uber”, “Lyft”, “Yelp”, “WeWork”, and Bitcoin all share the similar backgrounds. Within this big picture of “design”, “graphic design” is not limited as simple visual communication. It is communicating more complex information and stories today. The “graphic design” has been transforming into a field that using aesthetic to create visual as foundations while communicate with audience through contents and multi-medias. The approach itself carries more complicated visuals through more touchpoints to people, such as prints, books, packaging, banners, digital screen, cellphones, sounds, etc.

With those understanding of “design” and “graphic design”, it is truly grateful to have graduate courses like “Design Research”, “Grad Seminar”, and “Leadership”.  It breaks the common sense and limits on students’ thoughts about graphic design. It is telling them creating decent visuals and deliverables are just beginnings. What students, especially graduate students shall understand that there is always a systematic and yet long progress of graphic design from the beginning to the end. The beginning starts when people approach to designers and the end will stop at the products along with stories are delivered to audience. The “designing” is only one link in this long process. If we see the society as a giant ecosystem, after reading the book and visiting Eames House, students shall realize that as part of this ecosystem, graphic design is somehow non-stopping. Every single element in this ecosystem is operating and keeping floating. In contrast, due to various non-design impacts, students normally fall into the misunderstanding that the due date or deadline represents the end of a design process. However, in various types of design fields, deadline seems to be less important than design’s degree of completion and functions. It is common to see that the duration of designing a typeface, product, and architecture would take dramatic amount of time. The unchangeable of institutional schedules should not indicate students to think that due dates are the end of designing. Similarly, the graduation certainly does not represent the end of learning and gaining.

As the global environmental issues are getting severe and Millennials generations are growing into the nucleus of the society. The future of graphic design will become more diverse in terms of visual. But more notions of conscience and social responsibilities must be involved into the pedagogy and training of graphic design. It is due to the increasing of global population and the decrease of natural resources will indirectly curate more intense competitions among graphic designers. To achieve social survival and success may or may not cost one’s more sacrifices and strength than the past. In the near future, it is significant to unifying graphic designers and educate them with basic ethic, conscience and sense of social responsibility.

A book report/commentary from the Design Reserach course at ArtCenter College of Design MGx in Spring 2019.

Designer: Yi Mao
Instructor: Chris Hacker

Client: ArtCenter College of Design

Rational Type Design: Ellipsis and Pascal

A two-week practice of rational typefaces design.
More details are coming!

Designer: Yi Mao
Instructor: Simon Johnston
Advisor: Greg Lindy

©2018 Yi Mao All Rights Reserved. 

Graphic Design (Editorial)
March. 2019
Psychedelic Perfume (迷夢香水)


With an idea of designing the hypothetical exhibition at MoMA PS1, Psychedelic Perfume is project that focuses on the editorial design associated a Varporwave-themed exhibition. It is predicting that potentially this contemporary subculture, Vaporwave, and its related art, music, and design will be formally recognized by the broad masses especially Millennial generation in the future. 

The project itself not only aims to present a comprehensive research of this unique subculture, but also criticizes the existence behind Vaporwave. It is a subculture that firmly associated with the Internet world, nostalgia culture, and capitalism of the 1990s. Vaporwave, in its essence, is a statement that reveals the broad masses’ reaction to economic bubble collapse such as 1997 Asian financial crisis.

As the core item within this project, this exhibition catalogue, demonstrates the context, history, fact, and anatomy of Vaporwave including its art, music, and design. The overall design inherits the core aesthetic of Vaporwave such as grid, Greek plaster, palm trees, Asian languages, and 90s computer interfaces. Typographical choices are intentionally made to match the uncanny, psychedelic, technological, and dreamy aspects of Vaporwave.

Art Direction: Yi Mao
Designer: Yi Mao
Photography: Charlie Sin
Stylist: Yi Mao & Charlie Sin
*DISCLAIMER: This project is not for any types of commercial uses.

Instructor: Simon Johnston
Client: ArtCenter College of Design