Since 2016, I’ve been on the executive board of VISIONS Magazine, a Brown/RISD literary and visual arts publication that strives to amplify Asian American/Pacific Islander voices on campus.
VISIONS celebrates the diversity of Brown and RISD's AAPI community, and is committed to being an open literary and artistic forum for Asians and Asian Americans to freely express and address issues relating to the AAPI experience. VISIONS further serves as a forum for issues that cannot find a voice in other campus publications. As a collaborative initiative, VISIONS attempts to strengthen and actively engage Brown and RISD's vibrant community of students, faculty, staff, and alumni, as well as the larger Providence community.
Design, illustration, and community outreach.
As a Layout and Design Editor, I oversaw the process and completion of piecing the magazine together every publication cycle, as well as any visual devices that helped to broadcast VISIONS’ presence on campus. I worked with the team to integrate graphics into community outreach and calls for submission, and ultimately cultivate a platform through which AAPI artists and writers could express themselves.
Compositing a magazine from separate pieces by different artists and writers.
My primary responsibility on VISIONS is to piece together a cohesive magazine from the art and literature pieces we ultimately accepted. While each piece spoke to a student’s specific experience with being AAPI, the art and prose styles were greatly varied, and it is always a challenge to align pieces in a way that makes sense both conceptually and visually. Whether each piece was poetry or painting, digital art or essay, or any combination of literature and art, creating an aesthetically and representationally cohesive product was the end goal for VISIONS’ layout design.
Magazine covers were commissioned particularly for their purpose, with members of the executive board reaching out to the Brown/RISD community for anyone who wanted to illustrate or design the issue's cover and back cover. The color palettes and typefaces of the entire magazine's layout would then be subsequently chosen based on this final cover commission, aiding the cohesion of the book.
In addition to magazine layout, I was also responsible for creating illustrations for a variety of other necessary graphics. Most frequently, I would need to draw and design posters that called for submissions, as well as those that advertised the release of the finished product at the end of each semester.
The content of the posters relied heavily on what message I was trying to convey. For calls for submissions, I concentrated on imagery of creation—motifs of hands, art-making tools, and the fluidity and dynamicism of creativity are repeated. Alternatively, the aesthetic content of Release Party posters is slightly different: besides being the catalyzing event for magazine distribution at the end of the year, these parties are also an opportunity for us to connect with the community in a more direct way. We host a variety of AAPI-identifying students to perform through song, poetry and prose readings, and otherwise.
Overall, though, all poster designs allowed me to experiment with different illustration styles. The astounding power for visual communication that posters retain is something I continue to take full advantage of.
I also created a series of illustrations for VISIONS merchandise, such as stickers and tote bags. These were distributed across campus for free, and called attention to the existence of VISIONS as an established organization on campus while simultaneously conveying our mission of cultivating creativity amongst students.
Joining VISIONS and actively participating in AAPI representation in the arts has been one of the best decisions of my undergraduate career. Designing layout for this publication reminds me of how much I enjoy the minutiae of design (ragging, point-specfic placement of components on a grid), and speaks to why I love designing as a whole — to oversee the production of a tangible product from start to finish, and craft every little decision to align with a larger mission, ultimately creating something that invokes strong emotions in others.
As a Design Editor, I am allowed autonomy to explore different visual avenues through which the magazine as a whole can convey its mission, and can do so through graphic design and illustration. Overall, I am beyond grateful to be a part of such a community, one in which I can both create art myself and spotlight other AAPI creators, using visual design and art to advocate for a representation that is infinitely important to me.