Teo Yu Siang

Teo Yu Siang

IgnorLAND of its Loss: Choose your own adventure

2016print design

IgnorLAND of its Loss is a site-specific community theatre project run by Drama Box. Held in Dakota Crescent before the estate was evicted for demolition, the performance involved both professional actors and residents of the estate and highlighted the nuances of the emotional responses of residents living in the estate.

A key part of the performance is a booklet that is handed out to all participants. This booklet is unconventional, because it serves as a non-linear guide to each person's tour of the estate. I was engaged as a designer to conceptualise and design this booklet—which eventually had residents tearing, folding, and scratching to uncover the stories of the estate.

The brief

IgnorLAND’s booklet had to guide participants around the estate to designated “performance” areas, wherein residents or actors would engage with them. Ideally, the booklet will allow participants to choose their routes (each participant could only visit 2 of the 4 performance areas). As the first (and only physical) point of contact with the participants, the booklet will also define the visual style of the entire show.

Main challenges

The main challenge was a logistical one: How would we ensure that participants had a choice in the sites they visited, while ensuring that no overcrowding happens at any site? In other words, a balance had to be made between giving participants freedom to roam and controlling where they went.

Working on a site-specific theatre production also meant not only dealing with 2D design, but having to take into account 3D environments. Since the show took place at night, lighting conditions and ensuring the booklet had sufficient contrast were important factors.

Finally, the show was performed in both English and Chinese, meaning the booklet had to contain copy in both languages. This effectively halved the space of the booklet.

The process

The process of designing the booklet involved a deep collaboration with the booklet’s copywriter Xinyi and the show’s artistic director Hui Ling. I was in charge of conceptualising the mechanics of getting participants to choose their routes, as well as the visual design of the booklet.

The overall process of designing the booklet was as follows:

  1. Visual identity
    Before working on the booklet, I created the visual identity for the show. This works because the program schedule was in flux at the beginning, so creating a scalable visual identity helps smoothen the process of designing the booklet proper.
    An early visual identity, featuring Dakota Crescent’s iconic dove playground, was later incorporated into the booklet’s final design
  2. Paper prototypes
    When figuring out the mechanics of the booklet, scaled-down paper prototypes were extremely useful. They served as proofs of concept, and also helped when I presented my ideas to others on the team.
    Half-scale prototypes were a quick way to validate early ideas on the mechanics of the booklet
  3. Logistical calculations
    Excel spreadsheets were created to get the logistics of the participants just right. Since the performance sites had different capacities, probability was employed to minimise the likelihood of overcrowding (and undercrowding) of the sites.
    A portion of the spreadsheet used to determine the logistics behind the booklets
  4. Designing proper
    After the mechanics and logistics of the booklet were set, the design of the booklet commenced.

Results

In total, 7 booklet variants were designed (with specific numbers of copies printed for each variant), so that the participants could choose their own destinations and not end up crowding at any site.

Participants chose their destinations by answering a multiple choice question on what they would choose to remember of a home they could never return to. They indicated their preference by tearing the option on the booklet and folding it, which revealed the two locations they should head to for the night.

The first page of the booklet, torn and folded to reveal two performance sites to visit

To provide for the tearing mechanism, the booklet had an outer jacket that’s folded to become half in size of the centre page. This happily resulted in a booklet with a distinct profile.

The centrefold of the booklet was partially foiled, and when scratched revealed landmarks that were demolished and the ways we have coped with their loss.

Scratching away the foils in the centrefold revealed 10 buildings that were demolished

As a nod to the fact that the people who helped make the project a success are often hidden behind the scenes, the outer jacket of the booklet unfolds to reveal the names of everyone who worked on IgnorLAND of its Loss.


Teo Yu Siang

Print and visual design

Hong Xinyi

Copywriting

Koh Hui Ling

Artistic direction

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