We experience and interact with design more and more everyday as technology continues to blossom with generations over time. Along with the over-saturated social media platforms and thousands of designs we encounter daily, Associated Students, Inc. Graphic Designer, Gabrielle Saliba shares a bit of her own creative process and where she draws inspiration from. Right now, she is currently doing graphics for our annual event Block Party, which will take place on Thursday, September 13 from 4-6pm in the Res. Hall Quad. This year’s theme resembles that of a feel-good, outdoors festival. We asked her a few questions to pick her brain, and learn more about the designer behind the event!
How do you usually decide on a creative direction for a project? Specifically for Block Party?
After the team decided on the theme, images like palm trees, flower crowns, fruity popsicles, an acoustic guitar popped into my head. I always try to think of what personally grabs my attention. I love colors, so I observed colors from bathing suits, souvenir shops, ridiculous tan lines on my own body, and even the go-to summer foods. I would sometimes look at Pinterest or other inspo blogs like that too.
Can you tell us what it was like working on Block Party?
It was honestly a lot of work. At first, I would look at past years and try to evoke similar vibes, but relying on past work just made me hit roadblocks. I felt like I was being very surface-level with my thumbnail-sized sketches, and they all looked like very generic summer themed graphics you would see at a beach party. It took multiple breakthroughs to finally create a design I was proud of.
So how did you come up with the main graphic?
One of the greatest pieces of advice my professors told me was to reflect empathy in order to be a meaningful designer, as well as an intentional creator. Tossing my summer whim sketches aside, I thought to venture deeper. Instead of looking outward, why not try inward as well? I explored within everything that I am, and all my experiences to see what I might find. Through deeper investigation, I found one part about myself that I thought could inspire me in such a way that was personal, yet empowering: My Culture.
Personally, I associate my culture with my familial upbringing, social demographics, and cross-cultural experiences as a first generation, westernized Filipino-American female from South San Francisco, California. Drawing from my set of discourse communities, I wanted to be as transparent as possible. I had to have gone through a headache amount of sketches before examining the unifying symbol of love and growth, a flower. I wanted to craft it in a way that it was culturally ambiguous enough for individuals to appreciate, but still be able to connect with it.
If you could travel through time, what would you say to your freshman-self?
I would say to go to Block Party, and be proud of who you are. Throughout this whole design process, I discovered how to embrace where I come from, in order to become who I am meant to be. The sooner you accept yourself, the better time you’ll have making memories during these quick years of self-growth.