& I am a graphic designer.
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I aim to provide visual identity and communication design to arts and culture organizations, higher education, nonprofit and charities. My design is process driven, collaborative. I aim to be critical and equity-focused.

My interests are custom typography, image making, design systems and print production.

Contact me for a project, a question, idea, or a beverage of any temperature.

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hello@gabewong.com
phone. (780) 803–2591

How does one design a brand within a brand? How do you create a voice that is independent yet fits within a larger context? Such was the dilemma with Simon Fraser University’s Teaching and Learning Centre (TLC). Many departments made their own logo and rejected many of the branding guidelines provided by the university’s existing system. This was the initial problem with the TLC old brand, which looked disconnected from the university. My approach to the problem was to create a more strict brand guideline under the existing SFU guidelines but to also make it dynamic. This rebrand achieved that by using a responsive system of grids based on the document size and a four-square system of photographic images and flat icons/pictures. This system portrays the TLC’s diverse offerings of programs, reports, and marketing materials consistently and dynamically.

The work of Mile Zero is extremely diverse and experimental, focusing not only on dance but also in installation, sound and environment. However, for all of its experimentation, they remain accessible to the public. The tone of their yearly publication/program must have the same tone, a mix of refinement and curiosity, play and introspection.

From N-peace.net: “N-Peace is a UNDP Asia-Pacific flagship initiative founded in 2010 to commemorate a decade of UNSCR 1325 implementation via the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda.”

The concept behind this year’s illustration focuses around the idea of peace as process through movement. In the foreground, a woman and a man stand in discussion. Their discussion of peace is represented through young branches springing from their mouths. Around them are seven birds in flight representing the seven programming countries of N-Peace (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Nepal, Indonesia and the Philippines). These birds are a metaphor of the peace dove, swooping in to pluck twigs from the conversations of the peacebuilders below them, thereby carrying away the fruits of their negotiations to their home. Behind them, the grey and turbulent wind represents the inherent complexity of peace processes.

The overall idea for this project was based on an idea that graphic design stems primarily from the written language, and ultimately to typography. With that in mind, a brand, campaign, and culture can be held entirely through a typeface which embodies its values and purposes (i.e. culture represented through calligraphy). The design of this typeface reflects an experimental yet human approach. Its design is based off human proportions, using the size of the head as a base unit. The proportions of the typeface informed the margins, leading, type scale and also offered a visual theme of undulating lines for the images.

Teurastamo is a food incubator/catalyst for food culture in Helsinki. Once a large butcher centre and abattoir, most of the buildings were converted into restaurant spaces and multi-use rooms. To further the use of the spaces into the evening, a night market was produced. The history of the space was central to the design. From a small directory of the original floor plan, a custom typeface was made from the original hand-lettered sample. It was then taken into a bold weight and used on the poster. To highlight the type yet to also evoke the night, a simple use of type printed with high gloss varnish on black paper was used. Initially and in a somewhat ironic fashion, the varnish was supposed to be glow in the dark ink, but because of the near-midnight sun in Helsinki at the time of the festival, it was discovered that it wouldn’t have worked.

Edmonton holds North America’s largest Fringe Theatre Festival by attendance; something that I find indicative of the experimental nature of the city. I was asked to do the highly visible campaign poster for a few years which was truly a great honour. From the poster, the elements of the system are broken apart and used on everything to tie the festival together. From the program to the signage, little is untouched by the yearly theme. For Fringeopolis, a custom typeface of futuristic buildings was made. A great use of the elements was when they were hand painted onto the ground to mark the many busker stations.

Other campaigns were “From Fringe with Love” which was inspired by old James Bond movies and the prevalence of one-man shows in experimental theatre. “Village of the Fringed” used a custom typeface and built specifically on a radial grid.

This small booklet was made as a preliminary textbook and course syllabus for an instructor at the Simon Fraser University (SFU). It attempts to create a more poetic approach to the course and subject matter by reinterpreting the course syllabus and textbook as an artefact/art piece of the course. By doing so, it reframes the course as an experience rather than a formal, lecture-based classroom with the same existing hierarchies of instructor and student. It attempts to create a more engaging experience which is how SFU approaches pedagogy and its relationships with the world.

Making a poster is always a highlight. For me, posters are the extension of graphic design and image making into the public realm forming the visual identity of a place. It seems that every city has a different aesthetic and it subtly spreads itself by remaining passive in the background yet also active in space. Even global brands often adapt themselves to the look of place while maintaining its brand. It is like having to wear the same wardrobe differently when appearing to different people.

Mile Zero Dance: As the season is planned well in advance, it made sense to turn the homepage into a calendar which displayed each event chronologically. Recurring events were made to be smaller, and other aspects, such as volunteering or studio rentals, were also included on the website in different coloured modules.

Vicca Program, Visual Culture, Curating and Contemporary Art Program at Aalto University: This website uses simple columns to display the information.

Installed on the outside of a transit station, this public art piece intends to create curiosity into the biodiversity of Alberta as passengers wait for their bus. The animals, all drawn on a system of a grid, creates consistency and abstracts the animals such that they are visually cohesive. The image is printed onto high-density laminate panel to outlast the temperature variation in Edmonton where -30° to +30° is common. This illustration was featured in the 2011 Communication Arts Illustration Annual.

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We are the dream-animals and the dream-people. Our world begins with you right here, right now. Start with a single letter, a shape, a colour . Add another, and then another. Put us together, take us apart, move us around. Find a pattern that tells a story.
This installation was made for the Art Gallery of Alberta’s BMO World of Creativity, in other words, the children’s room. This is probably one of my more challenging projects, as the room had to be safe and durable (as there is no provided supervision) but it also had to be entertaining. I now understand why playground design is its own specialized field.
For the room, I explored the creation of a culture through creating basic visual rules; everything must be built on a rigid grid sytem and the only colours that could be used were red, yellow, blue, black and white. It was an investigation on how a culture’s values are expressed in their visual language.

A sound floor (whose sounds could be changed), a cryptography mural and an origami table were made. Canadian writer Thomas Wharton was commissioned to write a short story for the cryptography wall (above) and sound artist Mark Hannesson created the noises for the floor. The cryptography illustration was a 2012 American Illustration Selected pick.

This graphic narrative is an idea that I wish to explore further. It’s not so much about a story but a system of grammar and language visualization. The frames of the image represent the verb tense of the elements (i.e. past, present future, conditional, etc.). and the colour indicates whether it is a verb or noun.

Although this system most likely has an English and French grammar bias, one could possibly use this system to develop their own grammar rules. One example would be to cast tense onto the noun, rather than the verb. One could say/write something like, “the past-person eats the past-apple (delicious), at the past-store”. Inefficient but possible.