Mentorship with Engine Digital

Listen, Gather, Define

Week One


Meet my fabulous mentorship crew! (hee hee)

Matt and Simonne from Engine Digital were the captains of this mentorSHIP and guided us through the 6 week journey.

The first week we started off with an informal meet and greet. Cynthia, Jess, Jaden and I introduced ourselves and did some preliminary brainstorming about what direction we might want to head in.

Jaden and I decided to team up and take this challenge on as an unstoppable team. We both felt doing this project together would give us the experience of not only collaborating with seasoned professionals but also our peers.

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The agenda for the first meeting.

Showing Simonne and Matthew our portfolios was a really helpful exercise of talking about our work. It helped clarify what needs to be tightened up and how to better talk about our work and ideas.

The mentorship was based off how Engine Digital’s approaches client projects. This was a nice way to get a taste of how an agency might approach their work. The brief they proposed, asked the question:

“How would you improve the lives 
of people living in Vancouver through digital?”

We were asked to identify a real need and use existing technology to address this problem.  We presented our work through a three stage process: Plan, Design and Extend.

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The three formal presentations of the three stage design process: plan, design, extend.


Week Two

For the second week we were deep in the middle of the discovery process. Casting a wide net to identify a problem we could address through technology. Jaden and I started with brainstorming around mental health since it was something we were both passionate about. We researched a lot around mental health apps and “E” mental health and how they could be improved. We looked at trial based evidence for how successful these technologies are at helping prevent and support mental illness. From our research three main insights started to emerge:

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Week Three

In the third week we pitched our initial thoughts and ideas in our first formal presentation. Jaden and I looked at exploring solving some aspect of mental health either through an app or through a VR game.

After discussion and feedback, we ultimately decided to go with an app that was built around communication since this was the best way to integrate accessible and customized care into people’s daily lives.

Imagine, Ideate, Explore










personal brand poster

“Reflectively Tenacious.” I chose these two words as my essence because I am constantly processing, analyzing and reflecting on my life and the world around me and I am also so stubborn and unable to let things go once I start them. Even when great obstacles are put in my path, and even though I often feel like giving up and folding up my tent, I always am determined to get back up and keep moving forward. This colours my world and provides the foundation from which I step through life with. It informs my thinking and my problem solving and I think is reflected in my creative process and the way I work.

My accompanying words: empathetic, perseverant, strong, brave and goofy. Although, it is difficult to distill your personality and identity down into five words it is a great reflective exercise to deeply think about how you truly are in the world and what kind of person you want to represent yourself as. I think these traits have been a part of me consistently and have stood the test of time. They are attributes I haven’t been able to shake.

I wanted my statement to be a little provocative and unconventional in tone since I tend to like to approach most things in my life this way. Also being as authentic and real to who I am is really important to me. I don’t want to put on any masks or try to pretend I am something I am not or present some polished version of myself. I want raw, real and unedited because that is what I want to attract into my life.

With all that said, here is my personal brand poster:


editorial layout

opening spread




drop caps, lead-in and pull quotes





I chose to do a digital magazine for this project to try and explore the format and understand the different considerations for digital vs print. I chose the New York Times Magazine as the publication my article would be featured in. Below is a breakdown of their audience.Screen Shot 2018-01-08 at 9.20.54 AM

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My article is from Psychology Today and is about depression. It attempts to uncover the underlying nuance of what causes it and how it is best treated. It draws a comparison of depression to the Greek mythological monster Hydra and how no matter how many times Hercules tries to lop of the heads, they keep growing back similar to the reoccurring nature of depression. The opening spread typographical concept was an attempt to show the reoccurrence of depression. I chose the handwritten font to accompany it for the deck, pull quotes and drop caps because it reminds me of the snakes from the Hydra monster. The article was designed to be read in portrait but it can also be easily flipped on the iPad and be read horizontally.

I would give myself a 7.5/10. I worked really hard to understand the digital approach to layout design and tried to fit my design into the parameters of target audience and style of the New York Times Magazine. In the future I would like to add more interactivity as the user scrolls and reads through the article.

Here is a link to the Invision prototype.



editorial survey

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It was incredibly valuable to survey a magazine before embarking on designing a layout ourselves. It was good to immerse myself into all the details and varying type hierarchy that is involved combined with making the concept of the magazine or article sing through! Having worked in a group it was nice to also compare and contrast how magazines do things similarly or differently based on target market, content, subject matter, etc.

I would give myself a 9/10 on the presentation and survey. I was very thorough in pointing out and finding all the details. There is cohesion and uniformity between all three of our chosen magazine. If I were to do something different next time, I would try to weave comparisons of between the three magazines we chose to make it more interesting and dynamic.

Here is a link to the slides!


people’s choice | kelli anderson


There is thing we do as humans. It happens gradually and incrementally. It sneaks up so slowly on us that most often we are completely unaware we are doing it. It is unconscious, inadvertent—sly. Some people might call it complacency others might use the phrase “taking things for granted.” Irregardless of how you would like to approach this integral part of human existence, Kelli Anderson has found an avenue into disrupting it and telling it quite plainly to screw off! She is a soldier waging a path helping people to wake up and see the wonder, beauty and possibility of what is right in front of us.

I saw Kelli Anderson, this May at the Design Thinkers conference, do a talk entitled “The Hidden Talents of Everyday Things.” You can watch this same talk right here:

She is quirky, bubbly and very nerdy—all in the most admirable and awe inspiring way. Her approach to her work is underscored by this self-proclaimed concept she calls “Disruptive Wonder.” The concept can be summarized as the shattering of our expectations and assumptions of reality and gazing at it from new and unexplored angles and perspectives. This struck me as a very poignant approach that very closely links into what Design Thinking embodies and attempts to disseminate.

“I think everyday, fundamental things and experience frame reality in a way we often take for granted. So the small things we make, can work to reinforce our assumptions about the world or small things can come out of left field and jar us into reassessing our complacent expectations about reality.”

To demonstrate this concept at work in the real world she talked about three of her personal projects:


    When rituals start becoming empty gestures we begin to take them for granted. So she used the memory of paper via folds to have a holiday card that tells a story about receiving a holiday card.


A 4-frame looping animation about the act of opening the card… over and over again.

Recursive bending holiday card



    What do you get when you take a piece of paper, fold it and combine it with a sewing needle? If you guessed a record player…you’re right! Kelli designed a wedding invitation for her friends that when folded and hand spun, yields a garbled, but scrutable listening of an original song by the couple. So cool right??

    Watch the video here



Kelli and friend created a counterfeited New York Times Newspaper and handed them out to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers on their morning commutes. The idea was to challenge our expectations of media that we do not necessarily need. Such as:

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They created a utopian newspaper to reimagine what the world would might look like if some needed policy was put through or cultural values and systemic norms shifted.

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All of this is to mess with the complacency of the rational and to challenge the existing order of the world that doesn’t necessarily deserve our respect. To wake people up to the democracy that they should actively inhabit instead of just sleepwalking through their lives thinking they don’t have any power to effect change. Collectively can! So…..

  1. Rejecting Normal Order
  2. Messing Things Up
  3. Rearranging the Pieces

As Kelli Says this can:

“…expand our notion of what we demand from reality. An avenue to better is through a million teeny tiny disruptions to whatever is sitting right in front of you”



indigenizing idea

This project was much more than just a project for me. It was an uncovering of so much of North America’s (or Turtle Island’s) past that I was never taught in my formative years at school. While researching for this project I found myself overwhelmed with so many different emotions: shock, horror, rage, sadness, awe, etc. I found that as I peeled back the layers and the more I dug deeper the more complex and ugly the history of our country’s colonization became.  How has it taken so long for there to be initiatives like Truth and Reconciliation to become integrated into helping right the horrors that were the residential schools, the stealing of land, the dishonouring of treaties, etc? While in the meantime corruption, racism, segregation, ignorance, poverty, intergenerational trauma has become pervasive? How could history books omit so much of the grave realities faced by aboriginal people? It makes me angry. I feel betrayed and at a conceptual loss for the identity of this country because  everything I thought I understood was fed to me from a narrow colonizers perspective with so much of the history swept under the rug or omitted.

While researching about colonization and the atrocities faced by First Nations people I couldn’t help draw parallels to the systemic racism and segregation experienced by black people in 1950’s America before the Civil Rights movement.  AND IT’S 2017!? How is this still happening in this country?? We Segregated them to reserve land with no economy after we took away their land, their kids, their culture, their subsistence. This is a systemic and monumental failure of this country. It is NOT and Indigenous problem it is a Canadian problem!

So what could I possible come up with to contribute to this huge challenge and the righting of so many wrongs? Well,  I decided that the best medium and platform in 2017 would be to design a website for a fictitious podcast called “This Indigenous Life” based off the critically acclaimed NPR produced podcast, “This American Life.” The fabric of this podcast would be a colourful mosaic of themes, topics and accounts of Canadian history and an up to date perspective of the issues currently facing the Indigenous people. The podcast would showcase different Indigenous and Non-indigenous leaders, but would have a main focus in investigative journalism with rich story-telling woven in. Topics may include: The Indian Act, Residential Schools, Treaties,  What are some roles Non-Indigenous people can play in helping recognize and reconcile with Indigenous people?, etc.

Reconciliation Canada would be my client so I chose their main brand colours of red and blue as the theme for the podcasts website. My target audience would be men and women, age 18-35 years old since that generation missed out on a proper education of these issues and are the largest demographic that listens to podcasts. The tone would be: educational, informative, powerful, inspiring. I chose painted in images because it is up to us as Canadians to paint in the gaps of knowledge and pave a new way forward for the next 150 years. I chose painted type to connect with the roots based feel of the podcast brand. I would give myself an 8/10. I worked hard on this project and spent many hours just self educating myself about the realities and true history of Indigenous people.  Trying to get a better grasp of the complexities. I have merely touched the tip of the iceberg and am excited and engaged to learn more.


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CONTACT PAGEcontact-us

vancouver honeybees: mobile site


I wanted to re-design Jenny’s website starting with a mobile first design. Since most people use their smart phones to look up services like Jenny’s it was important to start from that place. Translating the design into other device formats then is quite a smooth process as there are less size restrictions and the general design principles generally stay the same.

First, I started my research looking for inspiration on the Awwwards websites and looking at things like UI, UX and e-commerce design. I applied a lot of different websites UX principles to my design to make the experience of Jenny’s website as smooth as possible. Second, I engineered  a mood board to elucidate the overall aesthetic of the design. Third, I began mapping out with wireframes a slight overall of the sites original architecture and navigation. It became obvious that certain menu labels needed improvement to clarify for the user exactly what and where the website would be taking them. For example, I split ‘Become a Beekeeper’ and ‘In Community’ into several menu categories: ‘Services’, ‘Shop’, ‘Community’ and ‘Learn.’ It was also necessary to add and delete some sections either because (as Jenny voiced) she wanted to get out of the honey products and more into serving the community at large and attracting more urban beekeepers to contribute to sustainable and local food systems. For example, I added content to the ‘Buzzfeed’ section which would act as a blog and timely information space. I deleted the ‘Honey House’ section to appease Jenny’s request to slow that side of her business down and add instead pages that could be part of an e-commerce shop for people wanting to buy her apiary packages. Lastly, I applied all the branding guidelines by the other Honeybee groups to the overall execution of my site. Once my prototypes were rendered, I loaded them into my Invision account and added Interaction hotspots and elements to make the website functional.


I would give myself a 9/10. I really worked through the problem from the perspective of the user without losing Jenny Ma’s overall warm, grassroots feel of her company. UX and UI design is a very iterative process and is a considerable task to surmount. It involves so many different screens (or puzzle pieces) and trying to make them all seamlessly fit together without disrupting the experience or confusing the user all the while maintaining the brands principles integral to the look and feel of the design. There are also so many things to consider about the design when thinking about making your site and design responsive to different sized devices. It felt like I could always have done more, tweaked something there, shifted something there, added some interaction here, another one there—endless possibilities and opportunities! Part of why I find interaction design is so much fun!

Overall, this project felt very rewarding. It was nice to work on a real clients problem and come up with solutions that felt representative of them and their company. Plus meeting Jenny over Skype and getting a feel for her personality and vision was motivating for me to come with a design that embodied that passion. I look forward to coming back to this project in the future to expand on the interaction of the site as well as translate the design to desktop and iPad versions.

Here is a Mockup PDF of the screens:


And finally, here is the link to the Invision Prototype 

Editorial Design


I decided to do my magazine spreads for The New York Times Magazine (NYTM) which seemed an appropriate choice since the articles were written for the New York Times. I took the the same bold and vibrant approach reminiscent of the NYTM brand with big punchy san serif typography and smooth transitions of type hierarchy. I put a crown hanging off the ‘N’ at the end of the headline  “Time to Hang Up the Crown” since NYTM often has photography interacting with the typography. I chose bold San Serif and large text to make as much impact as the controversial pick of  Wonder Woman as the U.N. ambassador for female empowerment. I used a vintage photo of Wonder Women with her head and legs cut off to emphasize the fact that she is crossing her arms in an ‘X’ to symbolize her being dropped by the UN as ambassador. Conceptually I used a rope superimposed on top of the Wonder Woman lasso  and continued it on the second spread with a fray in the rope to further drive home the break off and separation away from Wonder Woman.

I would give myself an 8/10. I am generally pleased with the layout and aesthetic. I feel like it reads well and I tried my best to organize the type hierarchy to fit within the bold theme.


Design Resumé

I decided to try and stand out from the crowd of hundreds of other resumes by tilting my text dynamically back and forth. This represents my ability to see things from multiple perspectives and angles. Since I used spatial design to make my resume dynamic I kept my typefaces modern and minimal so it is neat and easy to read. I made my personal statement informal and driven by storytelling to succinctly capture my essence. I chose cobalt blue to represent the open ocean and capture my depth. I used my nickname “Rhianimal” to showcase my goofiness and ability to be playful but put it in brackets to also show my professionalism. I would give myself a 3/5. Although I experimented and tried to be bold with layout I think I might also lose points with some perspective employers due lack of expanded information on my former experience.

Here is my resume below: resume




Writing a manifesto is something that I think is important to do but very difficult thing to tackle. To remain succinct but also convey a depth of meaning. I read all of these manifestos and the ones that resonated the most was Bruce Mau and the Riot Giirls manifestos. They are both genuine, succinct and pack a powerful message.

I wanted to experiment with type and shift the direction of the type as a means of saying that design needs to be approached from different perspectives and angles. I chose a stark, grey background to represent that nothing in life is black and white and all things are grey. I used a human hand holding and offering up some flowers and means to bring a connection the fact that the way we handle the earth and our designs are in our hands.

I would give myself a 6.5/10. I feel like although there are dynamic elements and a good start to well written manifesto it definitely need a lot more refinement. I also feel like the poster doesn’t truly represent my personality. I also feel that my writing is too stiff and formal and not as approachable as I would have liked.