The Design Macabre

Graduate Thesis

This Graduate Thesis project is linked to my professional interest in branding and personal interest in monsters. The Design Macabre is a collective for designers, artists and creatives built upon the framework of monstrosity. This framework frames monsters as an agent of expression and creativity, beings with the unique ability to Terrorize, Teach and Transform people through their ambiguity, resilience and limitlessness. They can help creative people push the limits of their craft and creativity to the next level. This project represents my ability to dive deep into a research topic and create a comprehensive visual system.

The official mark of The Design Macabre. It is a half of a shadowed face, representing the conscious and subconscious of society and culture.
The mark is modular and can be used to create patterns.

The inspiration behind this framework is research done in Monster Studies, an academic field that explores monsters through the lens of literature, psychology and sociology. The study of monsters in those fields have led to a deeper understanding of how they influence the way we act and think at an individual and collective level. The product of such exploration informs the main purpose of The Design Macabre; to show how one can take such understanding surrounding monsters and apply it to their respective creative practices both conceptually and practically.

In addition to being a repeatable element, the mark also has room for customization. It offers an opportunity for members of The Design Macabre to have a deeper affinity with the collective.

Based on this framework, The Design Macabre aims to equip its members with the knowledge and insights necessary to create the kind of work they want to make, without fear or limits. It also aims to bring together like-minded people in both physical and online contexts where experiences and support are shared, ideas are spread and transformation can occur.

These posters illustrate how 3D typography reflects the monstrous; an expressive element that twists and writhes across compositions, breaks through grids and lunges at the viewing audience.
These tenet posters will primarily be seen in public contexts through wildposting to capture the attention of audiences.

To educate members of The Design Macabre with the visual and conceptual vocabulary of monsters, there will be a series of retrospective events that dive deep into common monster archetypes seen in media such as vampires, zombies, werewolves and ghosts.

Images in the collective's visual system are treated in a collage style that is loose, organic and textural.

To promote an understanding about how monsters can teach us how to be creative, The Design Macabre will host a speaker series, featuring notable creatives from across discipines to discuss how monsters have played a role in their process.

Potential speakers for the Series include creatives such as filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro in addition to academics like Dr. Emily Zarka.
These posters would be placed in places of interest such as cultural centers, museums and colleges.
In addition to the Speaker Series, retrospectives on past creatives who have worked with monsters will also be held to celebrate and learn from their contributions.
Social media will be used to attract new members and keep existing ones current with everything related to The Design Macabre.
Members of The Design Macabre can make their experience more ownable using Mark Your Mark, a web-based app that lets members create a custom version of the collective’s mark for use in materials.
The Design Macabre can also host larger events such as conferences where like-minded creatives can network, attend presentations and workshops related to applying the monstrous.
Members can also sport their custom mark on a lanyard at events.
Scroll: The visual language of The Design Macabre is extended to the design of its website, where one can learn more about the collective.
The website is also where one can purchase merch through the online store.
Given it’s association with monsters, The Design Macabre can offer small press editions of notable monster and horror related books to audiences. The dust jackets employ the collective’s 3D typography.
When the dust jacket is removed, the interior hardcover sports a bespoke mark.
As a way for members to proudly represent The Design Macabre, merchandise such as canvas bags, pins, badges and t-shirts will be available.
Cover of the Thesis book, which features the research and process informing this project. To view a digital copy, click here.