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Welcome to
My Mind on 3000

That’s just a phrase I often use for myself when doing any form of work. It essentially means I’m having an overwhelming amount of thoughts all at once.  

Growing up, I was definitely the chaotic artist of my family. Honestly, I like to think I was born for art. My initials are in fact ART – unintentional, but beautiful nonetheless. As I have grown, I have gained structure through learning how to design. Throughout my time in university, I developed a strong foundation which allows me to harness these overlapping thoughts into well-designed projects. Let’s take a look at how my process unfolds itself as I created Verity, a product line of trans dolls.


In my third year of university, I had begun publically transitioning. In one of my design classes, I had pitched the idea of creating Black trans/non-binary dolls. I was extremely excited at the thought of me as a little kid to having had a toy like this. Unfortunately, the proposal was declined given the time and circumstances of the class taking place online.

Eventually, I was able to reignite this idea elsewhere. That same semester, I had been taking an Indigenous feminist futures course which required a creative element for our final.  Throughout the course, we had several discussions regarding the effects of the gender binary being heavily indoctrinated in western society via settler colonialism. We also learned how through a heteropaternalist society, children are often overlooked and have their intellegence discredited. Moreover, I decided that my idea for the dolls could do well for my creative final.

First Draft

Through the first version of this project, I was able to produce concept art of the four primary dolls, finalize their backgrounds and the general storyline which connected the group. I eventually decided that the dolls would consist of four roommates living together in Los Angeles. The dolls included:
Namir (She/Her) 
A nineteen-year-old Black muslim woman from Chicago. She attends USC with Sio. She enjoys photography, skateboarding, and fashion. Namir identies as non-binary and transfemme. Non-binary refers to individuals who do not identify as a man or woman. Transfemme refers to a transgender individual who identifies more strongly with their femininity. 

Soleil (He/They)
A twenty three-year-old fashion designer and painter from northern Idaho. He identifies as Two-Spirit which is an umbrella term used in some Native communities to describe individuals who transcend the gender binary.

Kaleo (She/They)
A twenty two-year-old dancer and basketball player from Honolulu. Kaleo idenitfies as Mahu which is recognized as a third gender in Hawaiian/Kanaka Maoli culture.

Sio (He, She, They) 
A twenty one-year-old actress/singer from the Philippines. Sio identifies as genderfluid which refers to an individual whose gender identity and gender expression may change over time.

Second Draft

Going into my senior year, I pitched the project again.
Although I was still unsure of how the project would turn out, I was eager to bring this idea to fruition.

1. Brief
Like all other projects, I first began with a brief which includes:
  • a description of the product
  • an objective or goal supporting the product
  • research about the dolls created 
  • a positioning statement which distinguishes where and how much the product can be purchased for
  • target audience profiles
  • a message directed to the audience
  • beneficial elements of the project
  • quantative means of the project
  • descriptive voice words

2. Mind Map
The mind map is one of the most important factors of my process. Drawing back to this idea of my mind on 3000, mind mapping allows me to get disorganized thoughts out onto paper. I am essentailly allowing myself to write as many words I can think of until I can’t anymore. For me mind mapping can allow for the introduction of concepts, but it can also just be a space to release any rudimentary ideas.

3. Naming
Naming can be a trickier part of my process. With this project I wanted to draw from words which associated to the idea of transitioning and the transcommunity.
  • Doll House
  • Metamorphasis or Meta
  • Evolution or Evas
  • Thrive
  • Blossom
  • Transcendents
  • Forward
  • Verity
  • Prosperity
  • Tru 

As shown above, I initially chose the name “Doll House” referring to the term “dolls” which is a self-identifiable term used by many trans women. The name “Doll House” also served to recognize that the dolls would be housemates. In the end, I chose “Verity” as it means truth, which is an essential element of transitioning and fully living as your true self. 

My naming process was also coincided by logo development. I wanted to choose a typeface that embodied youthful and modern aesthetics. Ultimately I landed on Dunbar Tall Medium while softening some areas of the letter forms to be more playful and kid-friendly. I also wanted to draw from previous name ideas such as Metamorphasis and Evolution. To do this, I held onto the butterfly motif, seeing as the butterfly is known for the beauty that exists in its transformation.

4. Visual Concepts
Because style are very important aspects of gender expression, fashion was a critical factor for my visual inspiration behind this project. I looked to several fashion illustrations and runway pieces when solidifying the style guide for the illustrations and physical components of this project. 

5. Story Development/Character Design
When bringing my work to class for critique, my peers introduced the idea of including different age ranges of dolls for younger audiences to grow with the dolls. This decision brought about the introduction of two new characters:

A fifteen-year-old aspiring designer. She is the younger cousin of Tala. (Originally “Sio”) Angel identifies as a transgender, meaning she does not identify as the gender she was assigned at birth.

An eleven-year-old child living in Santa Monica with their two moms and five younger sibings. They are the captain of the youth basketball team coached by Kaleo. Noa identifies as Non-binary which  refers to individuals who do not identify as a boy or girl.

6. Package Design
When creating the form of the box, I wanted to implement fluidity as it relates to gender. I also wanted detract from the conventional open front-facing box typically used for doll packaging. I also wanted to craft designs that also recognized the importance of sharing the backstory/background of the dolls. Furthermore, I decided to have an open face on the side of the packaging as well. 

Upon researching other doll packages shown in retail stores, I unsurprisingly came across many shades of pink. I love the color, but not for this. I found that the lemon lime green as a primary color would stand out well while remaining playful and engaging.

7. Illustrations
For the graphics, I wanted to implement two art styles to practice illustrating and because I am very inspired by other productions which use multiple styles within their work to expand visual interest. (Ex. Inside Out, The Amazing World of Gumball, etc.Each illustration generally took two hours to complete.

8. Brand Guideline
By this point in my process, I have accumulated the elements needed to solidify my brand guidline. This includes:
  • logomark variations
  • color palette
  • illustration styles
  • typography system

9. Copywriting
Copywriting was another more difficult portion of this project as I had to flucuate between language more suitable for younger audiences and their parents as well. It was important to vary between personal language from the perspective of the characters and informational language to help audiences when implementing storytelling to the packaging. Although I found this element difficult, I enjoy working through the process of articulating my thoughts onto the work before me.

10. Construction
  • Dolls
Face: After having watched several doll face-repainting videos, I knew I would have to bite the bullet and try it for myself. After wiping off the original faces painted onto the dolls, I would sketch, repaint, and highlight their faces. On average, each doll took an hour to complete.
Hair: For Tala, I repainted his hair from brown to a soft pink. For Namir, Angel, and Noa, I trimmed and reshaped their hairstyles.
Clothes: To creat new outfits for the dolls, I handmade a few of the tops and bottoms shown on Tala, Kaleo, Namir, and Soleil. For the rest, I repurposed pieces from the dolls original clothing items.  

  • Packaging 
In order to create seemless packaging, I needed to create an exterior and interior sleeve. The interior sleeve would allow me to secure the dolls into place with fishing wire while the exterior sleeve would envelop the closures. Using two layers for the packaging also provided more strength and protection for the dolls.

11. Ad Development
When creating the ad concept for the dolls, I initially wanted to draw from the brand tagline, “Playtime should be as fabulous as you are!”; however, while keeping the concept of playtime in mind, I decided to promote the importance of these dolls. Essentially, I asked myself, “Why do we play?” This brought me to the concept of We Play to... This concept allowed me create ads that would engage with both younger audiences and their gaurdians. 

12. Product Photoshoot
The final element of this project was to create a set that would be used to photograph the dolls. Because the story takes place in Los Angeles, I wanted to integrate a beach,summertime ambience into the set design. I also wanted to maintain the childlike energy associated with playtime.To achieve this look, I wanted to use paper crafts to create the scene.
Upon creating this set, I illustrated the sunset backdrop and the pool, created fake concrete blocks for level changes, and created paper leaves and flowers for a fresh and lush feeling.

Every project is different,
but I will always give it my all from process to presentation.
Thank you for listening.

Brand Strategy
Story Development
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