A Tribute: Books that Changed My Life

Before I post my Photo Kathmandu design work, I'm adding something I've been working on in my free time. I have been contemplating applying for grad school to study graphic design at Aalto University in Finland. You know you're doing something good when an assignment has you get-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night-to-jot-down-ideas excited.

Photo by Oza

Photo by Oza

Photo by Oza

Photo by Oza

For the application, the instructions were to make an 8-page, graphic design-oriented memoir style layout, with text. I'm not going to include the text because it's super personal, but I am posting my process and one of the four layouts. I decided to create very different layouts for 4 different books that impacted my life. I've always felt that I could define separate seasons of my life by books.  

I could name way more than four books that impacted and changed my life. But I started with these four: Goosebumps by R.L. Stein (my father who passed away when I was 14 inspired me to read by buying me all the Goosebumps series I wanted growing up), The Bible (for over 7 years I was a self-inflicted, fanatic Christian), Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins and The Passion by Jeannette Winterson (when I read this book I felt I was reading myself to me). The book and layout I was most excited about was "Jitterbug Perfume" by Tom Robbins. I read this book while questioning Christianity and traveling through Nepal. It opened my eyes to a world of living life to the fullest through travel and my mild version of debauchery. 

For this layout I knew I wanted to do hand typography and some type of puja (religious ceremony) to illustrate my move away from Christianity and my travel obsession.


I started with hand drawn typography and a loose idea around using Nepali puja items to layout my text about my move away from Christianity. 


I knew I wanted something striking to fill the typography. One of the main parts of a classic Nepali puja is this bright mixture of dahi (yoghurt) and chamal (uncooked rice). Usually the last part of the puja is when the person blessing you puts a large clump of this mixture on your forehead. I was so incredibly surprised at how beautifully it worked. It really pops against the wood and because it's sticky and wet it really worked great.

Then it was time to gather all the puja items I could find around Kathmandu to create an arial photoshoot that I could then add my memoir text to. I used all very specific puja items. In Nepal, most cultures and people groups have their own puja's all year round that include different items. There may be a few pieces in here that don't go with this puja (the fish are not used in a Laxmi puja but I just loved those fish and also that pink wafer doesn't work, but it was just so pretty). But mainly they are all things used for this particular puja. 

This is the final layout! My text goes in that blank space below the incense sticks. The bad news is that I logged onto the Aalto website yesterday to make sure my layout was not too big, just to double check. Turns out they changed the master's degree completely. It's now an infographic/data/storytelling masters degree and I'm not thrilled about it. I'm still pretty bummed. The application opening is just one month away and they completely changed the master's degree one month before applications opened. I guess I'm not applying anymore. But I learned so much from this and I'm going to use this typography concept later on for something for sure.