James Gulliver Hancock, is an illustrator originally from Australia and once lived in Brooklyn. He is currently attempting to draw all the buildings in New York. An ambitious task, but whether he completes it or not, he has already made some delightful drawings. Delightful enough that The New York Time recently interviewed him. As you’ll read, he’s since moved back to Sydney, but continues his project using postcards and Google Maps. You can search his website for your building or neighborhood.

By James Gulliver Hancock

A Blog for My Photography

I’ve been lucky enough to travel to different corners of the world, and picked up a love of photography along the way. I recently started a blog – Minjal’s Photography – to share the photos I’m most proud of. The site is still in construction mode, and I’ve got a lot more photography to add, but feel free to check out some of my older work in the meantime. I’m not a professional photographer, but taking pictures has helped me develop a stronger eye. A successful photograph has to be a solid composition, just like a well-designed poster or book layout.

IMG_4784Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia (taken by Minjal Dharia, December 2010)

Lonny Magazine

I just discovered the digital home decor, Lonny Magazine, which is filled with images of gorgeous interiors. And it’s completely free! Thank you Elle Decor for leading me to it. Looks like Lonny has been online since 2009, so I’m late to the party, but that’s okay because all of the back issues are available on the site.

Check it out, but don’t blame me if you get lost inside for a few hours. And if that’s not enough, Lonny also has quite a few boards you can follow on Pinterest.

Truth

“We live in a world where we are taught from the start that we are thinking creatures that feel. The truth is, we are feeling creatures that think.”

[JILL BOLTE TAYLOR, neuroanatomist]

Kate Spade Saturday’s Digital Signage


Kate Spade reinvented some of its retail spaces when it rolled out iPad signage for its Kate Spade Saturday stores. The Saturday line is the more affordable and casual line of the brand. The Tokyo stores are the first to get these new displays, and New York is to follow.

The iPads will display information about nearby products such as videos, marketing messages, style suggestions and most interestingly, user-generated images to encourage customer engagement. The project was spearheaded by New York City tech design firm, the Control Group.

This move is innovative for multiple reasons. The iPads can replace mannequins and allow for store managers to update in-store displays more easily and frequently, and without disturbing the sales floor. Consumers who normally search for fashion inspiration and plan outfits online can now do it in a retail environment.

From an efficiency standpoint, if Kate Spade wants to promote a particular item globally, it can now do so by simply updating their iPads across all of their stores. The digital display capability will allow managers to measure the results of their displays faster. They can see the impact of sales corresponding with a change in display.

I am impressed with Kate Spade’s ingenuity and surprised that more fashion stores haven’t done this already. Gathering customer tastes and preferences in real-time has great potential and I can’t wait to check out a store in person once this is rolled out in NYC.

Concluding thoughts on thesis

My thesis on documenting Indian American history reflects almost two years of work. I have always been a lover of history and the institutions and media that exist to preserve it. Being Indian American, the people and their culture have intrigued me for personal reasons, as well as academic motives. The rapid growth of this population and its assimilation into American society are topics worth exploring. Indian Americans have come a long way since they started arriving to America in the 19th century. They are now a sizable and successful community in this country and it is time they start honoring the journey that has gotten them this far.

Working with the Smithsonian Institution’s Indian American Heritage Project brought on its share of challenges and opportunities. At times, it was difficult to reconcile the design vision I had with the realities of working with a client who came with a set of requirements and limitations. However, these challenges were more than offset by knowledge that I was partnering with such a reputable institution on an effort that will live well beyond the pages of a paper.

I am now done with thesis (and my degree at Pratt!), but I have plans to continue working with the IAHP over the next year, and perhaps even longer, as they plan the opening of the Beyond Bollywood exhibition, raise awareness among Indian Americans and develop new initiatives.

Final thesis exhibition at Pratt

Final thesis exhibition at Pratt

Final work for the Smithsonian’s IAHP

The IAHP didn’t have a large enough budget to spend on a designer. As such, no branding for the exhibition’s marketing collateral had been set, and the materials in circulation did not have a cohesive look or a well-executed design. The department had not been successful in getting a significant number of submissions. The goal of my design work is to encourage contributions and raise general awareness that an exhibition on Indian American history was being planned. So, without further ado, here are the pieces I completed for the IAHP.

thesis_all_work

In addition to the above, I updated the Facebook profile page for the IAHP that is consistent with the new designs. The Facebook page serves as a place for younger Indian Americans to learn about the IAHP and the exhibition, as well submit their photos and stories directly to the APA.

Screen Shot 2013-03-08 at 3.27.38 PM

A survey’s results

IndianAmericans_Infographic

In order to understand how Indian Americans feel about their history, heritage and living in the United States, I conducted a survey over the spring that ultimately collected 151 responses. The survey was designed to have a different set of questions for Indian immigrants and first or later-generation Indian Americans who were either born in the U.S. or had spent the majority of their lives here. After answering a few basic demographic questions (e.g., age, sex, country of birth, current location), the survey takers were split into two groups. Immigrants answered questions regarding the reasons they came to the U.S., what their early experiences were like, and how they felt today about living in the U.S. The first-generation Indian Americans were asked questions about growing up between two cultures and how this influenced their lives.

Both groups were asked open-ended questions on the unique experiences they faced in the U.S. and how they identify themselves between their two cultures. The last section of the survey asked all of the participants their opinions on documenting Indian American history, particularly whether they felt it was important and if they were willing to participate in any relevant efforts. The results of the survey provided valuable insights on present day Indian Americans. For my thesis exhibition, I designed an infographic showing the most compelling results, alongside interesting historical facts.

My photography for the Smithsonian

Back when I was planning to design a digital archive, I had started to take photos around New York City of Indian American events. In April and August, the city had two annual parades, one honoring Sikhs, and another for Indian Independence Day. The IAHP is looking for community-generated content, so when I mentioned that I had taken photographs to Masum, she asked if I would like feature some of them in the future exhibition. Of course, I said yes! The photos selected are shown above.