Melissa Marciniak

My environment contributes to a large part of my inspiration, I can always find something that can transpire into my work in some way.

About

I am Toronto and Guelph based designer. I merge my two passions design and art within my work and take inspiration from my surroundings; I believe that this helps step outside the box or to create in a different way.

How would you describe your design style?

I would describe my design style as refined arts and crafts. Meaning using handcrafted elements with computer generated elements together to create something that is uncommon.

What is your favourite typeface?

Georgia. Ever since I can remember I’ve always liked Georgia, in high school when the requirement for any writing assignment was Times New Roman 12 point font. I got bored of it so I would use Georgia and get comments from teachers saying I needed to use Times New Roman.

Other than design, what creative fields interest you most?

I love all areas of the arts whether it be theatre, music, or art. I think each area is so different within their own means, but they can come together to create something cohesive.

How would you describe the colour yellow to someone who has never seen it?

Yellow can feel warm and soft, but sometimes it can be sour and sharp.

Design Interests

Typography
Typeface Design
Editorial and Book Design
Branding and Identity Design

Find me

Website

Surround

Introduction

For my thesis I wanted to explore the topic of mental health and to merge that with one of my passions being music. In the beginning stages of the project, through research I found that teenagers used music as a form of distraction. This led to the connection of mental health, specifically anxiety, because there has been more awareness of mental health becoming more prevalent with teenagers. From this I was able to form the question of how can we create a positive conversation around anxiety with teenagers using music as a form of therapy?

The Exhibition

The solution to this was to create an interactive exhibition that not only informs teenagers about anxiety but also to help identify teenagers who might deal with it and not realize what anxiety is. This problem needed to be addressed because of the social stigma around mental health and the fact that it is becoming more of an issue with teenagers who might not have the knowledge or resources to identify the problem or seek help with it. The idea of this exhibition was so that it could be located within a school to serve the audience in a better way because if it were in a traditional setting like a museum, teenagers who were only interested in the topic would seek it out. So putting in the venue that they go to every day would serve a larger audience and range of people.

The Process

Looking at an exhibition what I wanted to create were things that would be used around one. So I chose to work on the exhibition space itself, the interaction the participants would do, a take-a-way that highlighted the main facts of the exhibition, as well as event posters. The project started off with the naming considering the subject of the exhibition was anxiety and music I wanted the name to encompass this, and that’s where the name Surround came from. When thinking about the word surround it fits with music because the brain automatically links it with sound and then the feeling of anxiety is something that a person can’t shake off it closes in on them. This idea of surrounding is followed throughout the exhibition because of the way I designed the space to have a circular shape so it feels not only smaller in comparison to a square, but the way the walls are also the screens the interaction the participant was doing would make them feel like they were in that scenario.

When entering the space the participant would first see an information wall that included what the exhibition was about, what anxiety is and the common forms of anxiety with teenagers. The space contains six screens to use at one time with ipads accompanied for the participant to interact with in conjunction to what is on the screen, I only wanted six because of how the flow of people would work within the space as well as the intimacy of the space so people wouldn’t crowd other people while interacting. Leaving the space the participants are encouraged to view the last wall, which summarizes the main points of the exhibition as well as grabbing a take-a-way with the same information on it.

The posters are the vehicle in which the brand of the exhibition is seen. The concept behind the posters are the idea of a person and their new self and old self, meaning what they felt like when anxiety was an issue they dealt with and then now how they feel with knowing how to deal with their anxiety. The images represented on the posters are featured in different places throughout different points of the exhibition.

The take-a-way as mentioned served the purpose of being a reminder of for the participants of what they learned from the exhibition and how to use music in anxious situations as well as something they could refer back to. It was designed so that the participant could keep it on them or use it as poster in their locker or at home.

Conclusion

Surround is the solution to the question how can we create a positive conversation around anxiety with teenagers using music as a form of therapy, because it gives the opportunity to learn about mental health in an open environment that is informative yet fun for the core demographic of teenagers.

See more of my work at the graduate showcase