What happens when an aesthetic begins to obscure culture & design possibilities?

Objects in colored starred circles with text “you know you want it.”
Objects in colored starred circles with text “you know you want it.”
Hold up. What do you really (really) want?

The Instagram ads you are mysteriously compelled to click on are slowly molding your style preferences. You know the ad with the perfect looking french bulldog wearing the sleek pink harness for purchase. The dog is walking toward their monochromatic-outfitted-owner standing against a bold orange studio backdrop. You can’t forget about the expected Sans Serif typeface with a pre-destined personality.


The perils and liberations of every day being the same.

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The story arc of eating a cookie is quite complex (and dare I say thrilling).

This is not a reflection of 2020. The year where everything seemed to crash and burn leaving us with a lingering splash of disbelief and hysteria. As I write this on December 30th with two nights away from 2021, it all feels extremely anticlimactic.

This is a story about cookies.

Just before we propel into a new year I devoured the novel Anxious People by Fredrick Backman. It was a page-turner. The majority of the story takes place in one scene: an apartment open house that turns into an unintended bank robber hostage situation. …


Embracing bioregionalism in an attention economy.

Photo collage of a bird, human, and flower.
Photo collage of a bird, human, and flower.
Hey, I’m still here. I’ve been here all along.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about what goes into the things we care about. From my deep dives into random topics, I would enter as a skeptic and emerge from the surface with a new interest (staring into the abyss wondering why it took me this long). Jenny Odell’s book How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy discusses how investing in care and rest can be equally productive as devoting every part of our being to the innovation and disruption cycle.

How can designers strengthen their ability to pinpoint their blindspots and know where to explore further? It has become…


Andy Warhol style digital art with a women wearing a mask in colorful silk screen colors in a repeated grid.
Andy Warhol style digital art with a women wearing a mask in colorful silk screen colors in a repeated grid.
PSA: Forgetting one’s mask is a downright tragedy.

It’s still hazy on where we stand on the progression of COVID-19 cases, but the country is beginning to re-open. Andy Warhol’s Death and Disaster series remind us that as we begin to resume our “regular” lives we risk becoming desensitized to the whirlwind of visceral emotions engendered by the pandemic. Is it strange how I no longer feel anything when listening to or reading the news?

Warhol’s iconic silkscreen prints with highly saturated colors are part of his signature style. Some question the banality of his pop-art. To them, I say, “Oh you’re in for a ride.” The Death…


Designing to disrupt AI assistants.

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These smart assistant devices are placed in the most intimate areas of our living spaces. My family has two Alexa and two Google Home devices that are primarily used for music (or to put an end to a trivial debate). By 2021, it’s predicted in an UN report that there’ll be more digital voice assistants than people on the planet — I’ll give you a moment to let that sink in.

Through speculative design as a mode to critique existing technology and imagine a new future, I want to explore how IoT devices can be more transparent in data collection…


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Growing up, the struggle to return public library books was all too real. For starters, it was a hassle to remember when to pick up or return books, I couldn’t mark up the pages, and there was always a limited selection on-site. With Amazon, it has become easier to purchase books with 2-day shipping but overtime it becomes impractical financially and detrimental for the environment. Last year, I invested in a Kindle Paperwhite and since then I’ve become an informal spokesperson for it. Before that, I nodded my head in doubt alongside other avid book readers. No way could an…


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Elbow-high-five.

In nearly every facet of our daily lives, changes and cancellations have been occurring at an abrupt pace. This pandemic has created a new reality for people across the globe — a virus revealing just how easy our sense of normalcy can be shattered. There are cities, streets, and buildings that are eerily quiet. At home, we’re left with loud, stress-inducing, and confusing headlines on our phones. All while thousands of people fight for their lives with thousands of healthcare professionals at the frontlines risking their safety.

I’m doing my part in social distancing, but meanwhile, I thought it’ll be…


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I painted 50+ square chips, photographed 20 different angles of twirled paper strips, drew 30 two-point perspective cubes, and storyboarded 10 ways to catch a mouse. These are just some of the tasks I completed during my first quarter at the University of Washington School of Design.

From the outside, it seems confusing why a student interested in UI/UX and product design would spend time with this sort of coursework. I’ve noticed an underlying side-eye toward work spent off the screen that’s unrelated to tackling the hottest problems in the tech industry. However, we have to start somewhere. …


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What’s fueling that fire as you take your first step towards the top?

Last week I attended the Live Más Scholarship Workshop in San Francisco along with 30 other recipients. Here are 6 takeaways:

  1. Get people to “own it.” Meg Garlinghouse, Head of Social Impact at LinkedIn, discussed the intersection of technology and social impact. How do we get people to show up and think differently? She emphasized the importance of not only questioning the system but also seeding questions in people as a catalyst for change.
  2. You can push yourself further than you think. Before the networking session, we did a simple activity of planting our feet in place while rotating as…

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I came across an article that recommended the 2017 documentary Maurizio Cattelan: Be Right Back. I became intrigued by this so-called art-world prankster. Cattelan entered the art scene to avoid the dangerous paths of poverty. The commentators in the documentary address in the beginning how Cattelan’s approach in art was to strike success. From gluing his artwork on FLASH ART magazines to faking a robbery at his art-less art show, it seems like the mantra “fake it until you make it” was taken literally.

Yuna Shin

Interaction design student @_uwdesign. Documentarian. Seattle. yuna-shin.com.

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