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It Gets Worse

An interactive publication about the hidden tragedies of North Korea.

The publication connects to a computer via USB, and allows the reader to access further information by pressing touch points embedded within the publication.
Original words 0
Pages lovingly stab bound 0
Touch points screen printed 0
Corresponding animations 0

Idea progression.

With this project from the outset I wanted to challenge myself. I wanted to create an output that served as a to reflect a combination of expertise and skills I had built up over my degree and career to that point. The brief was simple, make any outcome that is centred around the theme of Misinformation. Through my research I had come across an array of advertisements that had been altered for the middle east market to cover up what they believed was overly sexual imagery. This resulted in badly photoshopped clothing, and even a pool model being replaced with a beach ball. It made me want to further explore what other non Western countries censored. I had planned on exploring censorship throughout the Middle East, China, Russia and of course North Korea. Due to time constraints, like with most projects, I had to make a decision of where to prioritise focus. This resulted in making the decision to exclusively focus on North Korea.

During the process of finding a focus, I was also exploring different mediums to take. I focused my searches around exisiting projects that used a combination of digital and print. After coming across the project Elektrobiblioteka, designed by Polish designer Waldek Wegrzyn, I knew how I wanted to marry print and digital for myself. Unlike Wegrzyn where he used the book was able to navigate a website by page turns, I was going to utilise touch.

Under the pump

I had fourteen weeks from the initial concept to have the publication ready for exhibition. During this time I strived to self produce as much of the publication as much as I could manage. This included researching and writing almost 14,000 original words, designing the layout, typesetting, screen printing the conductive buttons, binding the pages, and creating 14 accompanying animations.

I worked closely with Dr. Indae Hwang to complete the circuitry, coding and Touch Designer aspects of the publication. The cover had to be custom made to accommodate the Arduino board. I engaged Whites Law Bindery to create the cover solution I provided.


Getting close to losing it

The whole process of creation was incredibly stressful, and expensive. In hindsight the project would of made a lot more sense as an honours project where a lot more exclusive time could have been put into it. The timeframe was extremely tight to create something this ambitious, even without having other projects to complete simultaneously. Problems continued to come up. The production of the cover was delayed, and upon pickup the spot uv was missing on the front; I only just managed to get into the screen printing lab to print the touch buttons, as they had closed for the end of year break; and I had to rebind the pages multiple times as the sensors were not responding properly.  Three hours before our graduate show opening it was only just working with one touch point still unresponsive. Due to the cost of materials and the deadline fast approaching, I hadn’t been able to test with the conductive paint as much as I would of liked. The paint was water-based, and like most exhibition openings there were drinks and as a result wet hands smudged the paint. Upon collection of the publication after it had been on display for two weeks it was no longer working at all.


Silver lining

As much as this publication gave me infinite panic attacks, it also gave me a solid direction in the sort of design I want to do. It is also undoubtedly one of the main reasons I secured my role at Sandpit where I’m doing this kind of work as part of a great team.

I have never been so proud of a project.


3.5 months


Alternate Gothic No3 D Regular, Museo Slab - 500, and Museo Slab - 100.


Pages printed by Print Corner, Melbourne. Cover fabricated by Whites Law Bindery, Melbourne.

Progress imagery