Photography & Colour Study
For my colour palette, I photographed Chinese markets dotted around South London and used their vivid hues as my starting point for the visual identity of the cookbook.
For my page headings, I was inspired by the logo of the aforementioned Chinatown restaurant, Yming. It's a very subtle detail, but I felt compelled to pay homage to the longstanding eatery in some way:
I went through multiple iterations of the cover page design before settling on one. The first served mainly as a placeholder while I developed an aesthetic rationale. Above all, I sought to keep the symbolism relatively iconographic and identifiable, in a way that nonetheless spoke to the title, Moveable Feast. Cutlery immediately stood out to me as a simple yet effective tool to communicate the distinction in culinary practices, although the idea of a fork and knife used as chopsticks took multiple drafts and probably too much time spent on Illustrator. Although it spoke to the nostalgia factor of many Chinese and Japanese food package I felt that the second version was perhaps too extravagant and playful, especially when juxtaposed with the written content of the cookbook. I took some time away from the cover design, and upon returning with a fresh pair of eyes, I decided to keep the iconography, but to reorient it in some way. Eventually, I landed on my final draft, which was more cohesive with not only the colour palette of the other pages but also in its tone- relatively bright, personalized with illustrations, but still simple.
For the ingredient and recipe layouts, I wanted to establish a fine tuned balance of more generic / universal elements with hyperpersonalized ones. For the photos of the ingredients, I kept them relatively generic so as to underscore the processes of adaptation and substitution that may occur in a recipe as it travels. Likewise, the list of ingredients remained very plain and straightforward, a stylistic choice that was inspired by Clarence Kwan's zine, Chinese Protest Recipes. I felt it attested to the famously vague ingredient lists often shared by immigrant parents, with their measurement units in "finger-sizes" and "dashes". On the other hand, I incorporated very personal elements to these pages; the text annotating the ingredients is from Poornima's handwritten recipe, while the background image is of the view from her bedroom in Singapore.
Clarence Kwan - Chinese Protest Recipes