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Queer Archives

of the Bengal Delta

Queer Archives of the Bengal Delta (QABD) is a digital archival organisation run by a group of South Asian academic researchers from Smith College in Massachusetts, USA. It is a community based digital archive that collects, preserves, and shares social and political memories of Bengal Delta queers. Their aim is to build a collective power through community ownership and intellectual engagement with the memories of queer lives.

Keyword formation &

visual board creation

Shortly after the initial brief and the first meeting with the clients, before putting pen to paper ( more like, putting cursor to screen) I outlined a list of keywords. It consisted of a list of both macro aspects that are related with the organisation. Multifaceted aspects that connect with archiving, intellectual engagement, memories, community building, queer identities etc. Alongside I also gathered a list of characteristics that are unique, special and specific to QABD. With the help of these keywords I could then start gathering a group of imagery that provided a good starting point for rough sketches.

Keyword findings:

Gender, Human, Spectrum, Inclusive, Memory, Cherish, Valuable, Important, SafePeaceful Protest, Roots, Subconscious, CradleFragmentation, Trauma, Social Commentary, Awareness, Diverse, Bengal, Delta, South Asia, Brown Community, Ideology, Rainbow, Ancestors, LGBTQ, Digital, Law, System, Problems of system, Culture, Race, Language, Media, Sound, Interview, Strong, Stories, Life, Age, Visible, Well Defined, Young, Immigration, Soul Searching, Identity, Looking inwards, Crisis, Mental Health, Online, Anonymous and many more.

Design Process

A selected portion of 1000+ images studied during visual information gathering

• Observation - Abundant use of rainbow color.

 

"Queer" associated designs in general looked saturated with the use of rainbow color. It has started to gain an association with lighthearted, joyful, business centric imagery. Moreover, I observed the colors of the rainbow is commonly adapted by companies as a variation of a previously existing, well established logo.

I also took note that QABD is a not for profit, academic, archival organisation that deals with with raw, unfiltered emotion of South Asian Queer migrants, and therefore not consisting of the most easy going characteristics.

• Outcome - Use of a grayscale monochrome color palette

 

As a result of the aforementioned observations, I decided to refrain from using the color of rainbows to depict QABD due to its overuse, western corporate associations and lighthearted undertone. Moreover, due to the organisation being a non-profit venture, I steered towards developing a grayscale monochrome palette which will enable reduce cost during all print publication. 

Focus: Basic shapes

• Observation - There is potential in the Q letterform

At this point of the design process, I took inspiration from the Q letterform and the circular shape. From my experience and initial research done for this project I was aware that "inclusivity" is expressed via circular shapes. Moreover, I realised that a variation of the letterform Q has the potential to be a good fit for a Queer centric organisation. During this process I also started taking notes on how the breakaway point to create the letterform Q can also express fragmentation and dilution of identity.

• Outcome - Deciding to design around the Q letterform

 

This exercise provided a solid direction. However, there were still many more avenues left to explore. 

 

Keyword findings/reflected:

Gender, Human, Spectrum, Inclusive, Memory, Cherish, Valuable, Important, SafePeaceful Protest, Roots, Subconscious, CradleFragmentation, Trauma, Social Commentary, Awareness, Diverse, Bengal, Delta, South Asia, Brown Community, Ideology, Rainbow, Ancestors, LGBTQ, Digital, Law, System, Problems of system, Culture, Race, Language, Media, Sound, Interview, Strong, Stories, Life, Age, Visible, Well Defined, Young, Immigration, Soul Searching, Identity, Looking inwards, Crisis, Mental Health, Online, Anonymous and many more.