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Book Cover for Death of Innocents. For Milton Glaser's class

Death of Innocents

BOOK COVER: The Death of Innocents is the investigation of a woman who lost 5 children to SIDS, and twenty years later goes on trial for their murders. Her story is intertwined with the history of the world of clinical SIDS reasearch and how the murder of her two children set SIDS reasearch back a decade.

Designed as a class assignment; instructor: Milton Glaser

Book cover for Geek Love

Geek Love

BOOK JACKET: Geek Love is the gritty, epic story of Binewski’s Carnival Fabulon and the family that runs it—Mom and Dad and their children: a boy with flippers, a hunchback albino dwarf, and piano-playing Siamese twins.

Designed as a class assignment for Evan Gaffney

Book cover for fake book about my favorite organ, the kidney. For Evan Gaffney's class


BOOK COVER: Kindey is a new addition to the "Who Knew?" genre, telling the ins and outs of this fascinating and surprisingly elegant organ.

Designed as a class assignment; instructor: Evan Gaffney

Book cover for The Seas for a class with Evan Gaffney. Photo taken at Coney Island; I accidently misfocused and came away with this image

The Seas

BOOK COVER: The Seas tells the tale of a young, sheltered woman, living in a remote coastal town, who believes herself to be a mermaid.

Designed as a class assignment; instructor: Evan Gaffney

Poster announcing lecture by Ellen Lupton Poster announcing lecture by Joyce Rutter Kaye, then Editor-in-Chief of Print magazine

A Tale of Two Posters

POSTERS: Each week, the SVA MFA Design program invites guest lecturers to speak to students and each student is asked to design a poster. On a Monday, one student in the MFAD program left to start his own business. Ellen Lupton was due to come in on Thursday to give a lecture and that student had been assigned the design of the poster for it. I volunteered to do it in his stead. On such short notice, I didn’t have much time to think so I modified an idea I had for the Joyce Rutter Kaye lecture poster. On the other side, the Joyce Rutter Kaye poster was assigned to me in January for a lecture on April 12. I had time to read many back issues of Print, mull, overthink, and redesign.

The Ellen Lupton poster was a Semi-finalist at the 2007 Adobe Design Achievement Awards.

Whiff of Uncertainty: Urban Odor Canopy of Dunkin' Donuts. This is my favorite piece I've ever designed. For Scott Stowell's (awesome) class, Explaining Yourself

The Whiff of Uncertainty

INFORMATION GRAPHIC: During the school semester, a classmate and I would take the same path to the subway home every night, and every night there would be a moment along the way where we caught the distinctive scent of baking at Dunkin’ Donuts. For 11 nights, I recorded the time, location, and duration of the smell and then documented the weather conditions for that time and place, looking for a pattern. Alas, the study was inconclusive.

Featured on First Nerve, Avery Gilbert's blog on the science of smell, and on Mapping Weird Stuff. See also Jodi Pfister's blog where she is developing a Smellscape iPhone app.

Designed as a class assignment; instructor: Scott Stowell

Gosford Park Character Guide. For Stephen Doyle's seminar

Everyone's a Suspect

MAP/INFORMATION GRAPHIC: This map describes the complex relationships in Robert Altman's Gosford Park, one of my favorite films. Click image to enlarge.

Designed as a class assignment; instructor: Stephen Doyle

Fig. 1 Logo: Louise Fili approved! 

Fig. 1Thanks to hand model Marc Rabinowitz

Fig. 297615 : DNA

This E. coli cell has been lysed and its proteins and organelles removed. This bacteria is one of the most studied organisms on earth. It is being used, by manipulating its gene expression, to synthesize new biofuels, print 2D images, and give off the scent of peppermint. It's also a water contaminant and leading cause of childhood diarrhea worldwide.

  Fig. 1: Cholera!Fig. 1: Dr. Snow's map of cholera deaths on a water glass

Fig. 720251 : PROOF

From the Middle Ages to the mid-19th century, it was generally thought that diseases like cholera were spread via foul-smelling air or “miasma.” During an outbreak of cholera in 1854, Dr. John Snow theorized that the disease was caused by germs in contaminated water. His map of the deaths proved that the water from a certain pump was responsible for nearly all of the cholera fatalities.

  Fig. 1Fig. 1: lipid bilayer on a water glass

Fig. 920217 : IN & OUT

Every cell has a thin membrane formed by phospholipids, each of which has a head and a tail. The head is hydrophilic (attracted to the surrounding water) and the tail is hydrophobic (repelled from water). Thus they spontaneously orient themselves into two layers.

Fig. 1

LOGO and PRODUCTS: Science is such an important sphere of culture, affecting all aspects of society. Yet it's not a conscious prescence in most people's lives. Fig. 1 is a brand and line of products that aims to bring the scientific curiosity and discovery to everyday life. Each product bears an image, title, and figure number; the user can visit the Fig. 1 website which gives the breadth of information on each image and it's subject matter.

Designed as part of my MFA thesis; Thesis Advisor: Paola Antonelli

Series of photos of the chair I killed for Kevin O'Callahan's 3D design class. The room was very very dark and all I had was a small flashlight.
Left: as it was presented in a classroom; Right: a close-up of the jars. I used unflavored gelatin to simulate the look of formalin. It gave it a slightly aged and creepy patina.

Malice Aforethought

INSTALLATION: The brief: "Here’s a chair. Make something, anything, based on the words, 'Serial Killer.'" So I bought a chain, a flashlight, a saw, and plastic sheeting. I acquired preservation fluid and jars. I scouted a location where there would be privacy.

Designed as a class assignment. Instructor: Kevin O'Callaghan


Esther is available for design work and can be contacted at mail(at)estherwu(dot)com.