Alena Rubin ’18 explores graphic design in Japan


Chronicle Print Managing Editor Alena Rubin ’18 makes pottery in Japan. Photo printed with permission of Alena Rubin ’18.

Sophie Haber

Taking inspiration from Japanese museums, streets and magazines, Chronicle Print Managing Editor Alena Rubin ’18 created a blog and four original graphic designs while on the HWGo! Asia Initiative Fellowship.

Rubin said she focused on the integration of design into practical items that she observed.

“In Japan, they’re a very design-oriented culture, so you would walk down the street and be in a regular drug store and look at the packaging and everything would just be beautiful,” Rubin said.

Her four graphic designs feature elements of distortion and bright colors, inspired by Japanese print design.

“I wasn’t trying to make each piece functional and beautiful at the same time,” Rubin said. “I was trying to play with the questions, ‘why is one thing beautiful while the other is just ordinary? Why isn’t everything beautiful and what do we perceive as beautiful versus not?’”

Rubin said that the experience motivated her to to continue pursuing design in the future.

“I’ve always been into graphic design and it’s something that I’m really passionate about, so I’m really grateful to the school and the HWGo! program for letting me have this amazing opportunity,” Rubin said. “It’s a really unique experience that not a lot of schools offer.”