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  • Andrew Gardner

Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month


For the month of May we at the UNCG University Libraries wanted to highlight and celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. In light of the increased violence against Asian Americans in the past few years, we thought it important to expand our usual Themed Content reach to include several physical displays and an online social media campaign.

Similar to other Themed Content campaigns the designs will coincide with a digital resource site as well. Curation of library materials that will be used for the display and for the resource site should be done with the assistance of those in the Diversity Commitee. Imagery should reflect the complexity and nuance of AAPI identities and should avoid stereotyping and anything too specific to one identity or community. Final approval for sketches and imagery will be given by those deciding members of the Diversity Commitee.

In total there will need to be 4-6 unique designs that can be formatted into 4 11x17 posters and a varying amount of digital marketing collateral including social media sizing, email distribution and website imagery. Select resources should also be used in a physical display also to advertise the collection curated by the Diversity Commitee.


My role in most Themed Content projects is imagery and curation. For themes that deal with specific identities and communities, however, I reach out to the surrounding academic community for people who are experts in the area and perhaps have personal connections with the themes we are working on. For Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month I turned to our institution's Diversity Commitee members of AAPI heritage to assist me in making decisions on imagery and curating the content from our collection to promote.

While meeting with this team we came to the conclusion that no matter what is produced, it needs to be a reflection of the broad scope of the various AAPI communities so that cultural erasure does not occur. We had conversations about how to best do this since balancing nuance with broad strokes can be difficult at times. The concepts we brainstormed showed a connection between various communities and how they relate to one another rather than distinguishing one from the other. For example, one of the concepts was a representation of the stripes of an American flag "bleeding" into representations of different Asian American identities. We did this by choosing flowers from various regions and using that element to showcase that community within an American symbol.

The way I normally begin working on visuals is to take any of my ideas, brainstorms and mood boards into a sketchbook, or in this case Adobe Fresco, and do varying sketches of concepts. Sometimes an idea only needs to be penciled out like the "Stop Asian Hate" poster. Others need more rough rendering so that I can get a better idea of what the final piece will look like and you can see that I did that more with the other pieces.

In addition to the AAPI Floral Flag that I mentioned before I conceptualized three other pieces. One was a simpler design which infused activist language into the campaign with the popular hashtag "#StopAsianHate". Another is based off the cover of a central book that was added to the collection curation. Finally, the last one melts together recognizable imagery from various communities and traditions into a single graphic landscape.


The final versions of the main pieces of imagery above were created completely within Adobe Illustrator using the appropriate brand guide colors and fonts. I tride to stick with a pattern of two pieces having a more blue and red color story while the others were more yellow and white. Finally, once the images were approved by the Diversity Commitee members, I needed to turn these images into a wide range of digital collateral and incorporate them into the resource Google Site where the collection would be held.

The physical display was installed as well with representations of the collection itself. Since at the time of this project I was fully remote I do not have images of those physical displays.

To explore the google site and the collection curated there, visit

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