Zenobia Ahmed is an independent graphic designer based in Naarm/Melbourne, Australia. Her practice focuses on research, design and social change through experimental publishing [online, printed matter, public interventions] and occasional writing.

mail@zenobiaahmed.com
@zenobiaahmed



DESIGN, RESEARCH, WORKSHOPS, EXHIBITIONS, WRITINGS

  1. Feminist Findings
  2. Every Book is Celebrated
  3. Learning, Living
  4. Matters 4
  5. Fight Convenience Culture
  6. A—Z Alphabet Zine
  7. Outrage! The Social Justice Papers
  8. A treasured private notebook
  9. my parents met at the fish market
  10. Libretto
  11. Urban Codes
  12. Up
  13. Pulse
  14. Lost Words
  15. Refugee Crossing
  16. Posters on Refugee Crisis
  17. Public Notice

Group Exhibition by L.i.P Collective at A—Z, Berlin, 2020

Feminist Findings is the collective research of twenty-six womxn and non-binary people on histories of feminist publishing. The L.i.P Collective—short for "Liberation in Print"—formed during the recent lock-down period.

Feminist Findings presents the L.i.P Collective's research for the first time, taking the form of an exhibition and accompanying zine. Curated and edited by Futuress.

The L.i.P Collective workshop was initiated by Le Signe, the National Centre of Graphic Design in Chaumont, France, as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic. It was run by Nina Paim and Corin Gisel (common-interest) and design journalist Madeleine Morley.

For the L.i.P. Collective’s exhibition at A–Z, Berlin, I designed a website featuring some of the resulting writings from the research on South Asian feminist periodicals and publishers.

Exhibition image credit: Hans-Georg Gaul, A—Z


Every Book is Celebrated

Text published in Feminist Findings Zine, 2020



As part of the L.i.P Collective, I conducted research on South Asian feminist periodicals and publishers: Manushi, Kali for Women and Zubaan. In the process, I interviewed Urvashi Bhutalia, the co-founder of Kali for Women, India’s first feminist press. We talked about how her interest in feminist publishing began, books published by Kali, some memorable projects, forms of publishing, distribution and difficulties faced by small press.

Feminist Findings is a zine and accompanying exhibition of the same name by the L.i.P Collective. It presents stories on the labor, loves, networks, hierarchies, friendships, fall-outs, struggles, victories, economics, designs, and daily lives of womxn in the past working out what it might mean to organize a feminist praxis.

The zine was produced by Futuress during the summer of 2020 following a workshop run by common-interest (Corin Gisel and Nina Paim) and journalist Madeleine Morley, organized by Le Signe, the National Centre of Graphic Design in Chaumont, France.

Text published on Parole, 2020

Part of the Human Interconnection workshop by The Reading School. In April 2020, while the world faced the pandemic outbreak of Covid-19, our group consisting of seven people from around the globe connected online for this workshop. By using a reactive reading and writing method; and through discussions; we shared our inner thoughts and different perspectives on work related experiences of living under lockdown. This text is a collection of some conversations and a series of essays published in Parole.


Parole.cc

Issue 04, Learning the Future
Publication Design, 2020

Matters Journal is a weekly digital and biannual print publication telling interconnected stories from the worlds of arts, design, technology, health, food and the environment. Published by Local Peoples.

Poster Design, Matters Journal, 2020

Poster design for a pseudo-advertising campaign created with Ennic Cehic and Local Peoples for Matters Journal Issue 04. Poster typeface design by Dennis Grauel.

Zine, 2020

The English language – a tapestry of phonetic conventions, irregularities and idiosyncratic loanwords – offers plentiful ammunition to challenging the NATO alphabet’s hegemony. This zine interrogates the notion of a spelling alphabet through the creation of two speculative alphabets: The Casual Alphabet and The Cursed Alphabet. Pages are divided into thirds with each alphabet occupying the same third throughout. Designed with Dennis Grauel.


Email to order a copy

Book Design, RMIT University, 2019

The book is a collection of essays from the Outrage! lecture series (2013–2019), by RMIT Social Works. Featuring texts on forced migration, inequality, equal opportunity, child welfare and aboriginal children, the environment, homelessness and diversity of lived experience.

Artist Book, 2019

The publication was designed for the exhibition, A treasured private notebook by Ella Sowinska and Thea Jones at Metro Arts, Brisbane. It responds to the artists' shared childhood experience of discovering the secret writing practices of their mother.

Exhibition catalogue, 2018

This catalogue was designed on the occasion of the tour of my parents met at the fish market to ACE Open in Adelaide. Originally commissioned by West Space in 2017, my parents met at the fish market is an immersive exhibition by Jason Phu.

The catalogue’s structure has been designed to mimic the exhibition’s form, which is roughly divided into four sections, described by Phu as: ‘the real world is fish guts’, ‘in my memories’, ‘in my dreams’ and ‘in my nightmares’. Included in the catalogue is Phu’s own textual entry points into the project (which have been translated into Chinese with the assistance of his parents), alongside an essay by Mikala Tai.


Image editing and Chinese typesetting by TiānXiào Shé. Typeset in Brunswick Grotesque by Dennis Grauel and bb-book A by bb-bureau.

Book Design, 2017

Libretto has been designed to capture the essence of music through typographical layout. The project looks at protest songs to raise a voice against war and destruction. The book has been designed such that readers can experience music without listening to it. With the help of white space, the lyrics have been intuitively typeset based on parameters from the song. These include tempo, rhythm, chord progression, vocal tonality and inflection. The result is a typographic reading that echo’s the songs’ aural apprehension.


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Book Design, 2017

Paul Elliman’s My Typographies talks about language through its social and technological forms. Comparing shapes, object and even sound to typography, as language is not only dependent on reading. He gives several examples of how things have a mimetic relationship with language.

A coded language made up with lines, patterns and dots can be seen in the urban sidewalks. These are the lids covering sewage pipes, water pipes, electrical and mobile connection wires and more. The lids, made up of wrought iron or stone and cement have patterns similar to the technological codes engraved in them. Codes on Urban Sidewalks is a typographical specimen of such objects.

Publication Design, 2017

Up is a collection of photographs of rare moments, when an object or person is UP in the air — jumping, leaping, flying, soaring, hopping, springing, falling, diving — defying gravity for mere seconds in time.

Bowen Street Press, RMIT
Book Design, 2017

Pulse is an anthology of nonfiction writing and images that showcase the rhythm of our lives. Designed for Bowen Street Press.

Publication Design, 2017

Lost Words is a zine about lost and found words. In 2017, a list of words was published by researchers at the University of York. The list featured words that have fallen out of favour but could potentially become relevant again.

Together with Dennis Grauel the 20p zine has been designed pairing each word with a corresponding Apple emoji, exploring the collision of descriptive and ideographic modes of language.

Urban Intervention, 2017

Refugee Crossing explores how data visualisation can be exhibited in urban spaces to raise awareness about the crisis. The project involved study of literature & theory of data visualisation and history of public places—through investigation into the relationship between information, space and people. Strategic locations were identified through ethnographic observations.

The final outcome consists of visualisation exhibited on the pedestrian crossing bringing forth the experience of crossing for the asylum seekers where they explore the unknown.

This work was undertaken as the Professional Research Project for the Masters of Communication Design program at RMIT.

Some of the works studied for the project included The Watermarks Project by Chris Bodle, Tidy Street project by Jon Bird and Yvonne Rogers, Colourful Crossing by Camille Walala and Crossing Story, Southwark London. Urban interventions like Arc de Triomphe, Paris covered in yellow paint by Greenpeace, Taylor Square in Sydney painted in rainbow colours and Ai Weiwei's installation where he covered the Berlin landmark in 14,000 refugee life jackets.

Publication Design, 2017

Design has a responsibility to be an ever curious and vigilant voice for change. The ability to recognize, define and solve problems is an essential skill in designing.

An ongoing project addressing the humanitarian crisis, where the issue is visualised and reinterpreted as posters using typography and images. The series of posters highlights some of the information from the crisis past and present.

Urban Intervention, 2017

The project looks at solutions for some issues that people face in public spaces. Changes made in a space by people can lead to change in their social behavior. There are a set of rules and some basic etiquette one must adhere to in shared spaces. These rules in the form of signage are issued and placed almost everywhere by the government, for example asking people not to smoke or not park their car. But there are some problems that have not been addressed, like:

1. Smoking on pedestrian crossing
2. Owners not picking up dog poop
3. Using mobile phone while walking
4. Backpacks in trams