Arts Thread

Miki Wong
Design BA Hons

Goldsmiths University of London

Specialisms: Graphic Design / Illustration / Visual Communication

Location: London, United Kingdom

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Miki Wong

Miki Wong ArtsThread Profile

First Name: Miki

Last Name: Wong

Specialisms: Graphic Design / Illustration / Visual Communication

Sectors: Digital/Visual Communication/Film / Digital/Visual Communication/Film / Digital/Visual Communication/Film

My Location: London, United Kingdom

University / College: Goldsmiths University of London

Course / Program Title: Design BA Hons


Being originally from Kuala Lumpur, I had the privilege of growing up with an exposure to various cultures and their respective artforms. This brought about a burning passion for all things visual culture and design related. As a designer, I have a multidisciplinary background with a primary discipline of graphic design and visual communication. In spite of this, I still see myself as a creative chameleon and am always open to learning and exploring new areas of design with a majority of my work often taking a very social and user-centred approach.

The Candle Princess (Puteri Lilin) is an expression deriving from a Malay proverb for someone who abstains from being in the sun for extended periods of time. Implying that just like a candle, they’d melt from the heat. In Malaysian culture, it is commonly used as a nickname to ridicule young women who actively avoid sunlight in fear of tanning. These Candle Princesses occupy a large part of Asia where skin whitening culture is frequently glorified and socially expected of young women with naturally darker skin. This series of graphic novels aim to educate teenage girls in Malaysia about the dangerous effects skin whitening culture has on their physical and mental health, as well as, attempting to break the cultural taboo surrounding it. Through interviews with prominent Malaysian media figures such as social media influencer Ana Misman and fifty-year-old singer Francissca Peter, these graphic novels explore the origins of colourism and the inescapable toxicity behind the post-colonial glorification of fair skin. Thus showcasing how, despite the whimsical nature of their nickname, the lives of Malaysia’s Candle Princesses are nowhere near as glamorous as they seem.

During my final year of BA Design at Goldsmiths, I wrote my dissertation about skin whitening culture and its socio-political influences. In my dissertation, I explore skin whitening culture from a Malaysian context and the harmful influence this culture has had on the population. In addition to producing this detailed body of research, I also typeset, bound, and self-published the final work. The final outcome was an off-size A5 publication with 7,800 words consisting of academic research. The work also features a mini booklet attached at the end with images of ephemera I collected from the Wellcome Collection Museum as part of primary research. The choice of using a flexible mirror for the cover was to represent the theme of distorted body image. It forced readers to be confronted with their own body image when first picking up the book. Secondly, it is also a play on the dissertation title – The Fairest of Them All – which ties into notions of narratives that I explore further in a graphic novel project following the dissertation.

This was a live brief project in collaboration with the Government Digital Service. Working alongside a team of three other designers, a visual campaign was designed to improve the relationship between the government and local businesses through awareness of corporate tax evasion. The campaign, in collaboration with TfL, highlights how tax evasion disrupts essential public services such as transport systems and discourages the public from carrying out this harmful practice. This was done by focusing on creating speculative designs on a fictional “tax-free Britain” whereby existing public sectors would undergo intense privatisation. The aim of this project was to educate the public on how harmful tax dodging can be whilst bringing to light the various different services that our taxes fund. A catalogue was created to document various speculative products that physicalize how taxes fund the transport system. Each product includes price tags based on financial figures from official spreadsheets provided by the Department for Transport and the calculations for the social cost behind each service.