Jasmin Chavez invites us to indulge in her glittering range of graphic “eye candy”
The Singapore-based graphic designer talks us through her creative journey, from feeling limited by strict design principles at university to opening her own print shop in 2022.
- Elfie Thomas
- 4 January 2022
Leafing through Jasmin Chavez’s Insta portfolio instantly summons that pleasurable nostalgia of being a kid in a sweet shop. A quick scroll turns into a luxurious wade through brightly coloured typography which sparkles with alluring candy-like tones and textures. Jasmin has always been guided by a desire to recreate and emphasise the irresistible “pretty things” she sees in the world around her. So it is no surprise that vintage 1970s sweet wrapping was one of her main influences when she was starting out her practice. And once Jasmin realised that there was a job title for what she loved doing she knew that it was the right path for her – although she admits that it took her a while to really understand “what graphic design meant.” Lead by her passion for aesthetics, the then “indecisive 17-year-old” decided to study a degree in the medium, and hasn’t looked back since.
While studying, Jasmin was offered the room to begin experimenting with type, layout and illustration, before finally settling her focus on typography. However when she finished her degree, the designer experienced a sense of release: “For once, I didn’t feel heavily restricted by design principles and wasn’t held back by my lecturers’ “constructive criticism”anymore,” she explains. Yet despite leaving her studies behind, Jasmine hasn’t paused her creative learning. When a style, technique or software catches her fancy she becomes determined to master it.
For example, when she fell in love with the “air-brush art style” she’d spotted in the work of other designers, Jasmin began carefully replicating the aesthetic on Illustrator and Photoshop. Dissatisfied with these experimentations which she describes as “fake 3D” work, she went on a two week YouTube binge, wading knee deep through tutorials on how to use Blender software. Jasmin’s approach is now a constant cycle of “destroy” and “build”, and is what has really allowed her to grow as a designer and carve out her own personal style.
While Jasmin has felt limited in the past by restrictive design principles taught at university and a lack of experience with certain software, she has “never felt the need to look too hard for inspiration”. She looks to animation, fashion design and ceramics for ideas, but also grew up with an interior designer father meaning she was surrounded by architectural drawings and design magazines as a child. Such a creative upbringing has clearly given her a distinctive eye which can be felt in poster designs like Starting Over Again and Feliz Navidad. In Starting Over Again, a jelly-like structure is taken apart and put together again, summoning an ambiguous range of visual references all at once. Are we looking at a jelly? The whirling momentum of a merry go round? Or perhaps a design for an asymmetric lampshade? Again, in Feliz Navidad, Jasmin’s type execution seems to have an architectural aesthetic behind it. The festive Spanish greeting summons a monumental grandeur as the letters slide satisfyingly down the page forming a surreal collection of column-like forms.
But the jolly, well-known chorus of Jose Feliciano’s Feliz Navidad is not the only song in Jasmin’s graphic playlist. Music is additionally a crucial part of her practice and picking the perfect musical accompaniment to her work is a “must” when she begins any kind project. Therefore, unsurprisingly, designing music posters is one of Jasmin’s favourite things to do. In the past she has felt frustrated with the “rectangular bounds” of the typical poster format, in turn innovating her own range of irregular poster shapes and cutouts to invigorate music-inspired designs. This technique allows Jasmin to experiment with creating a pleasing “illusion of depth” and sense of contrast in pieces like Pluto Projector and Moon River.
2022 holds a range of exciting new projects for Jasmin but she’s most excited about launching her new print shop. In keeping with her typically determined approach to trying new things, Jasmin explains: “merch design is a little out of my comfort zone but I’d love to give it a shot if it means having the chance to style my work on a different canvas!”
Jasmin Chavez: Feliz Navidad (Copyright © Jasmin Chavez, 2020)
About the Author
Elfie joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in November 2021 after finishing an art history degree at Sussex University. She is particularly interested in creative projects which shed light on histories that have been traditionally overlooked or misrepresented.