Jessi Blackham

An exploration of the opposed relationship of emotion and logic in graphic design

Intuition has been traditionally devalued in the Eurocentric graphic design canon due to a combination of societal movements, gender stereotypes, and oppressive power dynamics. This has lead to an internal distance between what moves me personally, and what I think I should create as a designer. In seeking to understand and heal this dissonance, my study took the form of both traditional logical analysis, and experimental intuitive creation. The result is two pieces that explore the marginalization of intuition in design in opposed ways.

Together these volumes express my belief that we as designers have an opportunity to reclaim intuition and emotion in balance with the logical and systematic in our work.

In a digital interconnected age, where algorithms can arrange elements on a grid more efficiently than human designers, emotion is vital if we are to remain relevant as creators of culture. Our whole humanity, with its ability to represent contradictory and oppositional facets, is our most unique and precious contribution.


THE GIRL IN THE GRID / / The first volume represents my modernist brain which constructed a graphic system to house my academic research and writing. As the book progresses, the strict Swiss modernist grid becomes more expressive and the grid patterns warp and shift.
THE GIRL IN THE TREES / / My intuitive side produced an allegorical narrative in response to my research. It took the form of an illustrated and hand-lettered graphic novel.
Not so long ago, and not so very far away, there lived a girl.
You are tired because of the weight you carry.
The Sphinx
The girl, bird, cat and rabbit all run.
It was hard to let go.
The girl in space.
The girl runs home.