Under The White Gaze
We know Canada is multicultural in makeup. So why are racialized people always missing or misrepresented in journalism? Tyee reporter Christopher Cheung, who writes on diasporas and urban issues in diverse Vancouver, decided to pause his reporting to tackle this big question.
“Under the White Gaze” was originally published as a Tyee email newsletter that ran from October to December 2021. Over 5,000 subscribers joined in to read and dialogue. The Tyee reached out to me to help them design and lay out the series of essays into one cohesive e-book.
The essays had already been published via the newsletter alongside illustrations by Stella Zheng, with a preliminary vertigo-esque logo, all assets in black, white and red. We used these colours and visual elements as a jumping off point into the look and feel of the e-book. Echoing it's original digital format the e-book is designed as single pages, with graphic elements mimicking browser windows, bookmark and search icons, pop-up boxes, e-mail formats and more.
The type and layout throughout is carefully thought out and styled. Most pages are made up of a two-column grid, featuring drop caps, a variety of subheads and pull quotes as needed. Every chapter ends with a question box and select emails that people sent in reflecting on the specific essay. The cover and chapter intro pages are a nod back to the initial disorienting-vertigo graphic from the original logo.
"I'm a journalist at The Tyee and we launched an e-mail newsletter called Under the White Gaze that featured essays on race and representation in Canadian media. It ran for 10 issues, and a strength of the format was the intimacy and conservations we enjoyed with readers. We were something they looked forward to in their inbox every week, and we featured their experiences and answered their answers on a thorny topic. How then to turn that into a digital document?
Alicia helped us translate the energy of our e-mail newsletter to the page. Everything from reader responses to discussion questions to our suggested readings were incorporated through quirky design detail that nodded to its roots on the web. All this makes the document feel as though it’s inviting readers into the conversations that were had.
It was a delight to experience Alicia’s creativity through this project, and were very pleased for our newsletter to live on in this new format that we hope will serve as a fun and educational tool!"