Role: Creative Direction
Team: Irena Xia and Yenny Hong
Photography: The Cosmos' New Year Market by Tiffany Lo, Home–bound Summit by Kristie Chua
The Cosmos is a community dedicated to helping Asian women and gender non-binary folks flourish and thrive online and offline. Our ten city ambassadors are located across the U.S. Online we have our Instagram, newsletter, and private Slack group. Offline we create custom experiences such as local events and workshops, weekend retreats (Seattle, LA, and New York), and The Cosmos Book Club for Asian folks to connect. In 2019 we produced two unique large scale events, The Cosmos New Year Market and The Cosmos Summit: Home–bound.
When co-founders Cassandra Lam and Karen Mok first came to me with an idea of building a community together, they didn't even have a name, let alone a logo. Branding The Cosmos was a step into the unknown, which was both liberating and terrifying because what we’ve created doesn’t exist in society yet. Our community as a whole is in the middle of defining our Asian/American culture.
We asked ourselves the bold question–what does an Asian woman and gender non-binary brand look and feel like in America?
I created a brand that is first and foremost genuine to our community and at the same time redefines feminine power. The custom, hand-lettered logo embodies the values our community holds. It’s strong and soft. It’s confident, smart, and open-minded.
The rhythm of the thin and thick strokes all move towards the right to symbolize our community moving forward together. The playful nature of the distinctive hand lettering brings the authenticity of the human touch. The Cosmos is composed in a triangle because the triangle is the strongest geometric shape; this signifies the strength in our community as a collective.
During my two years as the creative director, I developed and expanded The Cosmos' creative vision from the logo to physical products and digital communications. Under my leadership, I managed two designers, Irena Xia, dedicated to social media, newsletter, and website design, and Linh-Yen Hong, dedicated to swag and summit.
The Cosmos New Year Market is a curated marketplace celebrating local East, Southeast, and South Asian women and gender non-binary artists, brands, and small businesses. It was about creating a platform for the community to get visibility and get paid for their work. The market, which included food, clothing, art, jewelry, stationary, and more, created a micro-economy to support Asian women and gender non-binary small businesses and brands.
The Cosmos Summit is the first large-scale experience empowering the Asian women and gender non-binary community. Over 200 folks attended this one day event which included keynote speakers Dr. Kiona and Deepti Sharma, eight workshops, the Cosmos Market, an art installation, and a wellness oasis.
As children of the API diaspora, the process of finding and defining home is one our community knows well. For many of us, we begin with the homes we’re born into and take those experiences into the ones we create. To be Home–bound is to celebrate our pasts as we forge our futures. It’s the feeling of being supported in our journeys, from work to our community and beyond. By stepping into our most loving, creative, and authentic selves, Home–bound empowers us to harness our agency as individuals and as a community.
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