Taylor Miles Hopkins

Thesis

Tomorrow’s Book: Artifacts in the Anthropocene

Abstract

The Anthropocene is our current epoch in which the Earth’s environment and residents are heavily impacted by human influence. While many people recognize the possible future effects of Anthropogenic change, such as rising temperatures, biodiversity loss, increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, and extensive waste, it can be difficult to imagine how the world might actually alter. Narratives allow us to weave diverse ideas together to relate to the experiences of others and grasp abstract information. Design can also act as a storyteller—speculative designers bring attention to present societal issues while designing artifacts for the future. What artifact could be better to tell stories than the book? It has been a notable part of many human histories, from stone tablets to the printed page. The book’s form often reflects the current technological and cultural points in many societies, so what forms will it take in the future? Through a series of three book iterations addressing the challenges of the Anthropocene, this thesis uses design as a storytelling tool to communicate to readers how their futures, as well as the book’s, will need to adapt to our changing world.

Committee

  • Annabelle Gould, Chair (Visual Communication Design)
  • Audrey Desjardins (Interaction Design)
  • Jayme Yen (Visual Communication Design)

Commentary

Read the full essay about Taylor Miles Hopkins’ thesis by Heidi Biggs.

Looking at Taylor Miles Hopkins’ work, one is struck by its rigor in craftsmanship, critique and storytelling, which are all seamlessly synthesized in the three speculative art books. With a background in both writing and print design, it makes sense that Miles Hopkins would be drawn to crafting such multi-disciplinary articulations. Through these books, Miles Hopkins is interested in helping viewers imagine the future of life in the Anthropocene, an era where human influence is the leading geologic force on earth. What I found striking about these projects, and their encapsulation in books, is their refusal of a techno-solutionism or apocalypse that so often accompanies futuristic visions. Using a book as a scaffold for a future scenario denies some vision of the future where all information is displayed on a glass screen or flat e-reader or is transplanted into our heads (visions found in Neuromancer or The Matrix). However, the careful material and contextual choices Miles Hopkins made to build these books still manages to strike vivid images of possible futures where one might find themselves holding onto such a book for, in some ways, survival.

— Heidi Biggs

Bio

Taylor Miles Hopkins is a visual communication designer based in Seattle, Washington. In 2017, she graduated with a degree in English writing which cultivated her love for publication design and typography. Prior to her work at the University of Washington, Taylor designed visual identities and interactive experiences for local and socially-responsible organizations in her home state of Pennsylvania. As a graduate student, Taylor has been a teaching assistant, a guest speaker, and a zine-making educator in the School of Art + Art History + Design as well as the Human Centered Design + Engineering Department. She is the lead graphic designer at the Jacob Lawrence Gallery and a member of a design research group focusing on the effects of climate change.

Website

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Exhibitions

  • 2021, University of Washington Studio Tour, Seattle Art Book Fair
  • 2021, The New School’s Anthropology and Design Exhibition, Parsons School of Design
  • 2020, MDes Work in Progress, University of Washington
  • 2020, Designing for a Healthier Future, Microsoft Design Expo

Awards

  • 2021, de Cillia Graduating with Excellence Award
  • 2021, University of Washington Striker Graduate Award
  • 2020, Boyer + Elizabeth Bole Gonzales Scholarship
  • 2019, University of Washington Top Scholar Graduate Award

Education

  • Master of Design, University of Washington, Seattle, 2021
  • Bachelor of Arts, English, Elizabethtown College, 2017