Angel Island and Its Ghosts

On Monday I turned in the final version of my “iPad App” for type class (aka a pdf with the same dimensions as an iPad screen)—mine was on Angel Island. It was really fun to create, in part because it required me to take the ferry over to Angel Island twice and spend a morning/afternoon walking around, enjoying the beautiful, peaceful island, and taking pictures.

I wanted to talk about the history of Angel Island, which is really quite fascinating and remarkably unknown. I focused on a few specific areas of its history:

  • Chapter 1 was on European discovery (the first European ship in San Francisco Bay, the San Carlos, anchored off of Angel Island)
  • Chapter 2 was on Native Americans (I tried to focus on the Coast Miwok tribe, which used to frequent Angel Island, but also discussed the Mission Dolores, and the essentially genocide during the California Gold Rush)
  • Chapter 3 was on Chinese Immigrants (Angel Island was home to an Immigration station, the West Coast equivalent of Ellis Island, which dealt with a lot of Asian immigrants during a time of American racial discrimination against them. Many other immigrants came through that station, but I focused on Chinese)
  • Chapter 4 was on recent history as a California State Park

This did skip several interesting episodes of the island’s history, but I did what was feasible for the scale of this project (~30 pages). My goal for the aesthetics was for it to feel a little bit historical, ghostly, and official/bureaucratic, in order to emphasize its role in history. Also, keep in mind it was for my class on Experimental Typography, so it is a little bit on the unusual side. I’ve included a small selection of the 34 pages below. Enjoy—feedback appreciated!

(all work copyright Rebecca Wright)

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