Personalized Apple

Made by Joyce Chen

A deeper look into how we present ourselves by personalizing very standardized devices

Created: September 7th, 2016


Final Product: 

Creative Project.jpg


I was motivated to do this project after looking around a classroom and realizing that almost everyone has identical laptops - the standard Macbook. However, despite the hardware being the same, many people - college students especially - still strive to personalize these objects. I’ve always been intrigued by looking at the laptop stickers and decals of other students around me, as they provide a nice glimpse into their personalities and interests. You can understand their political backgrounds, learn about their hometowns, discover what music they listen to, and so much more. We associate different types of stickers with different personalities, and that’s what I wanted to explore with my project. What are we trying to say about ourselves when we put up a specific sticker? How do people respond to that - do they recognize it, or perhaps do they scoff at it? My creative project aims to understand both the expression and the response towards different laptop stickers and themes. To achieve this, I wanted to copy the works of many designs I’ve seen on other laptops and websites, and I wanted to draw attention to the well-known Apple symbol as one of the key points of this project.


For this work, I was really influenced by some of the Andy Warhol pieces we’ve seen throughout the course so far. Something he often did was to repeat similar images - famously the Campbell soup can and the Marilyn Monroe portraits - while changing the colors used for each repetition.

I wanted to do something similar, but I also wanted to use each portion of the piece to highlight different “personalities” portrayed through the laptop stickers. Because I was trying to draw more attention to the individual designs, I didn’t add as much contrast between them as Andy Warhol did in his works, but I still tried to follow a similar idea.

I was also very influenced by both Warhol and Ai Weiwei’s use of the Coca-Cola logo throughout their works. I wanted to evoke a similar feeling with the use of the well-known Apple logo on each design. Somewhat akin to Ai Weiwei’s painting of the Coca-Cola logo on top of the historical Chinese urn, I wanted to mix both a popular brand with a strong notion of personality and culture.


Initially I was unsure of whether I wanted to digitally add stickers to the Macbooks or if I wanted to edit the Apple logos into something outrageous. I decided to go with the former because I felt like the personalization of standardized objects is something that’s important to everyone, and it gives us a sense of individuality despite the obviously same devices.

I also tried taking it a step further by creating my own “stickers”. I was aiming for a more satirical approach - the stickers look realistic, but have very cynical and straightforward statements that highlight the common preconceptions held after viewing them. I considered putting all of my more satirical stickers on one laptop screen and just having that one design, but I really wanted to highlight the different concepts and themes behind each specific design. I wanted to emphasize the most common “laptop personalities” I’ve seen in my classes or on campus - the ones that emphasize hobbies and the things we’re passionate about. Many of the ideas for stickers were especially found from my own interests or from what I see on devices around me in my classes.


Creative Project.jpg

Above is the final product again.

I ended up doing 4 different “personalities”, arranged in a 2x2 pattern. The “stickers” I digitally created are gathered in the center - more satirical messages that wrap up the overall theme of each design. I took images of the Macbook from online, as well as finding most of the smaller stickers for each portion of my work. To make my own stickers, I searched up images that connected to the theme/quote of the Macbook and then added the quote on top of it. I put all of these together using Photoshop, and then played with the colors for a while to see what highlighted the aspects I cared most about. I ended up inverting the colors of the top right and bottom left pictures (while keeping the Apple itself white) and then setting the colors of the background and the other Apple logos red.


My inner critic would want more “personalities” expressed through this work. Since I chose these designs based on my own experiences and interests, I would want to see it expanded more to a larger scale by incorporating more concepts and themes. My final work didn’t match my initial intention - I ended up playing around much more with my “stickers”, and I didn’t end up relying on Warhol’s color schemes to draw attention to specific parts of my project. Additionally, when I originally toyed around with the idea of digitally creating my own stickers, I thought about being extra satirical and harsh with my criticisms of popular brands, emphasizing the general stereotype associated with each. While my final product ended up much more moderate than this, my inner critic wouldn’t turn away a more divisive approach to the project.

Personal Reflection:

This project allowed me to sort of delve further into each different “personality” and decide which images and words they would want to display. I really enjoyed getting to design these alter egos, but in reality, people don’t generally fall into one extreme or another. Instead, it’s a much more even mix between different themes, which allows even further personalization. If I were to do this again, I would try to incorporate more designs and personalities, and perhaps be more satirical in my representation of them.

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62-150 Intro to Media Synthesis and Analysis

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New creative industries are empowering new modes of collaborative consumption, creation and reuse of media. This often relies on successful collaborations between cross-trained artists, designers a...more


A deeper look into how we present ourselves by personalizing very standardized devices