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Visualizing Chronic Anxiety

May, 2022 (Warsaw, Poland)

© 2023 by Salma Adel

This book holds a special place in my heart as I designed everything from scratch, including the typeface used for the drop capitals and the self-portraits taken for my BFA diploma project.


Normally, anxiety can help us reach our goals, such as studying for an exam. However, chronic anxiety is a mental disorder with excessive fear and worry, that risks our physical health in the long run if not treated.

Added to that, there are four aspects to chronic anxiety: physical symptoms, negative thoughts, overthinking, and behavioral actions. All four aspects are connected and have a ripple effect on one another.

Following this, I find chronic anxiety an intangible disorder that is a mix of emotions. I also think it is often mistaken for depression, especially now that both of the disorders' percentages increased drastically during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The theme of anxiety is prominent in art history, especially since the second half of the 19th century. It is present in the works of many artists, who often use art as a means to express their own feelings. They can be as different in style as Edvard Munch’s expressionistic paintings “The Scream” and "Anxiety", Stephanie Kilgast’s sculpture “I can”, or Katie Joy Crawford’s series of photographs “My Anxious Heart” - but they deal with the same problem: anxiety and its influence on the artist.

In order to present my own view on chronic anxiety, I chose to adopt the following creative process: after researching the topic, I wanted to showcase anxiety through self- portrait photographs in the form of a book, keeping a minimalistic aesthetic by using different compositions and a limited color palette. I used the principles of design to create harmony between the book's photography and typography aspects. By using different software programs such as Adobe InDesign, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Lightroom, I was able to bring the project to life.

VCA mockup
Visualizing Chronic Anxiety
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