Syahmina Abyana (she/her)
I have always seen the world differently. 1 is blue, specifically a hybrid shade between turquoise and azure. 4 is green – the forest kind, of course. I assumed everyone saw what I saw: vivid shades punctuating each number and alphabet. But at 14, I discovered that I had synesthesia, a unique neurological condition that rendered the way I thought about the world to be intrinsically different from everybody else. Allow me to share it with you.
My name is Syahmina Abyana, but you can call me Syahmz. I specialise in copywriting and strategy, and make it a point to be playful and experimental in all my projects. While my style is flexible, I gravitate towards the irreverent, cheeky and subversive.
Ode to the Ordinary
Ode to the Ordinary is a love letter to the everyday, a call for us to slow down – a bid for the boring. A short film produced through the medium of stop motion, this project is a dedication to the things we overlook. The film’s narrative is a tentative, almost shy plea from the everyday that yearns for our attention.
The ability to see the beauty in the ordinary is one that requires practice; the appreciation of the mundane a muscle that needs to be trained. By showing affectionate vignettes of spaces we dwell in most, this project hopes to encourage introspection in its audience, and ultimately, help them realise the beauty in the everyday that has been waiting all along.
Penguin Throws a Tantrum
Penguin Throws a Tantrum is my offering for the 2021 D&AD brief. The brief challenges participants to reimagine the role of books in young adults. The reality is simple. Books are at risk, and there’s nothing that can be done. In just a few years, reading rates have declined significantly, up to 10%. Penguin has always been a champion of books and its values. Yet despite everything Penguin has seen people through – 86 years of wars, The Great Depression, a pandemic, revolutions, moon landings, the Internet, another pandemic – it seems that people just don’t read books like they used to.
So Penguin’s had enough. Presenting, Penguin Throws a Tantrum – a social media campaign aimed at encouraging reading… in a different kind of way. For this brief, I exercised my copywriting muscle, writing from perspective of the brand. The copy is meant to be read as jilted and bitter, a tone I hope would capture the attention of Penguin’s audience. Brands never throw tantrums.
A novel, sarcastic and uncharacteristic guerrilla campaign, Penguin Throws a Tantrum injects humour and self-awareness in its execution, adopting the (dry) language of its target audience to make them pay attention. Penguin isn’t kidding. As the campaign develops from subtweeting to selling fake books, even hijacking its own interfaces, the true agenda will be revealed – Penguin Throws a Tantrum is a front for a collaboration with reading and learning partners to introduce a new way of reading.
There are many ways to consume a book, and Penguin acknowledges that. Reading doesn’t have to be from a book, it can be watched, heard. As the chapter closes on the campaign, the audience is empowered to read any way they want to, with the help of Penguin’s education partners Audible, TED, Cliffnotes & Coursera.
The Penguin Anti-Book Posters
Notes on How to Live Forever
Notes on How to Live Forever is a poetry anthology made up of the words we throw away. With more than 50 contributors and 300 scans of notebook pages, scraps of paper, doodles & mindless scribbles, this project seeks to prove the magic in the mundane, the extraordinary nestled within the ordinary. Simply, the profundity of people. But above that, and perhaps most important of all, it explores the life we give our words and its relevance to our lives, long after we let it leave our minds through our fingers. This project was an exercise in curation, a balancing act between shaping a narrative from the words, and stepping back to let the words tell their own story.
From the contributions, themes were extracted, narratives synthesised and condensed. What came out of it was 16 fully-formed pieces of poetry and prose, packaged in a square, children’s book-inspired publication, chosen for its nostalgic, sentimental quality. I adopted an anecdotal and diaristic style and tone for this project and by the end, what came out of it was something unreasoning and visceral, intuitive and vulnerable – an outcome that couldn’t have been better. Since there isn’t much curation involved to preserve the essence of the words written in its original form, I had to create rules for myself. In each piece, I made it a point to include at least 2 contributors, the most having 7.