I traveled to Japan with a group of students from Northeastern to study design for five weeks. We each focused on a unique project that we choose based on Japanese culture.
While studying abroad in Japan I quickly noticed the appreciation for nature that the culture has. I wanted to create an experience that encouraged engagement with nature. I came up with You Create Nature, a campaign to encourage people of all ages to experience nature in a creative way through fun, engaging booklets for national parks around Japan.
For this assignment we were instructed to create an experience around anything in Japan that we observed. I was immediately drawn to the nature in Japan and their national parks. I decided to focus on improving the experience of national parks and incorporating creativity into the experience.
As soon as I arrived in Japan I noticed the appreciation for nature all around me. In the huge city of Tokyo it was very obvious that nature, wildlife, plants, greenery, flowers were integrated whenever possible. Coming from someone who has lived outside of NYC and inside Boston this was something very new to me in a city. I immediately started to observe where nature was integrated and I knew I wanted to focus my project on this idea.
I decided to design an Illustration book. This book is designed to be picked up at the park when you arrive. The first thing you will see is an illustration of a particular landmark and on the right is a light transparent copy of that illustration where kids are encouraged to color, go over it, change it and create whatever they would like. On the back of the pages, you can place stamps (the left side is already stamped) to show when you already have gone to that landmark. These stamp pages include an abstracted map showing how to get to each landmark, making it an interactive experience at the park.
What I learned
I learned how to take something I admired about a culture and enhance that into an experience. I learned that when it comes to building experiences it's not always asking the question "what's wrong here" or "how can I fix it" but also how can I make it better and what can I add to have a positive impact on people.