Peoria Zoo (Wayfinding) App

Client: The Peoria Zoo

Product: A *UI/UX friendly phone app that maps the grounds and buildings, serves as an exhibit guide (including theme-specific symbols), and (importantly) connects the user to the zoo and it’s activities in a way that develops and encourages a long term brand loyalty.

Requirements: The *wayfinding system part of your app design should be the most visually communicative and experiential part of your phone app as it will ultimately help guide foot traffic throughout the exhibits and around the entire zoo environment. However, the wider purpose of the app is far more than simply a map around the zoo. It should also serve as an interactive guide once the user reaches a specific exhibit or activity. In addition, it also needs to create an ongoing connection with the user far beyond that single visit to the zoo. How can you retain this (brand) loyalty so that the visitor engages with the zoo and it’s exhibits during their visit but also continues to connect, interact etc. with them long afterwards, away from the venue? There are obvious ways through social media links etc. But consider other ideas too that make the app something so much more than simply an on-site way finding system. What additional content does it require to retain this ‘two-way connection?

1) Design a smartphone app that delivers a very ‘friendly’ and fun user experience throughout its screens. Primarily it needs to navigate the user/guest throughout the exhibits and activities. Your wayfinding system should be clear, accurate and, although aimed at the parents, easy for all ages to navigate through. The zoos existing map/guide is downloadable below, however, this is merely for you to use as a starting point, for information and assistance in your overall UI/UX. Consider recreating the zoo environment in a more dynamic way to work with your app layout and navigation (however, ensure you retain the graphic integrity and accuracy/scale of the real zoo, (their existing guide may be inaccurate on several levels). Remember the smart phone screen size – how do you need to present these large plans within this format without the need for constant scrolling or pinching/expanding to be able to view clearly?

2) Symbol/pictogram/icon designs for each of the main exhibits or activities should be created if they don’t already exist (listed below). However, do not redesign them if they are already established parts of the zoos overall brand image. These are a big part of your overall way finding system. What you see on the app should match up to what you see in the physical environment. They need to be clearly identifiable, flexible to view large and small, on signage in the zoo and on a phone screen etc.

3) Additional phone screens above and beyond the wayfinding, demonstrating the additional zoo activities, information, individual exhibit information/links. Plus, additional content you feel would make the app far more than simply a wayfinding aid after the user has left the zoo. What will prevent it from being next in line for being deleted because the user requires more memory space on their phone so needs to ‘cut’ some lesser used apps on their home screen.

Audience/User: Primarily – Adults/Parents etc. However, if a child was using the app, it should be clear enough for them to navigate through the basic screens.

Tone: Fun and vibrant. Try to retain the house style of the zoo (, however this is not a branding assignment. The focus is how you present your wayfinding system within the potentially challenging format of a smart phone screen.

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A day in the life of a SOCIAL MEDIA junkie

Brief: Visually demonstrate sequentially the effect/interaction/encroachment of social media over a specified period of your life.

Social media has both good and bad aspects to it. It is encouraging younger people to interact with news, politics and issues beyond what they might encounter in their day to day lives. However, there is a tipping point where people do spend too long online and are influenced the wrong way when they take on false (news) information. Yes, social media has taken over our lives, but it is the way we use it that determines whether that is a good or bad thing.

Project Goals: The specific goal is to create a data display that visually depicts how you use the variety of social media applications throughout an average day. It will culminate in a direct mail print piece that should be multi-page/multi-surface and in a format that reflects the subject/theme.

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My Personal Journey

Always good as an intro into visualizing data.

Pick a ‘journey’ you make frequently/repeatedly. Document as much data and observations as possible during the period of time your own personal journey takes, recording both quantitative and qualitative observations. These can be the obvious ones such as the number of Toyota cars passing you on your journey, to harder to quantify observations such as the different choices of music you select on your journey. It is a personal journey that may include non-tangible narrative information (what were you thinking at certain points of the trip, moods, sounds etc?) alongside more obvious, measurable data points, such as time, distance etc.  Consider temperature variations, periods of time, speed, pace, direction etc.

From your research and body of data – create a wallchart (28″ x 20″ plus an additional 1″ white border all around. Portrait or Landscape). Make it a compositional piece, include additional data sets, a logo-title (in other words, not simply helvetica), a subtitle, if necessary, and a small introductory block of body text. This should be a coherent piece that clearly and accurately visually communicates a large amount of qualitative and quantitative information and data about your personal journey. It should have some elements of your ‘personality’ in it, after all – it is all about you.

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Visual Voices #1 Sarah and Nick Kennedy

The Professional Lecture Series – Back and in-person!

Sarah and Nick Kennedy are a married couple (and coworkers) working together at West Monroe, a national consulting firm headquartered in downtown Chicago.

  Sarah graduated from Bradley University in 2009 with a degree in printmaking and graphic design, and went on to gain experience ranging from in-house consumer products to global advertising firms. By day, she’s a manager leading the Visual Design Team, supporting new business proposals and go-to-market materials. By night, she creates a smattering of things, from beer label designs for a local brewery to branding work.

Nick is a director at West Monroe, leading the organization change management team in Chicago. He’s been with West Monroe since he graduated from DePauw University in 2010. Nick helps organizations implement their strategic projects by focusing on the people side of change.

In 2019, Nick and Sarah departed on their Fischer Fellowship, a program through West Monroe that offers its employees an amazing opportunity to share their talents anywhere in the world for up to six months. Learn more about their experience working with a non-profit in central Chile, using their degrees to do good!

It’s back!

Finally, we are able to present both in-person exhibitions and our Visual Voices guest lecture series for the Fall semester. And what better way to launch the new academic year than with a faculty exhibition – Faculty, Adjuncts and Emeritus.

We’re really looking forward to welcoming our students back to campus with this first show. It is, quite rightly, a celebration after the past year’s turmoil. However it also reflects the uncertainty about our immediate future – Are we now post-pandemic, or is it simply a lull before another outbreak ‘storm’?


Despite the incredibly difficult year we have gone through, our seniors managed to reach the finish line. We are delighted and proud of their ability to keep going and look forward to seeing them all make their mark on the industry – Good luck to each and every one of them !

Capstone Team Branding Brief

Wonderful final brief of the Brand Experience class. A challenging client, having to work in a team environment, and a tight deadline – but everyone came through and we had eight really great presentations. A big big thanks to OneFire (and especially Jim).

click on the image to view the full presentation

Design and implement a plan to create a more effective web presence that differentiates MICA and attracts/converts targeted prospects, allowing them to be nurtured and
converted to customers.

MICA was built by doctors to support their uncompromising mission to protect and defend their
members, their practices, livelihoods, and personal integrity.

Mandatories (What must be included–logo, address, theme, etc.)
● Company name
● Logo update (optional)
● Company tagline (optional)
● Brand positioning, supported by messaging & imagery
● Website design
● Recommendations for an integrated marketing strategy, to include–
○ Thought leadership initiative
○ Paid online initiative–
■ Google Adwords
■ Sponsored Social Media

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