Utilizing research to visually capture the vibe of the outdoors.


Empahy is storytelling; to discover people’s

explicit and implicit needs so that

you can meet them through your designs

...and always follow-up with ‘why?’



To develop an acumen for research practices when dealing with visual problem solving, to work collaboratively, change the pace of your work, encourage risk. Keywords: wonder, explore, play, curiosity, dare, risk, challenge

You'll learn to work in a team, to use unconventional sources, to develop unique relationships between origin material and research findings. We will be employing modified Design Thinking research approaches.

Develop an iconic/typographic response to represent the Angeles National Forest. This could include features, such as Mt. San Antonio or Hidden Springs, but the primary message should be on the forest as a whole. 

Nature connects people who will never meet. Even a solo adventure down a narrow path links the hiker to each and every explorer who has made the same journey. While not always without danger and difficulty, trails guide wanderers back into the wild. Trekking these great distances, staring down into deep canyons and across mountain ranges often gives us a clearer view of ourselves. We live in a big world, a wild place, but we are not alone in our adventure. 

Posters are a fixed representation of a complex subject. They are not for a single person, object, or person. The complexities of a park or geographical feature possess a history, personality, as well as a form that should be considered.

Project details

The purpose of this project is to use your collective talent to celebrate nature through typography. Each designer will create a type-based design that expresses their unique viewpoint and love for the outdoors. 

ELEMENTS / Each design must include the name of the forest, including "National Forest" or "NF".

COLOR / Each design can include up to three colors chosen from the palette below. Limiting the color choices will create visual continuity across all designs and simplify print production. 

SIZE / Designs will be built at 24" x 36" at 300 ppi (or 7200px x 10800 px in robot numbers) in either portrait or landscape orientation.  

USE / The size provided is because submitted designs are to be exhibited and sold as posters and postcards, with 24" x 36" being a standard imperial poster-size.

CONSIDERATIONS / While we want to keep the design guidelines as open as possible to allow creativity to thrive, we learned some lessons from the first series that are worth sharing:

  • Keep the limitations of screen printing in mind while designing. Blend modes, such as multiply, will create color interactions that are not reproducible  with screen printing. 
  • Designs that are "self-contained" and do not rely heavily on the edges of the canvas are easier to print on shirts. 
  • Thin frames around the edge of the design are difficult to reproduce accurately across the three printed sizes. If seeing a print of your design with slightly uneven border thicknesses is going to churn your stomach, avoid dancing on the edge.
  • Please do not use any NPS owned logos, images, or shapes in your designs - we are not licensed to reproduce any trademarked material.


Step 1: Surface Research (30min)

This will provide a general review of the forest’s history and features. During this time, you are making notes on additional subjects to review.

Step 2: Individual Interviews (30min)

Because each of you reside near the forest, you have a unique relationship with it. It’s time to interview each other to gain empathy, developing a deeper understanding of how one perceives the forest and what they want it to become. As a reminder, these are not “yes” or “no” questions, nor should they be so directed such as “what’s your favorite color?”. Instead, you are seeking stories that allow you to connect.

Step 3: Define (30 min)

We must review all research and make decisions based upon it. Generally, this involves finding insights within responses to support decisions. For visual problems, it could be creating a connection between two unique thoughts making for a broader iconographic response.

Step 4: Ideate / Make (60-80 min)

Choose a direction and decide how to abstractly represent it in poster format. This means reducing ideas down to basic components capable of communicating your idea.

Step 5: Present (15-30 min)

We will present our ideas and discuss successes and failures.

Considerations for Visual Output


What do you research?

Name: We know the current official name, but how is it referenced? Nickname of sorts? 

History: How did it come to be and did any major events happen there to influence your decision-making?

Features: What makes this area unique

Time: The typeface you choose could influence the perception of time. Did you choose ephemera-style typography, giving it an old-timey look or something more contemporary to match the area's influence today?

Stories: We will interview each other to capture personal tales.