The SANParks poster set has been a long standing South African heritage, owning a space in our memories as children in classrooms and indeed in our homes. Some 50 odd years later, the time has come to replace these hallmarks of South African heritage. As designers, our focus for this project meant two things; 1 – creating something truly beautiful to look at, and 2 – winning the hearts and minds of the public, particularly our youth.
As a two dimensional graphic, each poster needed to tell a more elaborate story than what had been told before. As such, an information design was created for each poster which neatly arranges the animals atop a delicate map or graph, which details and highlights a unique characteristic of the animals based on where in South Africa they come from. Namely; A graph depicting the lifespan of the animals of the Bushveld Parks, a gradient detailing the speed of each of the animals of the Grassland Parks, a concentric clock depicting the level of endangeredness of each of the animals in the Arid Parks, a fountain which traces the original biome for each of the animals in the Eastern Parks, a split-page graph which tells us what each of the animals in the Cape Parks eat, and finally a concentric measurement band which tells us how big each of the birds in the Bushveld Parks are.
But was this enough to truly win the minds of the youth? After all, as future custodians of the earth and indeed the South African natural environment, they would be instrumental in delivering the project’s purpose. But with the modern age accelerating the way it has been, technology in the classroom has both been an incredible burden and a powerful opportunity.
There is a point to be made that mobile devices cannot be kept out of the classroom and the educators’ battle in this regard has been long standing. But how to turn this battle on its feet into something positive? How do we begin to integrate the mobile phone into our educating process as something positive?
By simply using mobile devices as the interface through which the posters are consumed, we both eliminated the obstruction that mobile devices in the classroom have become, and amplified the potential of what the posters themselves could be.
Thus began the process of designing and coding an augmented reality experience into each of the posters, which can be experienced by scanning a circular code on the corner of each poster. The experience involves creating a third dimension, through which the animals can be closely navigated and observed, unlike on any poster of this nature. As a final additive, we sourced the various sounds of the animals, the general ambience of each biome, and created soundscapes which play throughout the experience to assist in the immersive process.