Problem Statement

The design challenge for this project is the creation of a small guidebook for a state park. The guidebook will provide information regarding recreational activities, including camping, hiking, and fishing, as well as information regarding the history and natural features of the park. While many books exist for parks at a national level. There are not many books that exist for state parks in Ohio. I hope to fill the need for a simple, well-designed book for the parks in my home state (starting with Shawnee State Park).

I would love for this project to reach and empower all park-goers. In particular, those park-goers that might visit the gift shop, dine in the restaurant, and stay in the hotel, but not really trek out into the park and see what all it has to offer. Shawnee State Park has a beautiful lodge hotel with a restaurant and outdoor pool with an insanely beautiful view of a lake vista below. It’s a wonderful place that has sort of become the centerpiece of the park. The problem is many people who stay there find themselves a bit lost as to what they can do next. I envision the book as a means of helping that average park “visitor” transform into a park “enthusiast”, and hopefully step out beyond the lodge hotel.

Inspiration and Motivations


This project and the prior work produced in design studio is a reflection of my love of outdoors. Producing this guidebook was a great way to expand my design practice, pursue a topic that interests me, and learn more about that topic while creating a product that fills a need in the community.

This project was a vital catalyst for growth as a designer by providing a useful context for my illustration work. I hope to also benefit from having produced a publicly visible product.

Motivation and Benefits

Making external connections during the research phase and later during the promotion phase will be useful to me, by allowing me to practice reaching out to stakeholders and experts. As a project that allows me to practice illustration in a real-world context, this project was an excellent use of time. I established a problem (lack of guidebooks) and solved it through design and illustration in a way that will expand my design practice by providing a visible/useful product.

Research & Process

Research Sources

As I have spent a great deal of time in Shawnee State Park, I have gathered information regarding recreational aspects of the park (campgrounds, water activities, hiking trails, etc) by simply being there and taking it in over the years. I used this knowledge as a starting point. For further and more verifiable sources of information I consulted with local a park employee, who was able to give me advice for content. The park employee, being a staff member at the parks lodge hotel, was able to provide information regarding possible placement of the book in the lodge gift shop. I may be able to use this resource later when working to place the book for sale.

Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), the state agency in charge of Shawnee State Park has great resources on their website. I used many articles and documents from this website which I have organized in a bibliography.

I also made use of Scioto Historical, a great website put together by a local historian.


First up in my process was creating an outline for the book, the outline was critical in establishing how the content would be organized, what content would be included, what illustrations would be needed, and what research sources to seek. While the final product did not completely adhere to this outline, it was a crucial piece of the puzzle.

Existing Assets

This project began as a cover and branding project for the design studio course at MCAD. As the book is intended to be part of a series, I was able to develop an illustration style during that course.

Mark making

I began the illustration process digitally, making experimental marks using different brushes. I did not hand sketch as I preferred to create on screen, allowing my illustrations to evolve there.


Expert Feedback

I consulted with a colleague in order to receive feedback regarding the book. As this colleague is an art educator and illustrator, I decided to have him critique my illustrations. He was also willing to comment on the overall structure and design of the book. I provided him with a few guiding questions as shown below.

Z. Smith, Art Educator/Illustrator

  • Based on your knowledge of Shawnee State Park, what would you expect to see included in a guidebook for the park? (please list whatever comes to mind) Recreational activities, events, places for food, and local art.
  • If you saw this book at the lodge gift shop, would you pick it up? Would you be willing to purchase it at a $15 price point? Yes..that seems like a good price for a book like this. Maybe even $20-25.
  • Do you have any specific comments regarding the illustrations and book design? Simple, clean, and creative. Consider adding additional texture. The rocking chair image feels too busy. Maybe remove some elements. I think your lines might benefit from some taper (varied width). Try it and see? This book is well organized and has a clean design. I think it would stand out on a shelf.
  • Considering the written content in the book, do you find it to be easy and interesting to read?Yes. I know you mentioned you’ll be re-writing, so I’m looking forward to seeing that.
  • Based on this feedback, I made some adjustments to my illustrations, adding more texture, adding taper to the lines and simplifying the rocking chair illustration as suggested.

    Final Deliverables


    Motion Graphic