Nature as Ultimate Designer

nature lab


Founded in 1937 by RISD's Edna Lawrence Nature Lab provides students and faculty with an engaging space for exploring the forms, patterns and processes in nature as well as an understanding of our place within the living world. The Lab is a forum, sustained by resources and expertise that inspires countless art and design projects throughout RISD. 

Although the Nature Lab is one of RISD's most prized resources, it is often dismissed by students. Freshman at RISD spend a lot of time in this space but as the years roll by students dismiss the lab as a freshman resource. So this campaign is designed to highlight the forgotten parts of the Nature Lab.

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Posters Highlighting the Collection

RISD students often think the Nature Lab consists of only the natural history collection, but from nearly nano-scale to life-sized objects, the Nature Lab provides the opportunity to inform studio work through the organizing principles found in the living world.  

These posters were designed to highlight even the tiniest objects in the nature lab. The posters were created in collaboration with the Nature Lab, borrowing from their photographic archives. Each poster asks the same question "is nature the ultimate designer?". The bottom left of every poster list's the collection title and the call number in order to hint that this item is accessible to every student on the RISD campus.

Going beyond posters

A series of 50+ illustrations were created inspired by the Nature Lab's Tiny Town Collection. The posters weren't enough raise the viewer's curiosity. So these illustrations were installed in unlikely, ignored, and mundane spaces around the RISD campus to creep into the student's lives just as nature creeps back into urban spaces when left alone. 


Marketing Strategy

Posters and installations can only last so long, so the idea was to get these illustrations and graphics into the everyday lives of RISD students, so to build pride in their facilities like the Nature Lab and what better way to do it than to design affordable merchandise for the students to carry. Because the campaign isn't tagged with the logo or identity of the nature lab, students find it easier to personalize it and feel connected to it.