Jackie Lando

Symbiotic Relationships: X, Q, Z


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Concept & Research

One of the most valuable life skills a person will eventually need to learn in order to thrive is how to work well with others. This project aims to demonstrate to young pupils the importance of working together by displaying how organisms benefit from engaging in symbiotic relationships. To aid in our research and ideation, group members contacted elementary school teachers local to Rochester, NY to gain insight on what kind of tactics and games are used in classrooms to promote a positive learning and sharing environment for the children.

Q is for Quoll

Quolls are nocturnal, mountain dwelling creatures. During the day they burrow themself into a hollowed out log or any shady and protected area, and during the night they hunt for food. The relationship they share with their partner, the vulture, is quite a vicious one. The quoll leaves leftover food for the vulture to pick at, and the vulture, by finishing the remains, protects the quoll from contracting any diseases from the carcass.

My partner and I chose to portray a less intimidating pair by using a light color palette consisting of pastel pinks and purples. The animals are illustrated in a friendly and bubbly cartoon-style using both adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, and are brought into After Effects for the animation.

Mockup of letter Q quoll card. A quoll rests its head on the top of the Q while the rest of its body is wrapped between the letter. It is cradled in purple foliage.
Quoll Card
Video of Quoll Tablet Interaction Prototyped with Principle App

Z is for Zooxanthellae

Zooxanthellae (zoo-zan-thella) are single-celled dinoflagellates that lives in symbiosis with many different marine animals, one of which includes the popular squishy invertebrate, jellyfish. The zooxanthellae perform photosynthesis, and the nutrients gained from the energy conversion process goes towards the jellyfish, while the jellyfish provides the zooxanthellae with protection and “housing”. The illustration is created using adobe Illustrator, and is brought into After Effects for animation. The large sun dance party interaction hints at the organism’s ability to perform photosynthesis.

Mockup of letter Z zooxanthellae card. Two zooxanthellae are positioned on either side of the letter Z, entrapped in a giant floating bubble.
Zooxanthellae Card
Video of Tablet Interaction Prototyped with Principle App

X is for Xantu’s Hummingbird

Xantu’s hummingbird is a tropical organism that lives in symbiosis with its partner the perennial. The hummingbird helps to pollinate the perennials, while the perennials provide the hummingbird with sweet nectar to feed on. The hummingbird has a special ability to have full control over the direction in which it flies, which is why it is often known as a “precision flyer”. This extreme balance and control in flight aids in its ability to flutter between the flowers. This action is represented in the interaction animation. When the flying bird is tapped, it changes its hovering direction.

Mockup of letter X Xantu's hummingbird card. A large, pastel-colored bird is in mid-flight with its wings wrapped around the letter X.
Xantu's Hummingbird Card
Video of Tablet Interaction Prototyped with Principle App


This project was a fun and exciting experience. It was a challenge finding a balance on the types of restrictions for a group of 9 designers. Too many design limitations would make it impossible to express any degree of artistic freedom, but too few restrictions would open a door for far too much variety in the work produced. I think overall this balance was adequately met and handled smoothly by all the individuals involved.

Photo of Cards X, Z, Q
Photo of Cards X, Z, Q

Downloadable Assets

You may use the below assets created for this project provided via Figma as long as you give attribution, share your outcomes, and if your use is non-commercial in nature.

The above work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Creative Commons License