Sophia Zapata

Symbiotic Relationships: N, E, W

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Concept & Research

Animals are a great way to simplify complex topics. They help give the user something to grab onto, and perhaps more importantly, they’re fun and look real cool. I also found this interesting paper on the use of animals in children’s literature if anyone is interested in reading further. It’s short and worth a look!

E is for Emu

Emus, with their red eyes and gray-black feathers, look a little more scraggly and a lot more unfriendly than your average bird. In an effort to make it look cuter and less like it wants to fight you, I heavily rounded out its silhouette and took the blue-ish color they have on their necks and applied it to the entire body. Now if I saw this bird I’d feel more comfortable approaching it. Please do not do so with an actual emu, they have strong kicks and very sharp toe-claws.

A playing card with an emu on it, and an iPad with an emu on the screen.
Emu Spread
Video of Emu Tablet Interaction Prototyped with Principle App

N is for Nitre Bush

The Nitre Bush was a fun challenge. How does one make a bush look exciting? Well, I tried my hardest, but in lieu of exciting, I went with enticing. Up the saturation! Up the specularity on those berries! Get that lens flare in here! Gradient background? Why not! The lens flare probably increased the cool factor by 30%. Also, a fun fact about the Nitre Bush berry: it’s described as a “salty grape”.

A playing card with a few branches of the Nitre bush on it, and an iPad with a Nitre bush branch on screen.
Nitre Bush Spread
Video of Nitre Bush Tablet Interaction Prototyped with Principle App

W is for Wasp

Let’s talk about the female fig wasp: she rocks, figs wouldn’t ripen without her, and she does her job pollinating figs super well, she’s a 5mm bundle of power and superior locomotion. She, however, has a very long head that I think even the most fervent bug lovers might find a little creepy. I took some artistic liberty and made it less oblong. Also this is an awesome paper about sexual dimorphism in fig wasps. The abstract and background is worth a read!

A playing card with a wasp on it and an iPad with Wasp Vision in sparkly letters on the screen.
Wasp Spread
Video of Wasp Tablet Interaction Prototyped with Principle App


Maybe I lucked out with a bunch of awesome team members, but working in a group was fantastic. Ideas always benefit from being talked about and bounced around. I enjoyed seeing everyone’s illustrative styles and felt so proud of everyone and the work we produced.

Photo of Cards N, W, E
Photo of Cards N, W, E

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