Designing a Creative Travel Journal part 2

New Years Day, 2003.

Okay, so here’s the list of user needs I came up with, as promised yesterday. The finished journal does not have to incorporate all these needs! In fact, some needs may even contradict others. At this stage in the design process, I don’t want to discard anything. Later I’ll have to narrow these needs down according to importance and practicability. I’ve interspersed some (pretty random) old photographs of journals, mail art, and whatnot, to liven the post up a bit…pictures do not correspond to anything in the text.

I’ve tried to identify these according to a model by Japanese design guru, Noriaki Kano, that Prof. Ulrich shared with us. So far this is the most interesting new thing I’ve learned, because I’ve never really thought about design and products in these ways before.

The Kano Model divides user needs into 4 groups:

  • Indifference—if you meet this need, user’s feelings are neutral. If you neglect to satisfy this need, user’s feelings are still neutral.
  • Linear (performance) needs—user’s dissatisfaction/satisfaction is directly proportional to the level this need is met (Note: price is often classified as a linear need)
  • Basic (must-have) needs—if you satisfy this need, even spectacularly, the user barely notices (neutral); but if you don’t satisfy this need, user is extremely unhappy…miserable, furious, disgusted.
  • Latent (Excitement) needs—this is the G-spot. These are unexpected features. If you don’t meet this need, the user doesn’t even notice it’s missing. But if you do meet the need, the user is delighted (and writes you chirpy fan mail, pins the product on Pinterest, blogs about it…you’ve struck gold.)

Needs in bold type are more abstract needs, followed by more specific needs that might fall under the more abstract one.
Needs in italics with an exclamation point (!)  are what I suspect could be the users’ latent needs.

Iban (Sarawak) scorpion design

Problem statement: How might I create a product that encourages travelers to write, collect, make art, take photographs and explore more on their travels?

Journal incorporates storage space for various things collected, recorded, and made during the trip
Journal has pockets for maps
Journal has pockets for small souvenirs like coins or charms
Journal has a place to store reading glasses
Journal has a place to keep the main writing pen handy but safe
! Journal has a place to store coloured pencils or watercolours and some paintbrushes
! Journal has a section for pressed objects and large drawings or visuals (ex. maps)
Journal has expanding pockets in the covers
! Journal comes with pocket of small tools—ruler, scissors, needles and thread, double-sided tape, glue stick, pencil sharpener…

Artistamp1 collage

Journal is strong, long-lasting and keeps contents secure
Journal has tough waterproof covers that can take abuse
Journal materials won’t rot or disintegrate in humidity
Journal binding is strong and pages won’t come out
Journal’s added contents are protected from the elements and don’t fall out
Journal pages accommodate a long trip (4 months to 1 year)
Materials are acid-free and archival

Journal is reasonably priced

Journal is customisable
Journal comes with ways to attach photos and postcards
! Journal comes with system of symbols to codify, personalise pages and flag entries
! Journal comes with pockets that can be glued down to pages where they’re wanted
! Options exist that allow user to order custom content to be printed before binding.


Journal is convenient to carry
Journal fits into most handbags or backpack pockets
Journal is lightweight for carrying around and onto planes
Journal complies with airport security hand-carried baggage rules
Journal has a closure in place to keep it shut.
! Journal attaches to the body for easy carrying and access

from Kat

Journal is easy to deploy
Journal opens flat
Journal has at least three bookmark ribbons, and they don’t fray.
Journal sections are marked by dividers and tabs
Journal pages can be numbered and dated
! Journal has a table of contents or Index
Journal closures are quick to open and close

Andreas Hofer postcard

Journal is enjoyable to use
Journal exterior is beautiful and elegant
Printed text is in an elegant and readable font
Journal comes in several designs and colours to choose from
Pages are a mix of ruled, blank and grid-lined for different purposes.
Ink used to print lines is subtle
Paper used is of highest quality, for fountain pens, juicy inks, and watercolours
! Journal comes with ideas for fun entries and journaling techniques to use while travelling
! Journal comes with access to a community of  other users


Journal has useful travel information
Journal prominently displays owner information in case it gets lost.
Journal has an easy-to-access section for important information
Journal has pages for travel itinerary
Journal has world time conversions
Journal has pages for calendars
Journal has pages for budgeting and expenses
Journal has a directory for friends, contacts, shops, agencies, etc.
Journal has pages for most-used phrases in a foreign language
Journal has pages for transportation and lodging information
Journal has pages for travel and packing checklists
Journal has a section for plans and dreams, goals, or a wish list


17 thoughts on “Designing a Creative Travel Journal part 2

    1. Thanks, Natasha! The next (travel journal related)post will be a bunch of crazy concepts based on just two of the latent needs. The weird mutant babies I came up with for week 3 are laughable…


  1. Awesome list! Did you consider not adding lines or grided pages but extra loose leaf pages with grids and lines for behind blank pages? I like that kind of journal, but maybe the paper in yours will not be as thin and you won’t see through? Just another thought added.


    1. Hadn’t thought of it, Hanna, so thank you! I thought mixing the different sheets would be enough, but of course you are right, I myself prefer unlined pages, but keep a guide behind the page when I write, unless I’m in a crooked little mood for rolling lines!


  2. Thinking about what Jean had said; I get the declutter part however I’m more old school. For me traveling off the grid with limited access to technology is the best way to travel (how else are you going to leave the part of you behind that you want a holiday from?) and a journal is the most satisfying souvenir. Mind you I have never attempted to travel & blog so who knows. It’s just blogging has the added pressure of trying to be pretty and clever all the time while a journal can be a raw, unedited brain dump. I love being able to physically hold a special memory that I was forced to judge the value of right there on the spot verses putting the decision off till later just because I could with the advent of digital storage.

    When it comes to deciding on all the bells and whistles to include/exclude, perhaps divide your demographic between the experienced ‘creative’ traveler and the inexperienced ‘creative’ traveler and choose which one to target. I think the later offers a more interesting design experience – it turns you into a teacher of sorts by creating a guide book for travel journalism.


    1. Such a good point…travel is a chance to discover parts of yourself that were constrained or limited back in the home environment…but in order to explore those unknown parts of yourself, you need to get away from the people who think they know who you are, who sort of ‘keep’ you the way you are, and from the roles you’ve been taught to play when in their presence. It’s why I travel alone, too. To allow myself the chance to be somebody new, should the need arise. 🙂


  3. I like your section for pencils, pockets and so on. Affordability is a must. But maybe it could have like prompts and so on, I had a journal with quirky quotes and sometimes had random boxes that said draw here and so on. Just suggestions of stuff that works for me. And I’m someone who owns 12+ journals.


    1. I assumed that came under “! Journal comes with ideas for fun entries and journaling techniques to use while travelling”.
      If this were a real product that was going to be on the shelves for sale, I suppose affordability would be an issue. I don’t have the capital to bankroll a business that farms the manufacture out to China, so I will probably make one for myself, one for my belovéd, and that’ll be it. Other bookbinders can probably use ideas to make their own. There’s something very attractive about a great product that money can’t buy. 🙂


  4. Must be where I am in my journaling and art journey right now, but the sexiest thing you said, that jumped off the page at me, was the “access to a community of other users”. I already want to use this product and be part of the club!


      1. Could just be a flikr group for starters! Or a Facebook “Page”. Once you have your catchy name and photos and all. I’ll bet there are fans of yours out there willing to pay a good sum for your journal in it’s startup phase. Is part of the class about finding ways to produce the product?


  5. You have a wonderful sense of colour and detail. But honest, I think I’ll stick to blogging for my travel highlights. I’ve had to declutter some real physical possessions, including real photos. Too many photos. Thank goodness, for digital.


    1. I understand (and can relate to the attachent to blogs) but I’ve been parts of the world where there are no internet cafés, and where carrying a laptop, iPhone or iPad around is not only bad for the gadget, but invites a close encounter with the local crime scene. Gadgets are red flags in the third world, they shout, “I’m carrying what amounts to your annual income upon my person…please rob me!”
      I miss blogging when I travel, but being able to walk about freely, unburdened and with nothing to lose more than makes up for the low-tech travel journal! Thanks for your insights!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s