Week 7 of Designing a Creative Travel Journal

This entire post was copied and pasted from my assignment submission page on Coursera.org…just to let you know where I am at with this project. This was the last assignment of the course…supposed to be the ‘Beta’ of my product, though it’s clearly nowhere near the beta stage yet! But this was all I could do in the one day I had to finish it all.
It’s midnight, I’ve work tomorrow, so this has to go up on the course site tonight…hence the hastily chosen “brand name” and the lousy photos taken with camera flash because it was long past sunset when I took most of these.
Travel Journal and JacketREISE is German for “journey”

The journal is bound using Longstitch/linkstitch (aka Limp Binding) The pages are stitched to a spine of strong leather, with plenty of space between them for the gradual inclusion of ephemera, postcards, photos, and other souvenirs of the trip. I cut slits into the leather spine to form “loops” through which the elastic strap of the jacket can be threaded.

This view of the inside of the jacket shows the elastic strap for attaching the journal, as well as three pagemarker ribbons, which are part of the jacket.

The elastic strap weaves in and out of the journal’s leather spine…

and is held down by a snap on the outside of the jacket:

Some features of the journal itself are a 20-page fold-out photo album:

A plastic template for square petal envelopes, to make your own little pockets for small things…

using interesting papers (newspaper pages, magazines, decorative papers) that you collect along the way.

Stick these petal envelopes down wherever you need them.

Also, you can rate your travel experiences and flag your entries using the three stamps that are attached to the ends of the page marker ribbons.

When your journal is full, undo it from the jacket, and strap down a new one.

IWWMW design a travel journal (and case) that conveniently combines an artistic/creative traveler’s tools and materials for collecting/recording during a trip, and the finished works of art and memory?

Primary needs:

  • Journal integrates collected souvenirs, and records (in the form of writing, art, photos)
  • Journal has storage space for art materials and journaling tools.
  • Journal is strong, hard-wearing, long-lasting and keeps contents secure.
  • Journal is customisable to a great degree.
  • Journal is convenient to carry.
  • Journal is easy to use/deploy.
  • Journal is a pleasure to use.
  • Journal is comprised of “artist’s grade” materials.
  • Journal has pages of information that is useful while travelling.

Submit a one paragraph description of what the next steps would be to further refine and develop the artifact:

I had one day in the entire week to do my journal prototype, so there are a lot of things that have been left out as I simply did not have the time. Obviously, the actual printed pages of the journal are missing—sections for foreign words & phrases, packing checklists, To-Do or Must-Visit list pages, shopping info (bought what, where, for how much) as well as cultural and foodie notes, and lots of important travel information (itinerary, time and currency conversion, contacts, and so on) It’s also missing customisable page tabs, for different sections.

I did not get around to putting a closure on the jacket. I hoped to add small D-rings for a removable bag strap. And I would have liked the final journal case to be made of very thin but strong leather, instead of linen. A range of designs for the journal jackets (or at least diferent colours) would have to be considered.

Other ideas I had at the start of this project, and which I think are still good, are:

  • a small pamphlet with 50 fun ideas for fresh, quirky, creative ways to fill your travel journal…exercises and such
  • a website where REISE users can upload pictures of their journal pages, share their drawings, photos, collages, doodles…and engage in forums with a community of other artist-travelers.

I know this isn’t “one paragraph”, but I have learned so much from this course, the journey really has been the destination, and its own reward. I don’t think I’ll even bother to find out what my final score is, now, or download some meaningless certificate of completion! What was of real value here, I have already received.

Thanks and good bye!

◊ ◊ ◊


34 thoughts on “Week 7 of Designing a Creative Travel Journal

    1. Thank you! LOL No, I didn’t get a chance to make a proper one for myself, and here I am, traveling for a year and a half, carrying my sketchbook and art materials in plastic grocery bags! 🙂


      1. [giggling] I feel ya.. I’m the queen of ‘make it work’ modifications. If it means anything, I’d encourage you to at the verrrry least make one for yourself. The project is fab… srsly. If you’re interested/curious, here’s a link to my pinterest page with some of my creations/art tools [always a work in progress]. I starting making paint-tins for folks once they saw me using my own in the field.. them:”oh my goodness, where did you get that”, me:”this? I made it”, them:” do you sell them?” Again, I really liked this idea, you should revisit it when you have time, never know where it could lead. ::art encouragement:: Peace!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Hi – I stumbled here, by Google search – “Artifact, Design” – I’m into week #3 right now… Your reconstruction about week #3 (here) makes me laugh belly up! I love what you did here, this site devoted to the process, is more valuable than any design. I posted a link to this sight, peers love it! Best to you, thank you for the trip down the ride that is Design Artifacts !


  2. i found this project on tumblr, and totally fell in love. while it being a travel journal is a wonderful thing, and it’s perfectly perfect for that, i can also see it easily being a writing journal for those of us who prefer to touch than to type.
    if you leave out the specific travel things, or make the lists and such customizeable by the user (basically just lined in the form of a list with no title or anything), it would be perfect for framing a writing piece or novel. and it’s portability would make it ideal for such a purpose. the page tabs would be brilliant for those who think nonlinearly so they could just pop to a different section with a different thought.

    i would LOVE to see something like your travel journal in your shop. it’s beautiful, and useful. i actually prefer the linen to leather (and the prints from some of your journals would be GORGEOUS) for the cover, as well. i know it’d be time consuming and expensive, but i’d certainly buy one and i can’t be the only one! and the subsequent refill journals as well. *cough* do a kickstarter for it *cough*

    i wish i was more crafty, as i would try to make one myself, but it would come out terribly and useless. i’m extraordinarilly jealous of your talent and craftiness.

    anyway, it’s a beautiful design, and its inherent usefullness makes it so desirable, even if it’s not for the use you originally created it for. i really do hope you do something more with this, as i’d scoop one up as soon as i had the money for it.


  3. What an amazing idea and it looks so good! I’ve been thinking about making something like this for myself for a while. Maybe if I have the time this week I will.


  4. Great beta project…very practical and nice! Guess what! Had to visit my mom in another country due to some personal reason and could not finish week 7th! All that hard work…..any way lets see…


    1. Alas! He does say they’re looking to offer this Coursera course twice yearly, and invited anyone who couldn’t finish to catch up by doing it over. I am thinking of doing it every time it’s offered, with any major projects that I tend to put off. I loved the way this pushed me to focus and to get off my ass and do the work every week!
      Hope all’s well with the family. Happy holidays!


      1. Yes…sure…there was a sense of purpose and accomplishment while it lasted….have the results ( points) been informed? I am planning to do a creativity course from Stanford. This time want to make sure that I am there all through….love. Take care. Keep in touch. Loved your Indian textile write up….my country :)))))


          1. Hey thanks for informing and congratulations! Are you planning to do any other course now or are you too busy with your new work? Christmas keeping you busy too?


  5. I already love this, even if you say it isn’t even in the beta stage yet. Can’t wait to see what the final final final one will be like. 🙂


  6. Nat, I applaud your brilliance and endurance. I wish I took up that course myself but I know I couldn’t possibly do it with the little time I have. Still it must feel so good to be able to finish something. I look forward to your next project 😉


    1. Yes, it was amazing just to reach the end! How I love to start things, but finishing is a big challenge. Was proud that I didn’t ‘drop out’ even though it would have been so easy, the course being free and all. Thanks for the cheerleading!


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