Janis Vetsch

Rethink Syria

Empowering Sustainable Access to Food



Rethink Syria

Shifting negative social narratives
to empower rethinking, reshaping, rebuilding



As a part of a final project at the design & tech school RED Academy, this project aimed to create a beautiful and user centric product as part of our last project at the design & tech school, RED Academy, Vancouver. The brief asked for an engaging and impactful tourism campaign that showcases a ‘hidden gem’ travel destination. However, I believe that just creating effective design solutions for the sake of beautifying the world is not enough. I believe that design has the unique power to shift narratives and create social change. Therefore I set out to create an experience that addresses the narrative of Syria, a country of enormous potential and rich history.



→ Research & Interviews
→ Wireframing & Prototyping
→ Digital Illustrations
→ Logo Design
→ Responsive Web Design


Adobe Illustrator

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Shifting the Negative Narrative

Design has the power to reframe, rebuild and challenge us to rethink. Design can shift our perception in both negative and positive directions. For too long media and popular culture, in North America and Europe, have painted the middle east for a region that has nothing to offer but war and destruction. This project aims to shift this negative narrative about Syria and the Middle East. The brief asked us to showcase a country that we consider a hidden gem, and before the uprising and war, Syria would have been such a place.

To say ‘Tomorrows Syria’ could be beautiful again fails to acknowledge the people lives and existence of the country that continues in the context of war.
— Syrian Interviewee


Empowering to Rethink, Reshape, Rebuild

Using user-centric design principles, this project strives to immerse users in the beauty and history of Syria. Through digital illustrations and engaging transitions the users, are introduced to the fruitful streets of Damascus, the rolling hills of Kessab, and the rich history of Aleppo that are all part of today's Syria. The war and social challenges in Syria are not to forget or ignore, however, many humanitarian organizations are preparing to rethink, reshape and rebuild the country. The call-to-action of the project highlights three of these organizations that strive to ensure that the over 11 millions Syrians that have been forced from their homes can soon return to their communities.



Summary &
Future Considerations


In addition to developing a design solution that creates a positive narrative about Syria, this project allowed me to uncover and address some of my preconceived unconscious notions about the Middle East. It was an interesting experience to realize that even when we attempt to be aware of our privileged position and preconceptions, we can easily succumb to the exact pitfalls we are trying to dispel. My biggest hope with this project is that it does the Syrian people and spirit justice. I hope it allows users a small glimpse into and an opportunity to see Syria for Syria.

In the future, I hope to develop this responsive concept site into a fully developed website. Through insightful feedback from the individuals that helped me create this project, I have created a list of items that will be worked on and improved during the development of the site.

Stay tuned for updates on this project!

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