Most of us have experienced difficult situations in which we want others to understand our feelings and what we’re going through. It happened to me on February of 2017 when the travel ban was ordered against people of my country, Iran, among aothers. Being heard and understood by people around me was one of the most important reasons that helped me cope with this horrible discrimination that I was facing.

By creating the empathy kit, I symbolized the act of empathy. I created an opportunity for people to symbolically put themselves in another person’s shoes, read about their experiences of inequalities, connect with them, and share their own stories. Empathy stories that were showcased in my project were all real experiences I gathered from people with subjects of inequality towards nationality, race, sexuality, gender, disability, and body image
There are many different levels to the empathy logomark. At the first glance, four figures seem to be holding each other’s hands, showing the connection in the act of empathy that is also emphasized by the overall look of the chains tied together. On the lower level, four heart-shaped forms can be seen that are also linked together. I put colors that are usually on the opposite sides, across each other, blue versus red and dark versus light. The circles symbolizing the heads of the figures are also swapped with each other as an indication of sharing of thoughts and feelings.

While I was working on the logo mark I decided what range of colors I wanted to use to indicate the meanings I had previously researched. I chose CMYK colors with the intention of showing diversity of people and stories. Any type of color and consequently any kind of person with their personal stories can be created from these four basic colors.

I chose Volte Rounded, a geometric sans serif typeface as my logomark and the primary brand typeface to give the brand a modern look without compromising its friendly intent. 
I also needed a secondary typeface that pairs well with Volte Rounded. Archer had all the features I needed. It is a well-designed slab serif that creates a nice contrast with the clean look of Volte Rounded. In addition, Its round counter space and terminals emphasize on the circular forms that repeat throughout the brand.
Empathy boards were the main interactive pieces of the empathy project. I decided to have large scaled boards in order to have both a bigger impact on the audience and the capability to have larger, more visible stories. I used four pieces of magnet boards tiled together that made sharing and revealing the stories much easier. 

I made the empathy story pieces from magnet so they could stand on the boards on the wall. Top of each piece was designed with the brand visual elements and stories were on the back side. In order to reveal the stories audience could just easily flip the piece on the board.

I coded a responsive website from skratch to promote empathy kit and also create another way of collecting stories. 
One of the essential parts of the empathy project was designing the empathy kit. I wanted to put all the parts of the interactive piece in a package. The challenge was to fit all the components in the package while keeping the size of the box small enough to save up on material and storage space. I came up with a four layer design for the package that put the kit components on top of each other in order of their size and use. The package was opened and closed through a magnet clasp that kept the packaging consistent with the other parts of the empathy kit like empathy story magnet pieces.

I also designed a manual that explained to the user how to interact with the empathy boards. This manual had a unique looping structure. It'd return to the first page by folding it four times from the beginning. This structure allowed the user to smoothly go through the steps as many times as they desire.

To make the poster more compatible with the overall theme of the project I decided to make it interactive as well. I gave the audience an opportunity to once again reveal and connect with the stories. The circular elements were perforated and could peal off. Stories would gradually appear after the top layer was removed by the audience.

The final installation was showcased at the University Gallery at Umass Lowell for two consecutive weeks. During this time, visitors interacted with the installation, revealed the empathy stories, and shared their own personal stories.

To see the complete process of the empathy project visit here.