Ryan Vellinga

My journey as a graphic designer started in the layouts of a high school magazine and the thought that I wanted to be a journalist. I never considered being a designer until a high school journalism class where we had to learn page layout. The thought of designing a page was something I dreaded but I wanted to tell stories and I had a hunch that the way they were presented could impact the way they were received. So after a year of thinking I knew what a magazine should look like, I was hooked by the impact of visual storytelling and the idea of being a graphic designer.

Those formative days in a high school newsroom have been the foundation for my ethos throughout college, one in which my work is guided by a strong belief that design bridges the gap between form and function, where aesthetics meet purpose, and where I strive to create solutions that not only meet the needs of the present, but also anticipate the challenges of the future.


Using the permit reservation process that is currently in place, how can I improve the experience of planning multi-day hiking trips with complicated permit applications?

Navigating the complexities of applying for wilderness permits can often feel overwhelming, with the main challenges being keeping track of application dates and specific permit requirements. Lookout was designed to solve these challenges, and provide an informative solution to simplify multi-day hiking trips that require permits.

Dedicated to decoding the user experience found on, Lookout features a user-friendly interface where all the essential details for each permit are neatly assembled. Lookout offers a comprehensive tutorial on what to expect, how and when to apply, and tips to boost the chances of securing a permit.

Lookout's digital presence is enhanced through handcrafted interactive experiences that complement the adventures highlighted on the site. The "Long Trails of the United States" map uncovers the next adventure, while the travel-sized trail journal becomes a cherished memento of countless journeys. Collectible postcards and posters celebrate the post-hike experience by highlighting hiking accomplishments or sharing notes from just off the trail. These pieces ensure that each step of the journey—from planning to reflection—feels personal, enriching, and aligns with the spirit of exploration that the brand embodies.

Lookout's visual design weaves together vintage photography with modern graphics, creating a warm, nostalgic visual identity that captures the timeless spirit of wilderness exploration. This aesthetic pays tribute to the rich history and breathtaking beauty of outdoors and also resonates with a wide range of nature lovers. Using these elements across both digital and physical platforms, Lookout aims to be an essential companion for hikers, making the permit application process as delightful as the adventures that await.

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portfolio work

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