erin ryan


Retail Design, Interaction Design, Virtual Reality

Date: Fall 2018

Part 1:

Brand Research

Part 2:

Visual Design

Interaction Design


Physical Prototyping

Conceptual Framing

Part 3:


VR Prototyping

CanonLAB: A Branded Pop-Up

CanonLAB is a branded pop-up that aims to regain the interest of young adults in the world of digital photography outside their smartphones by educating them about different Canon camera settings through engaging, human scale scale interactions and the co creation of images and memories with friends.


To creative an immersive pop up space for Canon that engaged a new audience and created interest and increased consumer loyalty to the brand.

The Problem:

Today, many young adults are far more comfortable taking pictures on their phone than they are taking them with a digital camera.


A branded pop up space that engages visitors with the process of creating an image using a Canon product through human-scale interactions.


Phase 1: Brand Research

Initial brand research was done in collaboration with Jackie Chou.

Brand Insights from Research

  1. Canon’s vertical product integration allows for high quality cameras, printers, monitors, and software for a seamless imaging experience.

  2. Canon is re-establishing itself as a brand innovator with a line of new products.

  3. Canon users can transform themselves from novices to experienced photographers through hands-on demos.


Phase 2: Retail Design


  1. Must be able to lock up at night, must have some protection from the elements

  2. Footprint can be no more than 300 sq. ft., and up to 15 ft high

  3. Possible Locations: Schenley Plaza, Market Square, or Southside Works Town Square

Problem: Today, many young adults are far more comfortable taking pictures on their phone than they are taking them with a digital camera.

With the increasing quality of the camera on smart phones like the the iPhone or Google Pixel, many young adults find themselves able to create higher quality images for Instagram and for preserving memories through things like Portrait mode and post capture editing. More and more when given the opportunity to use a digital camera, they rely on Auto Mode, rather than engage with the rich capabilities digital cameras have to offer when the user has a more intimate knowledge of how to optimize different settings.


Based on my chosen audience of college students, I decided that Schenley Plaza would be the best location for a Canon pop-up. Schenley Plaza is located between two universities — Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh, and so it attracts many college students on sunny days. On weekends it’s also frequented by families with children, who while they were not the primary audience target, may also be interested in the pop-up and what Canon has to offer.

Initial Form Sketches



To begin expanding Canon’s visual and formal language, I made moodboards as both a visual reminder of brand, and a jumping off point for possible implementation and expansion of the brand in a physical retail space.

pop up moodboard_FINAL.png

Further Form Exploration


I decided on a pop-up form that abstracted the form of a Canon digital camera as a way to immediately evoke the brand.

Visual Language


Canon’s brand colors of red, white, and black are well suited to product and packaging language, but not as well suited to wall designs meant to attract college students. I expanded the brand colors to encompass bright pinks, oranges, and blues that felt more lively, but still worked when used in collaboration with the red Canon logo.

Final wall designs took inspiration from the form of Canon cameras and Canon marketing, with the exterior wall and embedded screen inspired by the concentric circles of the camera lens, the thin rectangular wall pattern inspired by the manual focus grip, and the long frames inspired by Canon marketing materials.


Sketch exploration of ways to let visitors to interact with Canon settings on a more human scale:


Wall Iterations


Interior Space

Visitors pass through the the “lens” to be greeted by racks of nostalgic 3D glasses. However, instead of red and blue, the lenses of these glasses are designed to mimic specific ISO or white balance settings on a camera. Visitors are prompted to try on different pairs of glasses and move around the inside of the pop up and walk outside to experience the world through the glasses and better understand specific ways of stylizing photos. When they’re done, they can take home a pair of the glasses for themselves. As a reminder of their experience and the knowledge they gained, the glasses are printed with CanonLAB branding, and the specific settings that those particular lenses recreated.


Visitors then move to a screen embedded in the back wall of the pop up that shows the outside of the pop up from the view of a camera embedded in the wall, and it’s accompanying touch screen. This interior screen is reminiscent of the viewfinder, and its accompanying touch screen allows for freeform manipulation of all of the settings that photographers are manipulating to create high quality images with their Canon cameras. If a visitor comes in with friends, one or two of them can work inside with the settings, while the rest can go outside and pose for the camera. On the outside, they are able to see the composition they are creating, and move around and pose to create the image that they want. Inside, visitors can adjust the F stop, Shutter Speed, White Balance, and ISO to stylize and refine the image. Once they’re all satisfied with the images they’ve made, they can then print them on a Canon printer.


Visitors to CanonLAB will leave the pop up with a pair of cardboard glasses, images of them and their friends with the settings they used printed on the back, and a greater depth of knowledge of how to create high quality images with Canon photography equipment.

Printed Photo: front

Printed Photo: front

Printed photo: back

Printed photo: back

CanonLAB Take Aways

When visitors to the pop up are satisfied with their composition and have adjusted the settings in the way that they’re satisfied with, they can capture their image, and then print it on a Canon printer to take home with them. The back of the photo is printed with the settings used to create the image, a QR code that brings you to the Canon website where you can purchase the DSLR models the pop up interactions were based on, and a call to share their creations on social media using #CanonLAB.

In designing the photo takeaways I wanted to incorporate the visual aesthetic and colors of the pop up along the border and back of the photo as a way to make it distinctive enough to merit holding onto, while ensuring that the photo would continue to be something the visitor associated with Canon, as opposed to it just being another photo on their wall.

Final Elevations

Physical Model

Physical model made using foam core and conservation board at 1/2”=1’ scale.


Phase 3: Virtual Reality

This portion of the project was for a two week prompt after the design of our pop-up shop experience when asked to make something for our brand that was aligned with the concept for our pop-up shop.


To help people gain a greater depth of knowledge on the different settings available with Canon cameras by allowing them to interact with the interface in a more visceral way.


A virtual reality experience that allows Canon users to experience travel destinations through the lens of a Canon camera, all from their own home.


Initial research into designing interfaces for VR yielded helpful information on the best placement of different interface elements for viewer comfort and ease of use.


Working with 360 images, Sketch-to-VR, and a VR viewer allowed for experimentation with the translation of camera elements into a VR interface before I moved to working with a headset.

Initial VR interface sketches based off panoramic grid

Initial VR interface sketches based off panoramic grid

Updated VR Interface

Updated VR Interface

Final Experience:

The final show experience was a 360 video prototype viewed in an Oculus Go supplemented by a poster detailed the imagined final product, inviting Canon enthusiasts to travel with Canon, and experience the vivid world of Canon imaging in virtual reality.


Final video used in VR headset included changing 3D scenery, ambient noise, and changing interface elements along with sound effects. Below is the video recorded through a VR player.


Unity Development

Coming soon!


View my full process on Medium.