Mike Garzarelli

Practice Area


Drexel University

Project Vision

For his senior thesis in graphic design, Drexel University student Mike Garzarelli wanted to explore the idea of creating a digital experience that would encourage exploration of a physical environment. He chose cryptozoology as a topic because it is mysterious field that is highly dependent on people interacting with the environment through photography and video.

The outcome of Garzarelli’s work is CRYPTO, an exhibit that explores cryptozoology and the discovery of cryptids through an interactive iPad experience triggered by sensors embedded in the physical space. Visitors are introduced to the topic and invited to utilize their devices to “discover” the hidden animals. When cryptids are “discovered” by the iPads, pulsing concentric bands are projected on the wall in the vicinity of the animal, the details of which are revealed on the iPad. The visitor is then encouraged to learn more about the myths and legends that are associated with the particular cryptid.

The physical space was interpreted with multi-leveled supergraphics to create a dimensional backdrop for the pulsing concentric bands projected on the wall and the dynamic graphics revealed on the iPad. The iPad screen is visually layered on the wall exhibition by the viewer. The wall counter to the right dynamically registers the number of cryptic sightings. The app allows the viewer to continue to investigate the topic even after they have left the exhibition.

Project Details
This project illustrated a rare aptitude for deploying content with shape and form in multiple dimensions. The monochromatic scheme and simple concept, restraint rarely found in students, help hold it together.
Juror 1
The jury found remarkable the professional look and feel of every single element of CRYPTO, from the interface design of the iPad app to the logo, illustrations, and visual elements of the exhibition wall. The connection between the theme of the exhibition and the exploratory proposed interactive experience gives consistency to the project.
Juror 2
The intrigue we have in bringing creatures to life through our imagination is celebrated in this digital exploration. This lack of physical information means the stories can be elaborated over time, possibly including the viewers’ own experiences and interpretations passed down through generations around the camp fire or dinner table. I particularly like the ability to take away the stories and share them with others.
Juror 3
Design Team

Mike Garzarelli

Design Firm

Mike Garzarelli


Bill Rees (faculty advisor)