live savannah

Winner of a Savannah AAF Silver ADDY Award




In a collaboration with Hewlett-Packard and SCAD students were asked to make the city of Savannah “live” using HP’s new app, LinkReader in 10 weeks. LinkReader is a free, mobile app that connects digital experiences with printed material. The printed collateral has an invisible watermark, and when users hover over with their smart phones, the app then links them to a rich digital experience. The printed media can be directly linked to websites, social media, videos, and much more.

Our goal was to create an experience that allows users to 'peel back' the layers of history in Savannah that fits to their interests. To make the city of Savannah "live" using HP's new app, LinkReader, we focused on creating an experience that shows all that the city has to offer in history, dinning, retail, and attractions, in time for the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Past Forward conference. Additionally there needed to be some sort of experience in the Savannah/Hilton Head Airport to introduce tourists to the app and downtown experience.


The Team

Our team was compromised of advertising, historical preservation, graphic and industrial design students. It was an extremely collaborative team that helps bring the experience to life. I was the Airport Project Manager and designer. I focused on being the liaison for the airport marketing team to the designers working on creating the experience.

My Role -  Airport Project Manager and Designer


Key Entry Points

We narrowed our focus on three key areas for how we planned to introduce the LinkReader experience throughout Savannah. We focused on the Airport, Downtown, and Visitor Centers. Downtown included hotels, businesses, and restaurants that we planned on partnering with. 



We began our research by observing how users traveled through the airport and downtown Savannah. By walking around the airport and downtown, taking tours, and interviewing tourists for two days we were able to find the best locations around town for our own experience. In addition to this we were able to pin point over 80 businesses along the route that could benefit from LinkReader.

Airport User Journey | key areas users visted before exiting the airport

Downtown User Journey | key areas users visited while touring downtown


User Personas

Savannah is a unique city, it's small in size, but provides a variety of reasons for people to visit. We narrowed our focus to three users:

Users allowed for our team to understand the challenges we faced when designing the experience.

People come from different backgrounds

In 2014, over 13.4 million visitors came to Savannah including 7.6 million overnight visitors and 5.8 million day-trippers. Boardings at the airport were 6% ahead of the previous year’s (2014) pace. We have users coming to the city for many different reasons. How do we gain the user's attention at the right moment to experience LinkReader without disturbing their reason to visit Savannah?

People need to learn a new interface

Depending on how experienced a user is with new technology, this can be an easy or challenging experience. How does our team encourage users to try and explore the new interface?



We had limited time to ideate possible solutions for the experience. We presented multiple ideas to HP and Airport that lead to our evolution of Live Savannah. Ideating needed to meet the following goals: 

  • Connect physical to digital experiences
  • Inspire users to uncover Savannah's history in a new way
  • Enhance and promote the LinkReader technology and experience
  • Develop rich content (print and digital) that users can only find in our experience

The campaign idea that got selected was called 'Peeling Back' Savannah. Savannah is full of rich history and secrets that are waiting to be uncovered. The campaign would encourage users to uncover the parts of history that find most interesting. We would provide the tools that would allow their experience to continue throughout the city of Savannah.



Based on our research, we focused on the key areas within the airport and downtown to focus on. Specifically, in the airport we focused on poster kiosks, baggage claim, and video boards. In two days, we installed 40 live posters, two 40-foot wall installations, two projectors, and 8-light up wall brackets in the airport. 



In the airport when users scanned the maps and posters they were directed to a video (see below) that gives a brief overview of how to use LinkReader and the downtown experience.

Airport Posters | scanned to highlight introductory video

Downtown Map | highlights locations that are 'live' and scannable

Bagagge Claim | video reel informing tourists to download LinkReader

Starting the experience


The video below is what users saw once they began their experience via the key entry points. The video highlights how to download LinkReader, how to scan 'live' materials, and what to expect once you scan 'live' materials. 

Video created by Tanner Scarr and Timothy Skinner


Live Savannah App

When scanning any watermarked material, via LinkReader, throughout downtown Savannah, users could access information about the historic building. Each building features a video with images of the past and present, displaying changes and restorations completed over its lifespan. The 'Building Interior' coin views the inside of the SCAD hisitorical buildings. The design behind the 'Explore' coin allows users to learn about the square closest to their current location, along with given information about which restaurants, shopping, and speciality are in their proximity. Selecting a location gives you their description, along with a Google Maps integration which allows the user to obtain directions to the specific location. 


Promoting Awareness

The final week of the project we gave several guided tours to members from the Historical Preservation Society. The purpose of these tours was to show the members what can be done with LinkReader and the possibilities it could bring to their own communities.



We tested the Live Savannah experience over a 3-day period and observed people's interactions with what we had created. These results were obtained through Link Creation Studio and Google Analytics. We have accounted for our own interactions with Live Savannah and adjusted the numbers accordingly.

Through this rich digital experience we have created, users not only recognize LinkReader and its scannable signals but expect it. Through this phase of a year long LinkReader project, we have familiarized local businesses with the technology so that in the future they may take this into their own hands. In doing so, they can print their own material and stay relevant in the community by updating their watermarked content. The project helped HP take strides toward giving LinkReader ubiquity and sustainability leading to a future in which LinkReader technology is embedded in our routine, recognized universally, and utilized holistically.


Here's a video that highlights the Live Savannah experience.