d4d lab


Cooperativa Xyaat is an ecotourism cooperative that creates culturally and environmentally responsible community tours and educational programs. Xyaat’s distance from major tourist attractions – 1.5 hours from Valladolid and Tulum, and 30 minutes from Carrillo Puerto – make it accessible for a day trip. Visiting Xyaat provides insight into daily life in rural Maya communities and interactions with practitioners of traditional handicrafts, natural medicine, and storytellers. In addition, to their community tourism efforts, Xyaat also provides education to local youth on environmental sustainability, fosters respect for Maya language and practices, promotes environmental projects, including organic farming, and mentors others in the community tourism and artisan industries.

Create an identity (logo, color palette, signage, website and printed materials) in order to help a relatively unknown cooperative community promote a controlled amount of consistent tourism. This project will aid in teaching and preserving Mayan traditions and culture while also creating a reliable source of income for the cooperative.
  • gaby hernandez, marcos cante canul, herbe chim ake


Culturally sustainable
Unique in region

People leave community to work at the resorts
Lack of funding for generating new business
Unknown to tourists
Difficult to access
No tourist infrastructure


Part of our fieldwork included participating in the tours Xyaat offers. We conducted semi-formal interviews with community participants and drew from their central themes regarding heritage, cultural identity, and respect. Our approach was then to promote everyday interactions with residents of Señor who will share their life experiences and knowledge on a one-to-one basis. Rather than anonymous performers, potential visitors could envision the people, objects, and activities they will encounter.

Fieldwork Videos


Refresh of Xyaat's brand identity with an affinity to the butterfly metaphor.

Deliverables included stationery, road-side and building signage, website, and promotional materials for distribution in the region.

Key concepts and activities: co-design, slow-design, semi-structured interviews, fieldwork observation
original signage
original signage


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Project Team

DESIGNERS: Gaby Hernández, Doug Barrett, Maria Rogal, Kelly Jeck, Molly Aubry, Emily Frye, Marcela Gurdián, Kelly Skinner // XYAAT: Marcos Canté Canul, Santos Pech // CONSULTANTS: Alex Racelis, Alison Brovold

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