In 2012, I began to conduct research on the history of Africans in Japan. The topic is dear to my heart, as I spent over seven years living, studying, and working in Japan at the turn of the century. I focused on the Age of Explorstion, a period from 1500-1700, and the stories of the first Portuguese sailors who landed in southern Japan. Many of them were African and South Asian slaves and navigators. Over the next few years, I gathered a huge amount of research material, from that time, including maps, contemporary narratives, diaries, drawings, paintings, and other physical artifacts.
What does a 16th century historical diary look like online? I analyzed illuminated manuscripts to see how text and image were put together. Using sidebars and callouts, the design shows numerous historical connections, allowing the reader to compare art and artifacts. The type choices speak to that historical period, with line lengths, italics, and drop caps all part of the design system.