Graphic designer Michael Tran is a 2013 graduate of the Iceland Academy of the Arts.

His final project Ups and Downs: A Cycling Journey Across the Alps tells the story of his challenging bicycle journey from Paris to Munich in 2005. The book combines two of  his major passions, bicycle touring and graphic design.


Ups and Downs is an exercise in visual storytelling and is intended as a source of inspiration and information for those who are interested in adventure travel.


Bicycle touring and adventure travel stories have generally been told using a conventional form. However, Michael uses an information design approach to not only explain this uncommon mode of travel but also as a way of presenting an alternative way to illustrate a journey. Along with a playful narrative, the reader is drawn into a story of the uphills and the downhills of the alpine road to Munich, of camping in nature and all that comes with it.





The book contains stories of the nineteen days of the trip that are based on his journal from that time. Graphs and photos are used to document the physical highlights of the trip whilst the graphic treatment of the text and illustrations provide an insight into his thoughts and mental state during the journey. The combination of these visual elements infuses the stories with vividness and expression, which sometimes invoke an emotional response.


The project was exhibited at Reykjavik Art Museum in the LHÍ Final Exhibition 2013.

Images Courtesy of Michael Tran



This is our second edition of our yearly round-up of final projects by brand new designers graduating from the Iceland Academy of the Arts.