Project Nande’s Field Guide to Chicago

Case Study
  • Chicago Field Guide Project Nande - Scout Books
  • Chicago Field Guide Project Nande - Scout Books
  • Chicago Field Guide Project Nande - Scout Books

We’re adventure lovers here, and we also get inspired when we see people charting new territory. The Chicago Field Guide’s put together by Project Nande are the perfect mixture of both. This hands-on approach to exploration and helping people find places and events beyond what you might find in a Google search is such a great use of the Scout Books format. We reached out to Andrew Tran, the founder of Project Nande, to ask him about his project and how he’s using these Field Guides.

Can you tell us a bit about Project Nande?
Project Nande is a collective of Chicago-based photographers and writers that have a lot of love for our city. So we spend our time experimenting with technology and content to help people voyage across Chicago and set off on their own adventures.

We started our first experiment over a year ago by producing a subscription-based series of online travel photo essays to motivate readers to cross neighborhood lines and explore parts of Chicago they otherwise might not experience. Each week we go around the city with our cameras and notepad to find what we think will inspire our members to experience someone else’s community. At the end of each week, we publish an online travel photo essay with original photography and writing that acts as an itinerary telling readers where to go, what to do, and how. We followed that up by introducing a text message based concierge service so members could talk to us directly about things to see in Chicago. Our latest experiment is this pocket Chicago Field Guide.

What made you decide to create a printed guide? 
We’re always looking for creative ways to encourage people to experience something new in the city, and there’s something about holding a physical travel guide and flipping through its pages that inspires adventure.

Why did you choose Scout Books?
We were inspired by how creative other people were with creating their Scout Books and we thought this was the perfect medium for our work. Plus, you made the whole process as easy as you could for folks like us who had no experience with print publications or book design.

Can you tell us about the name, where does Project Nande come from?
Nande (pronounced naan-day) is the phonetic spelling of a Japanese word meaning “why” or “how to.”  We chose that name because we’re a perpetually curious group of people trying our best to navigate the world.

It seems like you’re working to create the anti-Yelp, non-algorithmic recommendation resource. Can you tell us why you think that’s important?
I don’t know if we’re anti-Yelp or anything like that. We just have a different approach in how to inspire people to explore. We don’t think you need another publication creating “Top 100 Hamburgers in Chicago” articles. For us, what we think is important is simply telling an authentic story of our first hand experiences and giving you all the information to do it yourself.

Do you plan on expanding outside of Chicago?
Not sure at the moment. We’ve been watching too many InDesign tutorials to think about anything else!

Images courtesy of Project Nande. Huge thanks to Andrew for speaking with us about these Field Guides! We can’t wait to make it back out to Chicago. You can find more about Andrew and Project Nande via their website.