Named for the pair of mesas that jut out from the surrounding desert in southeastern Utah, Bears Ears has been hotly contested since its designation as a national monument by President Barack Obama in 2016. When President Donald Trump took office in 2017, Utahn governor Gary Herbert wrote Trump with a request to rescind Bears Ears’ national monument status. In response, outdoor apparel brand Patagonia formally announced its boycotting of the annual Outdoor Retailer market, which takes place in Salt Lake City. As an online call to action, San Francisco–based creative design studio Upperquad collaborated with Patagonia’s creative team to design and develop a site that introduces visitors to Bears Ears and implores them to help defend its status as a national monument.
As the site is intended to be an interactive film—users on mobile devices can view the site as a virtual reality experience using Google Cardboard—Patagonia tapped Seattle-based production company Duct Tape Then Beer to film the different locations throughout Bears Ears; Upperquad pieced together the film content with a minimally designed UI, enabling the beauty of the national monument to be the site’s focal point. The navigation divides the site into chapters based on topic, but users can also navigate the site by way of a map, giving a broader geographic sense of the area. Each section moves seamlessly through different content types, including video, 360-degree video and panoramic photos. Upperquad designed a series of icons to indicate different content types.
To encourage visitors to defend Bears Ears, the site encourages them to call, message or tweet politicians to show their support for the national monument.