Luz Mary - natural dyes

Created in 2019

During September and October 2019 me and my group developed Luz Mary – natural dyes, a social project for the MDI at IED Madrid.
After a field trip of a week working with Omacha Foundation in Puerto Nariño (Amazon jungle of Colombia) we decided to help Luz Mary, 
a Ticuna woman who runs a workshop on natural dyes, keeping alive her culture’s traditions. Let’s start from the context.

Photos from our experience in Puerto Nariño

Puerto Nariño 
is located 87 km away from Leticia, the largest city in the colombian Amazon. It’s the first eco-village of Colombia, infact there are no vehicles (except for a garbage truck and an ambulance). It’s possible to arrive to the village only by boat from Leticia and it takes two hours. Three indigenous ethnic groups coexist in Puerto Nariño:  Ticuna, Yaguas and Cocamas.

Tourism, along with fishing, is the main source of income for the community of Puerto Nariño. It started to be a touristic destination in the last 10 years with the help of the University, the goverment and Omacha Foundation.



  • She wants to do more workshops during the whole year to get money to mantain her family (now she does only 3/4 workshop during the whole year and always around September/October);
  •  The locals, expecially the young ones, are not interested in learning her crafts.

“I want to have more workshops, to have more resources for my children to study. For example, the one who just left is studying to be a cop, he is seeing if he gathers his money to get into the police. I have another daughter who’s studying. More than anything, what I work is for them. Everything is expensive. That’s why I was telling Fernando to have  workshops during the year, not all at once. Once, twice, or three times a month.”


  • There is a big generation gap between millenials and the older generations in technology awareness;
  • Young people are interested in the traditions that tourists like, because these can increase their economic possibilities.


  • They are interested in the myths of the community;
  •  Most tourists come from France;
  •  They still use online travel agencies to search and book their travels.


  • Even if the people in Puerto Nariño are finding ways to up-cycling plastic creating various kind of crafts, plastic pollution is still a big issue;
  • The internet connection in the village is working only close to the city hall and it’s not always available.


Here is the customer journey of the tourists who attend the workshop with all the painpoints highlighted.


Taking in consideration the three pillars (economy, society and environment) and the effect we
would like to produce in the long period we shaped a tailored solution for Luz Mary and her workshop.
We covered the aspects of branding and communication, we redesigned the workshop and created souvenirs.



We decided to promote the workshop in Colombian and French eco-tourism agencies that already have touristic packages for trips to the colombian Amazon. With this, we solved the Luz Mary’s issue of not having technological skills to manage the online booking and working with agencies will create a more direct and personal relationship, which will be more suitable for her. Furthermore, these touristic packages usually include a tour guide who will be able to translate for Luz Mary, solving one of the main pain points.

To catch the attention and interest of the people who come to Leticia, this flyer will be distributed inside the airport. Every tourist as soon as they arrive in Leticia need to pay a tourist eco-tax. In this moment they also receive brochures and fyers with information on places to visit and activities to do. This will be another important check-point to promote Luz Mary’s workshop. This flyers will also be available in the tourist information stand in Puerto Nariño, both in Spanish and English.



We smoothed out the pain points reordering some steps of the workshop and adding a little storytelling component about Luz Mary’s personal story, the importance of the natural dyes in the culture and information about the fruits and plants used in the workshop.

Achote - one the most important fruits for festivities
Helping Luz Mary to scrape the bark of the Guacamayo Caspi
A poster would be present to help the tourists to remeber the name, colour and process of each plant and fruit
The colours show up during the boiling process
Helping Luz Mary to manage the fire and the boiling
Coloured t-shirts and fibers hanging for drying


Created putting together two lids and a neck of a bottle, the most polluting parts.
It contains the dyes transformed into powder to last longer (until six months).
A piece of Yanchama (local plants) is colored with the dyes to show them.

This is a good way to reuse the leftovers from the workshop that otherwise Luz Mary uses to throw away and also to recycle some plastic.
These souvenirs can be sold at the end of the workshop or in the local souvenirs shops, in this way she will have another possible source of income.
For the tourists this would be a way to bring home an original memory from the workshop and they will also spread the world about the workshop.


We have designed three very simple manuals for Luz Mary in Spanish: 

Manual of suggestions for the workshop;
Manual to contact the diferent agencies;
Manual to create the souvenir.

We created an email account “luzmary.tintesnaturales@gmail.com” so she can communicate with the diferent agencies and respond to their requests.  The most important aspect of the implementation is for her to find someone that knows how to use an email. We suggest one of her sons or daughters. Inside the email, she will find all the visual communication outputs to print (the posters, the fyers, etc). She will also find a redacted email (both in Spanish and English) to simply forward to the diferent agencies. All this is explained inside the manuals.

Thanks to:

Lucas Karagozian – especially for the collaboration in analysing and redesigning the workshop

Serio Costa – especially for the collaboration in creating the souvenir 

Luz Mary

Erick Reyes Alva De La Selva – for taking some the photos you can see here