Fairy Tales–Textbooks of Life

Marija Istocnika

Research Questions

1. What are the functions of a fairy tale?

2. What are the defying properties of a fairy tale?

3. What kind of differences do fairy tales have in distinct countries?


Connie Hwang, SJSU Graphic Design Professor
Primary Advisor

Julio Martínez, SJSU Graphic Design Lecturer
Secondary Advisor

Tatiana De Wansa, Child Psychologist
Tertiary Advisor


Fairy tales are an enlightening and versatile literature genre that conveys messages that readers can interpret according to their development and necessity. Due to the rich moral lessons they provide, fairy tales remind us of the past, prepare for the present, and foresees the future. The greatness of fairy tales is that they serve as an encyclopedia about different cultures and their values. In a way, fairy tales are accumulated wisdom that ancestors pass down the generations. Nowadays, fairy tales are presented in multi-media format: book and audiobook, movies, in a theater play or ballet, accompanied by music, dance, and illustrations. All these things combined make fairy tales a “gesamtkunstwerk,” a total work of Art.  With the artistic skill and imagination, the story becomes alive.

The imaginary world encourages for good deeds, values different cultures, creates hopes, teaches life lessons, and educates about morality.

Fairy tales are important for readers, especially the younger generation, to learn about feelings and qualities that make a person good or bad, the importance of consequences, and moral lessons that would become life guidance.

I want to introduce a way to popularize fairy tales to encourage readers for good deeds, nurture imagination, unite generations, and learn from valuable life lessons from different cultures.


The fairy tale universe includes the fold-out book, a set of dolls, character cards, and the packaging that opens up as a book. This set is designed to promote creativity by inventing your own story, encourage communications by providing detailed hand-drawn materials, and express emotions by storytelling.


The packaging, dolls, and book are made out of bamboo. It is a sustainable eco-friendly material that can last through childhood, safe to play with if a child would want to taste it, and has a relaxation ability due to the greenhouse gases absorbing power. On the edges of the packaging, sides of the fold-out book, there is a magnetic strip, followed by the decal. This way, the packaging has no distracting elements, the book can fully open and preserve the carousel shape, and the dolls can be attached to the book scene or stored in the box.


Fold-out book:
width  9"
height 12"

width  2"
height 12.5"

width  12.5"
height 12.5" 
depth  1.19" 

width 1.18"–2.75"
height 1.5"–3.15" 
depth 0.39"–0.78"

The Fold-Out Book

The fold-out book consists of four scenes where characters can travel around the port, market, house, and forest. By having no textual information, the book becomes multicultural and speaks to every child. The advantage of this book is that there is no beginning and no end so the children can maneuver the story however they want.


The Cards

The set of cards were made for main characters to have some little stories that can create a bond between the child and the hero.

The Dolls

The characters are created to supplement the storyline while children are interacting with the scenes. Although new characters and elements were created for a specific scene in mind, these versatile objects can play their part at any scene.

Project Reflection

As my final project, I wanted to make the audience believe that through reading the fairy tales the world can be a little bit better. The negativity can be dealt with reasoning, sharing kindness will eliminate anger, and communication would lead to friendship. I believe that we can prepare the younger generation to be creative, be passionate, and kind through teaching valuable life lessons with fairy tales. 

  2020 timeiswhatyoumakeofit