Artisan: Jay Carlson/Clue Town Books, Atlanta, Georgia
Clue Town Books is a series of ready-to-solve puzzle hunts. Our indoor hunts can be solved anywhere in the world, wherever you feel comfortable. And our outdoor hunts are located in walkable areas of Atlanta and beyond. You use landmarks to solve puzzles, and the solutions reveal how to get to the next checkpoint. It’s a fun adventure for adults and kids. Ages twelve and up should be able to complete an entire hunt without adult assistance.
Although the books are a physical product, they ultimately provide an experience that can be shared with family and friends. Together you’ll visit outdoor locations and learn about local history and public art while getting exercise.
My creative process starts with scouting a location and taking photos of everything. Later, those sites are put on a map, and a path is developed that balances iconic spots and hidden spots. When designing the puzzles, I try to make sure each book uses different styles, ideally mixing visual and text-based puzzles, so it provides a new experience for the repeat customers.
I had a history of designing puzzles (word searches, crosswords) for a campus newspaper when I was in college. Cut to fifteen years later, I visited Piedmont Park and discovered off-path landmarks that I had never noticed before, even though I had visited the park dozens of times. I thought it would be interesting to show others what was under their noses the whole time, so I attempted to create a puzzle scavenger hunt that required solvers to be on-site instead of sitting indoors. And that’s how Clue Town was born.
I find inspiration by listening to people. When a person or group of people are excited to tell me about where they live, it inspires me to design a hunt for that location. I also like to challenge myself to create new puzzle styles I’ve never seen before.
I’ve been fortunate that self-quarantine hasn't disrupted Clue Town too much. The amount of commissioned puzzle hunts has definitely grown, and designing those hunts for clients has kept me busy during the pandemic.