Teaching design principles to 8 year olds #coetail


Teaching graphic design to 8 year olds is challenging. However CARP gives the kids language to start identifying good design and there are plenty of points for teachable moments.

I’ve had both Jocelyn and Angela ask me how I teach CARP in the classroom.

So here’s a quick summation. It tends to be quick 15 minute bursts where I model or show a design problem for five minutes and then the kids have a go at fixing for 10 minutes. I usually have a preset google presentation with a problem for the kids to fix thatI send out to the kids using doctopus to save everyone time.

We usually start with the two things that kids love to fool around when designing on a computer – colours and fonts.

Our first design challenge usually looks at font choices.

Be warned. If you want to incur the wrath of other teachers, you might want to avoid this technique.

I use the comic sans documentary as a provocation to start thinking at fonts.  Then we start looking at company logos where comic sans has been used (search images on google) – the kids quickly realise that the logos look weird and wrong when comic sans used.

Key lesson – Font choice matters.

Note that teaching the kids about comic sans is swallowing the red pill. The kids start seeing comic sans everywhere and start commenting on its overuse. Other teachers might not take kindly to your student pointing out this fact.

Another quick lesson – Give the kids a list of feelings and find fonts – happy, angry, sad, scared find a font to match the feeling. Start making a list of those fonts as go-to choices for showing feelings.

Wait for someone to write a story in multiple, unreadable fonts. Next teaching point. Decorative fonts are like salt – too much and you spoil your dish! Let the kids fix up a document and have a go-to list of font choices for readability.


The other thing kids love to play around with is colour. A simple design challenge might be to give the kids a quotation and then have them design it pick out important words where a contrast in colours might highlight a message.


Inevitably you get someone like this


So you start a conversation on what colours are good to use as backgrounds, what ones work for just a splash of colour. Again you might want to have the kids come up with a list of words to describe feelings and sort those into colours to help them make choices about what colours to use.

Bringing it all together

I might model something truly hideous like this.


We’ll have a quick chat about the CARP crimes committed and then the kids have to do a redesign.


Or this one… which would then lead in to a talk into positioning.


So yes it’s ongoing but there’s always plenty of material to work with both from the kids and out in the real world.

The key is small, quick bursts over activity and lots of time to play around!

from Teaching the Teacher http://ift.tt/1Lo4hSX

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