Lindsey takes over the Rant this week:
Teaching Graphic Design to our youth…
As I scanned the room and saw 19 attentive children gazing up at me, eager to hear what I had to say, I realized I didn’t have my computer monitor to hide behind. I had unknowingly agreed to teach a group of adolescent Third Graders about my job as a Graphic Designer.
When you’ve been designing logos, brochures, ads, magazines and websites every day for 6 years, you very rarely have to explain to someone the process involved. Knowing all of the fundamentals of Graphic Design, I was forced to do something I’ve always had difficulty doing…simplifying. I was going to have to put myself in the shoes of a Third Grader and figure out how they might comprehend Graphic Design. Without going into too much detail. What was even more challenging…no computer! Then I recalled the first semester of Graphic Design in college that involved no computers.
Creating a lesson plan brought me back to the days of learning about Typography and the importance it plays into how we interpret things graphically. I knew that I probably wouldn’t keep their attention for long by only talking about Typography, so I decided to start them off with a simple question…
What is graphic design? I had 8 random objects spread out on a table and asked the students to tell me which found objects contained elements of graphic design. They each came up and pointed to what they thought and looked at me with an expression of confusion when they realized it was a trick question. All of the items contained aspects of graphic design, (baseball cap with team logo, kleenex box, macaroni and cheese box, book, pen, brochure, book, and newspaper). I explained to the students that Graphic Design is all around them. I then went on to explain Graphic Design as being the combination of colors, type, images, textures, shapes, lines, and words to communicate an idea visually.
In order to elaborate on how I use graphic design in my profession, I explained that using different type and color communicates certain emotions and ideas that we are able to comprehend subconsciously. By displaying different typeface themes (scary, western, techno, fantasy) I was able to aid in their understanding of this concept. I also chose to display different colors and asked them to yell out what that color expressed to them. They realized that many of their answers were the same. YELLOW…Happy! Excited! Bright! To tie it all together, I showed them examples of branding that displayed both color and typography we discussed. When I saw head nods and looks of amazement I was relieved.
It was time for me to present to them an art project where they could be creative using their own imaginations and the fundamentals of graphic design I taught. Since I was informed that they all loved to read, what was better then having them design their own book covers! The students were filled with excitement as the crayons, colored-pencils and markers spilled out onto their desktops.
Overall this experience taught me that…I actually know a thing or two about Graphic Design. More importantly when you are teaching a classroom full of youngsters, it’s important to not only make sure your teaching at their level of understanding, but also do things that will keep their attention. If asked to volunteer to be art teacher for the day again, I would have a very difficult time declining because of how much I enjoyed it.