We dedicated all of the Wednesdays in May and the first one in June were to graphics and design. The QUB creative department prepared a five-part course in graphic design for children. The lessons were set up as five one-hour online sessions and we were thrilled with what the 11 little designers aged 7-12 managed to accomplish during the course. Incidentally, you may have read the article by twelve-year-old Viky.
We started with the basics - we explained the basics of colour theory, went through some interesting facts about creation of pigments and finished the first lesson with the creation of a colour palette, which is essential for the start of any design project.
During the second meeting we touched lightly on history. From pictograms, hieroglyphs and cave paintings we made it all the way through to division of typography into expressive and functional and the children learned, among other things, to distinguish between serif and sans serif fonts. Be prepared for your little designers at home being able to amaze you with interesting facts about font construction and correctly state that some characters have bellies, tails and eyes and that a pin needn’t necessarily be the one you use in bowling! We finished the lesson by practising the correct way to adjust spacing between letters.
At the third meeting, we discovered together that the style of comic book heroes with black outlines originated in Japanese traditional woodcut and Art Nouveau posters. We shared a few tips on how to add dynamics to a story, work with bubbles, and made it clear that a comic should have a hero, a plot, a setting, and a consistent graphic style. Together we created a short comic strip on the theme of Surprise.
In the fourth lesson, we delved into packaging design, practised the skills we had acquired relating to colours and typography and put the little designers up against a difficult task - designing the packaging for a bag of sweets. Again, we followed the same procedure as we would in normal practice, starting with research and noting details and differences between, for example, fruit and chocolate sweet designs. The children showed a tremendous amount of creativity and, apart from designing the packaging, they also came up with ideas for the names of the new sweets - would you buy Chicken Beaks if you saw them on the shelves?
In the first four lessons, we deliberately avoided the computer and worked with designs on paper (again, the same as is the case in practice when creating designs). In the fifth and final lesson we tried to make our way to a graphic editor and introduced the children to Figma. We tried to transfer the design for our bag of sweets into a computer. The children passed this last test, almost a trial by fire, and we are currently collecting all of their creations.
On behalf of QUB Digital Ivana Stránská, Michal Hořava and Jan Čermák