Design Matters: Let’s Get Visual (Part II)
For the second post in the series I offer some thoughts on the creative design process, evaluation of final product and process. If you’ve just landed here be sure to check out part one of this series which details the context of this project.
Stage 3: Creating the Solution
If you are familiar with project-based learning then you’ll appreciate the challenges associated with keeping students on task and within deadlines. Before diving into the ‘fun’ part, students were asked to develop a Gantt chart to help them prioritize tasks, allocate appropriate time and identify necessary resources.
Rather than use an App or template I require students to develop a Gantt chart using GoogleSheets. In this way the plans can be updated dynamically and I can follow them as they evolve. Furthermore it provides students with an opportunity to hone basic spreadsheet skills and carefully consider other assessments/events that may disrupt the allotted time for completion of the final product.
With a personalized plan established, I then gave a demo slam in Adobe Illustrator CC highlighting the following:
- proper document setup (crucial for infographic that tend to span multiple pages)
- layer creation and organization
- establishing a document grid
- importing professional color swatches from Kuler
- installing custom typefaces
- using basic shapes and the Graph tool
- locating vector-based images on the web
- using the Image Trace function to creative vector symbols
About midway through this creative stage I ask students to ‘speed share’ with the class a challenge they have and a skill they have mastered. More often than not there are people struggling with the same issues and yet are so engrossed in their work they don’t think to ask around (physically). To wrap up this stage they then post a draft version of their work to our discussion forum for peer feedback.
Stage: 4: Evaluating
With desks are arranged in a circular layout we began this stage with an exhibition of the final products. Each student has an opportunity to share the story behind their design, challenges faced and overcome. It’s always humbling to see what these young creatives are capable of designing and also to hear about their learning journey.
Links to surveys were then distributed via the class forum which lets me quickly see who has/has not started the process as well as give the other two classes convenient access. Students then analyzed their results and offered some final reflections on both the process and product.
To my surprise, a significant number of students did not feel they would still pursue the career they had investigated and visually communicated. Whilst certain careers appeared glamorous, well paying or noble some felt the requirements of the job did not fit their projected lifestyle or value systems. Moreover, several students remarked that they were inspired to pursue alternative careers based the work of their peers.
Be sure to check out samples of student work on the CDNIS Infographics board on Pinterest.