I am currently working on a design unit with my fifth graders. I started the unit by sharing a catalog from an exhibition I saw at the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum a couple of years ago, called Design Life Now. I show them designs that I know will catch their interest such as ipod, Nike, Roomba robot vacuums, and Clear Blue Hawaii kayaks. We talk about three important components of the success of the designs. The companies represented each start with a great idea or new technology, they design cool packaging for their products and have successful marketing strategies.
Next, I bring in a product that they see everyday in the school cafeteria. I show them an Izze can and talk about how Izze took juice and seltzer and put them together in a new way. They were able to hit the school market as soda was being removed from schools and they became the healthy substitute for kids who like soda. Their packaging appeals to kids with it's small can, fun bright colors, sophisticated flavors (mandarin instead of orange) and a clean, contemporary logo.
The first project for my students, as they begin to think like designers, is to design a large 2-D composition of Izze cans drawn from observation. We discuss artist's tools and strategies used to create visual interest in a 2-D work. We discuss using size relationships by including small, medium and large objects in the design. We discuss placing objects at a variety of angles to include horizontal, vertical and diagonal orientations. We discuss overlap and including objects, that leave the page, to create interesting negative space.
The students finish the compositions by adding color with oil pastels.
Stay tuned for the next phase of our design unit...