1st December was the date that the 2016/17 TICE programme made its way to Hebburn for the Insight stage of graphic design

The day’s session was led by Mark Pattinson, a highly experienced graphic designer. Mark and myself met with a nice bunch of year 10 students at Hebburn Comprehensive School. The students were informed of the Open Badge Academy and the three different stages: Insight, Explore and Create. The group were informed of how great these will look on their future C.Vs, so a little early extra incentive there!

Mark introduced the programme to the students and delved into a bit of his own background within the industry. Everyone was given an insightful breakdown as to what graphic design is and the career paths that are out there within the industry.

The learning goals for today’s session consisted of:

  • Having a clear understand of what a graphic designer does
  • Being able to generate ideas with confidence
  • Understanding how to generate hand drawn ideas

To test the knowledge within the room, Mark asked the group “what is a graphic designer and what do they do?” The students gave some varied responses, all of which were true to the many jobs a graphic designer can undertake. Answer varied from designing adverts and posters, brochures and school badges…very versatile I must say! Mark agreed that a graphic designer is responsible for all the aforementioned designs and continued to add to that list, stating a GD literally everything from designing phone apps to magazine layouts…sky’s the limit!

The creative task for the day required the students to design Starbucks a Christmas themed cup for a new festive drink…new and imaginative flavours were just as acceptable as Starbucks current menu! This task required the students to use their natural artistic flair as they had to hand drawn their designs using cup templates.

Mark asked the group where their inspiration was going to emerge from to which one student replied “inspiration comes from everywhere”. Very true!

However, before everyone got stuck into the main task, the students had to undertake a little warm up task designed to ignite their creative sparks! The task consisted of using triangle outlines to create as many different objects as possible. I can confirm that it was definitely harder than it sounded!

Mark asks the group what they thought the purpose of the task was. Replies from around the room consisted of “being able to look at things differently” and “to realise that ideas can stem from anywhere”. A guitar, a cat, a balloon, a bird and a pizza are examples of what the students managed to conjure using only triangular outlines. Such creativity sparked high praise from Mark as he claimed these were some of the “best ideas he’d seen” for this task. Not bad at all, guys!

Mark emphasised that carrying out research is essential. The students brainstormed some ideas before then using the computers to conduct some online research, using resources such as Google. One pupil, Cameron, claimed to have thought of a “ground-breaking idea” whilst conducting online research… let’s hope so!

The students then collected their ‘initial templates’. These weren’t the final templates that they’d be using to draw up their final masterpieces…

The class seemed to liaise excellently together as they enthusiastically bounced ideas off one another. The creativity was oozing throughout! Mark occasionally chipped in to offer his expert input as well as deserved praise. The students then had a discussion amongst themselves as they traded opinions on each other’s ideas, giving peer-to-peer advice and opinion as to what ideas seemed to work the best.

Everyone soon got cracking on their final designs after a much needed lunch break! I have to say, there were some absolutely fantastic ideas in development. Hebburn Comprehensive School certainly has a talented bunch of students, that’s for sure!

In my humble opinion, there were some very aesthetically pleasing designs within the group. I saw cup templates that consisted of the deep red colour of Santa’s uniform serving as a festive backdrop, complemented by the iconic Starbucks logo! Other designs that caught my eye featured Elf (you know the film, it’s a Christmas classic!), some rather scrumptious looking candy canes and snowmen. A design I particularly enjoyed the look of contained the iconic stars and stripes of the American flag as the backdrop of the cup. The Statue of Liberty was also present, as was Santa’s sleigh as it can be seen flying across the face of the statue. I mean, who wouldn’t want to visit New York at Christmas time? There’s The Pogues’ timeless classic Xmas hit ‘Fairytale of New York’, Home Alone 2… you see my point here.

The last thing for the students to do for the day was to carry out an evaluation of their excellent day’s work.

Mark then reinforced the importance of the Open Badge Academy to the group after giving them a deserved amount of praise for their tremendous efforts. He even went on to say that the work produced by their “fresh young minds” gave him a bit of fresh inspiration! High praise indeed coming from a top industry professional.

By Tom Dingwall