By now, if you have been following our posts, you will be an expert in graphic design (or at least very close)! As educators, we must ask the question- how can we use graphic design in the classroom?
Broadly, graphic design can be used to teach students how to visually express themselves so that others can understand their ideas. Graphic design can be found anywhere in the classroom- from posters to power-point presentations to info-graphics. It also can be used to set up our students for the future by helping them create resumes and cover letters for employers. If students are able to present themselves in a visually appealing manner, they are more likely to get jobs in the future. If an employer is deciding between giving an interview to someone with a poorly designed/unorganized resume or someone who is demonstrating organizational and design skills, who do you think they would give it to?
Graphic design can also be used by teachers to create concept maps and info-graphics to help enhance student learning. Teachers can also use it to create flyers for school events to send home to parents/guardians. Parents/guardians receive so many flyers from schools that they rarely read all of them. If you want your idea/event to stand out above others you need to design a flyer that does that.
This week to further our learning of how we can use graphic design, we watched and learned from this video on Youtube all about branding and design. We found that this video summarized the other videos we have been learning from and brought all the various elements of graphic design together.
Essentially, branding is how others perceive you and your company and your product.
Your visual identity is how your branding looks with your colour, typography, etc. Visual identity can be very persuasive for the consumer. Visual identity sets the tone for your product or brand.
The main elements of Visual Identity are:
A logo can include a small image or icon and/ or some text. A good logo is a simple logo. All of the elements of your logo contribute to your brand’s identity and visual identity. Main colours used in the brand should be reflected in the logo. Like with all graphic design, use complementary colours to avoid vibrating and to ensure you don’t go too crazy with colours. Be sure to include a neutral colour in your logo and brand as well. When choosing fonts for the text, choose about three and be sure that they compliment each other and depict your brand well. Avoid overused and ugly fonts like comic sans ms and papyrus. When in doubt, use a timeless font that does not distract from your message. When choosing images for your brand, aim to tie them all together with a common thread such as colour, theme, or graphics. Avoid images that are generic or unauthentic.
Here is a little logo made with Adobe Spark that I use for my own blog:
I kept it very simple as I am drawn to a more simplistic design. I chose to use white as my background colour and a darker green on the white for my text. I used a classic font and then as a graphic I used some leafy plants that go in a circle as a border.
For week six of our graphic design inquiry project we focused on the importance of layout & composition in a project. We watched this video on how to properly organize the different components of graphic design projects & here are the 5 points we learned!
Proximity- using visual space to show relationship
make sure related items are grouped together to make work easier to read/understand
White space- helps define & separate different sections
don’t be afraid to use it!
makes sure your work remains uncluttered
Alignment- how each item in your design lines up
inconsistent alignment makes your work look messy
Contrast- difference in text, colour, proximity, size…
helps catch the readers eye & emphasizes important items (& make these stand out)
Repetition- every part of a project should have a consistent look & feel
Makes your work easier to read because the viewer knows what to expect
Paying attention to details like these is what will make your graphic designs stand out among others! For more videos on graphic design, click here!
Today, we decided to experiment with PicMonkey. PicMonkey is a photo editing and graphic design tool. It is easy to use and offers users tutorials to help them achieve their specific design needs. PicMonkey gives users the option to being with either a template or blank canvas. It also allows you make specific searches based on your needs.
PicMonkey is easy to use and all of us could definitely see using it in the classroom. However, PicMonkey has a massive downside: it costs money. We took advantage of the 7 day free trial in order to test it out. However, it is not realistic to pay $7.99/month for a graphic design tool as a teacher. It is much more reasonable to use a free tool like Canva or Adobe Spark for any graphic design opportunities in the classroom.
By watching this video, we were able to learn that colour is an important aspect of graphic design and that colour is all around us. Colour can evoke a certain mood or emotion and therefore it is important to understand the basics. Colour theory is something that we learn from a young age. Colour theory is primary (red, blue, yellow) and secondary (orange, green, purple) colours.
The main components of colour to consider are:
Hue → the colour itself (ex. blue)
Saturation → how intense the colour is (ex. turquoise vs. navy)
Value → how dark or light a colour is on a scale going from white to black
The colour wheel is a key element to learning about colour. By using the colour wheel, we are able to achieve colour harmony. There are several different types of colour harmony:
Monochromatic – one colour/hue, these colours will always match (ex. red and pink)
Analogous – colours that are next to each other on the colour wheel (ex. red and orange)
Complimentary – colours that are opposite on the colour wheel, this adds variety (ex. blue and orange)
Split Complimentary – three colours using the ones on either side of the compliment, to form a triangle (ex. red, green yellow, green blue)
Triadic – three colours that are evenly separated, creates a sticking effect (ex. orange, purple, green)
Tetradic – four colours that create a rectangle on the wheel, two complementary pairs, often one will dominate and the others will serve as accents (ex. purple, orange, yellow, blue)
Here are some final tips for working with colours:
make sure your colours are readable and letters can be seen
too much colour can be overwhelming
balance colours with white, black, and grey
consider the tone of the message you are sending (less saturation can be more professional looking
Before starting this project I never ventured out & used a font besides times new roman in my projects. As we progress with our tech inquiry project, we have to start thinking about everything that contributes to graphic design. For example, something as small as picking the font you use for a project can have a huge impact on how your audience perceives your work. This video by GCFLearnFree.Org describes the basics of working with typography, what fonts to use, which ones to avoid & how to make your work stand out above others. I found this video very helpful for beginning graphic designers like myself.
Serif fonts- perfect for more traditional projects, print publications; gives your document a more classy look
Sans Serif fonts- more clean & modern than serif fonts; easier to read
Display fonts- many different styles; very decorative so great for titles & headers but not large amounts of text
Anything else you would have used when creating a project for a middle school class
All are outdated & overused
Tips & Tricks
Less is more- limit yourself to one or two fonts per project
Make combinations- experiment w/ using the same font but a different size, weight or style
Opposites attract- decorative w/ simple, all caps w/ lowercase, tall w/ short, big w/ small
Guide the readers eye towards what is most important in a project- make that different in some way
Always use spacing that makes your text as easy to read as possible
Now that you know a bit more about typography I encourage you to give it a try! How can you turn an ordinary project into an extraordinary one?
Maeve, Olivia, and I are all pretty unfamiliar with graphic design. Broadly, all of us are simply curious about what it is and how to do it. Specifically, we are interested in how we could use it to enhance our teaching practice. This article gave us a few ideas about how to do so. The article talks about using “C.R.A.P” principles of web design when creating infographics. C.R.A.P stands for contrast, repetition, alignment, and proximity. Contrast is vital in order to make the important elements stand out and the less important elements less obvious. The purpose of an infographic is to communicate information to viewers in a logical and clear way, which is why more important information should be more obvious. The article suggests making contrasts in the types of font, colours, line thickness, spacing between elements, and shapes. The “R” in C.R.A.P. stands for repetition. Graphic designers, according to the article, repeat certain elements of design (such as colour or shape) in order to “develop a sense of organization, unity, and consistency”. Most graphic design tools do this automatically when you choose a template, so this is not an area that you generally have to focus on. The “A” in C.R.A.P. stands for alignment. All design elements should be connected to the others in some way; nothing should be placed on the screen arbitrarily because this causes the design to come across as messy and disorganized. Lastly, the “P” in C.R.A.P. stands for proximity, which is important in order to communicate the relatedness of two or more concepts. Basically, when doing graphic design, be mindful of your creative choices.
The same article mentions that Canva can be helpful for teachers to design worksheets, infographics, schedules, posters, flyers, and more. Below I have included a screenshot of what the Canva website looks like.
I have been experimenting with Canva and had lots of fun creating a concept map for this project (shown below). I am obviously not an expert, but I think it looks pretty good considering how new I am to graphic design! I am starting to see that there are lots of ways to use graphic design in my future teaching practice.
Canva also allows users to be collaborative on projects. For example, if Maeve, Liv and I wanted to work on a graphic design project together, I could just invite them to view my designs, edit, and share their designs. Last semester, we had to make a flyer for one of our classes. My group ended up making it on Microsoft Word and then emailing each other a draft with every small change that we made. If we knew about Canva, our lives would have been so much simpler.
For our tech inquiry project, the three of us (Olivia, Maeve, Julia) decided to learn about graphic design. Throughout our daily lives, we are constantly exposed to graphic design through digital and social media and in our everyday tasks. As young professionals starting out in the education world, being proficient in graphic design will be an asset to our classrooms and school communities.
As a starting point, none of really know much of anything about graphic design. We are aware that it is generally a combination of words and images that make up some sort of advertisement or logo, etc. We are not certain about how to do graphic design. We recognize that there are several outlets that we can use to create our own graphics but we are unaware of the differences between the outlets and which one is best suited to our needs.
To begin, we watched several videos about graphic design (like the one below) on Youtube. From there, we were able to learn several of the fundamental ideas about graphic design such as line, shape, and balance.
Our goals moving forward are individually different, but as a whole, we would like to further our knowledge and attempt some graphic designing. So far, one of us has used Adobe Spark (which was free and easy to find) to create very small graphics. The website took some time to sort out and we are still learning what we can actually do with the site. We would like to explore the graphic design world a bit more and explore what kinds of things we would like to learn. We are in a state right now of almost not even knowing what we don’t know so we would like to delve further into this concept that is relatively new to us.
We’d like to experiment with different websites to try graphic design and hopefully, find ones that either doesn’t cost anything or that we can begin with a free trial. Once we become more adept, we will decide on our favourites and how they compare to others.