Graphic design is an important skill to teach kids. Good design is needed for school newspaper, posters, websites and yearbooks. It’s also important in advertising, branding and in communications jobs. Graphic design skills are imperative for personal and business websites, in advertising billboards, brochures, product labels, newsletters, business cards, and in print publications. According to business author Daniel Pink, right brain skills, including graphic design are becoming increasingly important for American workers. Graphic design projects for kids include basic designs on paper, website and newsletter designs, or product labeling.
At the heart of any graphic design is a simple line. The type of line and lines that are included can communicate concepts universally. A straight horizontal line is calming, whereas a diagonal line creates a sense of movement. Repeating a diagonal or curved line represents rapid movement or momentum. Zigzags also convey movement. A pyramid or triangle, with lines of equal length denotes stability.
Instruct kids to make flash cards with one or two types of lines to display how each line and combination conveys emotion and ideas. Explore lines further by varying their length, curves and by creating patterns with the same types of lines.
Elements and Principles
Elements of design need to be unified for a successful graphic design. Elements include lines, colors, size of objects, shapes, lines, white space, pattern, value and movement.
Instruct kids to experiment with construction paper cut-outs to make Matisse-like pictures. Shapes and colors can be repeated into patterns, or a contrast can be created with small and large shapes or by using two opposite colors. Repetition of shapes will create movement and symmetry of elements creates a balance. Remind kids to use spaces between elements to create rhythm, and to increase visual appeal.
Logo design is a basic graphic design project for kids. Instruct kids to use the above principles to design a logo for their school sports team, their church or a favorite sports team. Redesigning a popular brand label is another way to encourage kids to think creatively about graphic design.
Instruct kids to design their own cover for a favorite book, CD, DVD or video game. The art should include the title of the piece as well as art or images that represent the theme and ideas in the chosen media.
Direct kids to create a blog or newsletter that using drag-and-drop or WYSIWIG technology. Provide a list of elements that need to be included, from a logo and photo to text boxes and photo captions.
Involve kids in hands-on graphic design projects which go beyond the computer screen and paper. Suggest to kids that they take a common product and improve upon it in some way, using a new package design. The exercise will have kids thinking about new ways to do things. They should apply graphic design principles, elements and color theory to create the product label.