Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015
In an effort to embolden creativity and expose kids to the elements of design, Worrell hosted its first annual Design Camp. Together, we explored the fundamentals of the design process, from needs exploration through prototyping, and discovered the unique traits of the professionals who perform these tasks. The kids astonished us with their ability to grasp and execute these concepts, reminding us that design includes everyone, regardless of age and background. Check out the timelapse and read how we made it all happen:
Teenagers are inquisitive and observant, often noticing even the smallest details. These traits are especially valuable in research, which frequently involves very intimate conversations with total strangers. During the first day of camp, we asked students to brainstorm the most uncomfortable question they could ever imagine asking another person. The students then drafted their own questions, practiced asking them to one another and later interviewed their parents. The experience showed students how their unique ability to ask tough questions could be used to get at the heart of what users really need, inevitably informing the design process.
Limitless creative abilities came in handy during the second day of camp, when students explored various methods of generating concepts such as ideation and sketching. They also explored how the element of graphic design—fonts, colors and layout—drastically influence the way we perceive things. Campers were then given an adjective (e.g., aggressive) and asked to create a mood board using images from magazines along with corresponding fonts and colors to visually represent the word. These activities peaked the interest of our artistic students, who discovered how their creative skills could be applied to visualizing a new concept.
Hot glue-guns, cardboard, duct tape and a pile of various trinkets enabled campers to convert their sketches to semi-functional prototypes on the final day of camp. Here, the students tried various approaches, demonstrating the importance of rapid and iterative prototyping to create the most viable design solutions. Everyone loved making a mess while simultaneously seeing their ideas come to life. The mechanically inclined campers were especially eager to show off their ability to build in three dimensions.
At the end of the last session, each student gave a presentation to all of the parents in attendance. The design campers talked about what problems they solved, what they noticed in their research, how they came up with their ideas and why they chose a specific approach for their prototypes. The kids impressed everyone, including themselves, with their ability to understand the fundamental principles of design. Regardless of whether you see yourself as creative, the takeaway message is that all of us—young and old—are capable of using design to positively influence the world around us.