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A little known fact about me is that as well as being a Graphic Designer by trade, I am also a qualified teacher. It was before I joined Cornerstone that I completed my teacher training and had the opportunity to share my knowledge and passion for Graphic Design to students studying for their A Levels.
More recently, I was invited back to the college where I completed my training (coincidently, the same place where I studied for my A Levels) to deliver a logo and branding workshop to a group of students who are into their final year of the course. Having worked on several branding projects in the last year for the likes of Kirkham Estate Agents and Linda Lewis Kitchens, amongst others, I felt I was well prepared to talk about the design process involved in creating an exciting and effective brand.
As Nicola rightly mentioned in her blog last month, ‘a logo is the initial point of recognition and the fundamental focus of a business’ and this was a key point of what I aimed to get across within the workshop, but also the importance of a brand identity and the relationship between the two.
I’m sure some of you reading this can think back to your school days and recall that whenever a new face came into the classroom, in particular a substitute teacher, that boundaries were pushed! Bearing this in mind, and the fact the students had never met me before, I knew it was important to break the ice quickly and what better way than a quick game of Pictionary (with logos, of course!).
Now when it comes to talking about anything design related, I can really go for it but one thing I learnt quite early in my teacher training is that student’s learn best by being challenged and not by just being talked at. Ensuring students are engaged and motivated is probably the biggest task facing any teacher. When I think back to those who taught me, I remember the ones that made the lessons enjoyable and the subject interesting. Therefore instead of boring them to tears with a dull PowerPoint presentation, I set a few little tasks that encouraged them to discover things about logo design that they probably didn’t realise. I then gave them the opportunity to share with their peers, and me what they had learnt allowing natural discussions to form.
These initial tasks were a great way to get across the ‘theory’ side of logos and branding but ultimately the only way to learn how to design an effective logo/brand is by creating one. I briefed the students on a couple of fictional projects and also included a live branding project I am currently working. These briefs were purposely vague and ‘open’ in an attempt to see how they interpreted the brief and used their creative skills to produce a design concept that was personal to them. From experience, I know that a branding project can be a lengthy process but the results the students created within the limited time available were highly commendable.
Whilst the students were busy working on the task, I had the opportunity to go around and talk to them individually, to not only help with their work, but to also find out a bit more about them and their future aspirations within the design industry. On a personal level, this was the most satisfying part of the workshop, as the students reacted positively to my help and advice. They were also genuinely interested in my experiences of working within the industry.
Graphic Design is a genuine passion of mine and to be able to do it day in, day out is something that I thoroughly enjoy but having the opportunity to be a teacher for the day was great and I hope that my short time with these students has a massive influence within their design future.