Bringing the design together

“Designing is a way of thinking that needs to be acknowledged as second nature for educators” (Designthinkingforeducators.com2016)

As the time draws nearer to completing this design, it is time to reflect on the principles and practices that have been learnt and implemented into this newsletter. The principles that have been used in the newsletter design focus primarily on size, colour, layout and font although when looking deeper many principles where used without concise thought. Accessibility, consistently, framing, and readability come to mind as examples that are used on a sub-consciences level. Designers will reduce complex thought processes into simple principles that are incorporated as second nature into their work (Lawson, 2006). This has become true as the design progresses I have found myself looking at the newsletter differently, with a more critical design eye.

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The above newsletters are a fortnightly newsletter released for early childhood, educators. These newsletter work very well in their simplicity. They focus on usability and consistency, delivering useful information in a reliable and familiar format, engages the readers to take time to read and understand the information presented.

Designing needs to be separated from creativity for educators who seem to have a deep sense of suspension and unease when it comes to the creative arts (Literat & Reilly, 2012). Once educators can understand that design is something that they already do in their daily lives it should be a simple matter to begin to embrace and extend this into a more thorough and productive practice.

Newsletter progress

The current incarnation of my newsletter. It is still missing some information and I think the background needs to be changed to a simple block colour as it is too busy. I haven’t settled on a font yet and will continue to experiment until I find something that will conceive my message and retain a simplicity and effectiveness to capture and entice viewers.

References:

Designthinkingforeducators.com,. (2016). Design Thinking for Educators. Retrieved 29 January 2016, from http://www.designthinkingforeducators.com/

Lawson, B. (2006). How designers think: the design process demystified. Routledge.

Literat, I., & Reilly, E. (2012). Designing with Teachers: Participatory Approaches to Professional Development in Education (1st ed.). Retrieved from http://dmlhub.net/publications/designing-with-teachers-participatory-approaches-to-professional-development-in-education/

Designing for communication and usability

When designing a newsletter a key point that is seems to be ignored is font. Font is often neglected and undervalued which can drastically alter the perception of the design. When choosing a font, the following principles must be considered, size, typeface, contract, spacing and text blocks (Lidwell, Holden, & Butler, 2010). If the wrong font is chosen or formatted poorly the design is at risk of losing much of it communication power, with the content becoming hard to read and confusing. The legibility of the design goes hand in hand with the readability, no matter the level of skill when considering the formatting of the font, if the text is overly complex and badly written for the intended audience the message will not have the desired impact (Lidwell, Holden, & Butler, 2010). When producing and writing this newsletter the above factors need to be in the forefront on the thought process to ensure that it appeals and communicates to the intended audience above all others.

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The above newsletter, shows a clever use of font layout and design, incorporated with the images to create a usable piece of communication that is directly targeted to its intended audience.

When considering the usability of the newsletter, a key point has become apparent. The Information presented must be able to stand alone and be understood and accessed by as many people as possible. The following link provides many examples of newsletter designs that are accessible and usable to people of all ages, levels and interests, https://www.pinterest.com/explore/newsletter-design/. Instead of an ongoing series of newsletters that builds upon the information provided previously, each newsletter will contain information that will be useful to educators contemplating their design needs.

The following list is a summary of the current books and websites that the newsletters content is be sourced from.

https://dschool.stanford.edu/sandbox/groups/k12/wiki/14340/attachments/e55cd/teacher%20takeaway.pdf?sessionID=8a1e74f8bb3ba42c03074c699312098f74be7bb3

http://www.teachthought.com/uncategorized/45-design-thinking-resources-for-educators/

https://onlinelearninginsights.wordpress.com/2013/08/06/why-design-thinking-doesnt-work-in-education/

https://www.ideo.com/work/toolkit-for-educators

McKenney, S. (2005). Technology for curriculum and teacher development: Software to help educators learn while designing teacher guides. Journal of Research on Technology in Education38(2), 167-190.

Bennett, A. (2006). Design studies: theory and research in graphic design. Princeton Architectural Press.

Stone, T. L., Adams, S., & Morioka, N. (2008). Color Design Workbook: A Real World Guide to Using Color in Graphic Design. Rockport Pub.

Feisner, E. A. (2006). Colour: how to use colour in art and design. Laurence King Publishing.

Reference:

Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. (2010). Universal Principles of Design: 125 Ways to Enhance Usability, Influence Perception, Increase Appeal, Make Better Design Decisions, and Teach Through Design. Beverly, MA.: Rockport Publishers.

The continued design journey

While the current newsletter design works functionality, it leaves much to be desired when looking at the design hierarchy of needs. Considering this the design chosen lacks the means to grab and hold an educators attention, and would most likely be thrown into the “I will read it later” (read never) pile. To overcome this, the design must evolve into something that remains simple and functional at its core while creative enough to grab and hold the viewers’ attention. Below is an example of what educators recieve all the time.

CCR+Fall+2014+Newsletter-thumbnail(Child Care Resources, Inc., 2015)

Using design principles such as, entry point, legibility, accessibility (Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J., 2010) to name a few to appeal directly to what educators focus on when they are creating their own learning resources will be the key to the designs success. With this in mind, a design that will grab the viewers’ attention and then requires them to interact with the design will have a much greater chance of holding their attention.

 

Using the design principle of entry point as a start, changed the perceived design form a plain a4 sheet to a to an A5 sheet that folded out from the centre. This design would draw the viewer into the image and use our natural inquisitiveness to create an interaction. Once the viewer is interacting with the design it is easier to hold their attention.

As this design is aimed at educators a clear focus on legibility needs to be present as this will be subconsciously focused on and judged as to its worth as a resource even before one word is read. To achieve this font, sizing and colour are key elements to consider (Ambrose, G., & Harris, P., 2009).

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Reference:

Ambrose, G., & Harris, P. (2009). The fundamentals of graphic design. AvA publishing.

Child Care Resources, Inc., (2015). Newsletter. [online] Available at: http://www.childcareresourcesinc.com/newsletter/ [Accessed 14 Nov. 2015].

Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. (2010). Universal Principles of Design: 125 Ways to Enhance Usability, Influence Perception, Increase Appeal, Make Better Design Decisions, and Teach Through Design. Beverly, MA.: Rockport Publishers.

 

The iterative process of design

The proficient use of design in education, especially early childhood education is a key skill that is often undervalued and overlooked. In an effort to change this I have chosen to design a newsletter to educate and inspire fellow teachers to use design in their pedagogies in a much more prevalent manner. By incorporating clever and functional design into the newsletter I hope to give a clear message of the value of design from the first glance.

For the most part people hear the word design and immediately think, “I have to be creative”. A quick glance at hierarchy of needs for design is all it takes to begin a different thought process, with creativity being considered the most valuable contributor to design actually being the last item needed to create successful design. Functionality and reliability being the true foundations on which a successful design is built (Lidwell, Holden, & Butler, 2010). The use of many design principles, such as colour, consistency, shape (Lidwell, Holden, & Butler, 2010) etc. are interwoven and used in the design and creation of educational resources and during lessons on a daily basis, the only problem is that most educators fail to see and understand what they are doing.

By creating a newsletter that can provide educators with the resources and knowledge to embrace design and incorporate it knowingly into their pedagogies. I hope to inspire these educators to use design to create more complete educational resources and lessons to the benefit of the students in their care.

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Reference:

Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. (2010). Universal Principles of Design: 125 Ways to Enhance Usability, Influence Perception, Increase Appeal, Make Better Design Decisions, and Teach Through Design. Beverly, MA.: Rockport Publishers.