Empowerment: S, K
Concept & Research
Truly being yourself is never easy. This is especially true for children between 9-12 years old who are discovering their identity in a stressful middle school environment filled with countless distractions, influences, and expectations. In order to empower young students, our group set out to re-frame words and imagery that may have taken on limiting meanings or interpretations that perpetuate the feeling that anything misaligned with its normal notion is less than.
I visited the Strong Museum of Play to get a better idea of how both simple and complex ideas are communicated to children through both words and visuals. I found that the use of metaphors was a strong method of communication, but literal and abstracted communication also had an important place in order to be relatable and to allow space for playful interpretation. I also noted the ease of the exhibit interactions within a focused, immersive environment.
K is for Knowledge
For this spread, my goal was to communicate that many ways that one can gain and/or show their knowledge. Often knowledge is associated with formal education and in turn testing, grades, and remaining stagnant in a classroom. Building upon a superhero metaphor, I illustrated a superhero figure in action surrounded by symbols that represent the many ways to gain and show knowledge.
The book represents reading, the pencil represents writing, the plane represents travel, the science beaker represents experimentation, the artist’s palette represents being creative, and the rocketship represents exploration. I styled this visual in a bold comic style with yellow, white and black as the main colors and incorporated patterns. In my interaction, people are walked through these concepts as they drag the symbols over to complete the illustration.
S is for Self-care
For this spread, I used relatable characters to represent literal ways to practice self-care. Through research, I found that it’s important to establish strong self-care habits early on in life in order to create positive habits for mental and physical wellbeing. Often self-care is thought to be something fancy, extravagant, or a treat during a difficult time, however that is not the case. In my illustration, I represented actionable ways for children to partake in self-care that are day-to-day things that don’t rely on a specific happenstance. Self-care can be playing with friends, listening to music, meditating, or reading a good book. In my interaction, I used a simple swiping motion to allow people to swipe between the different ways to practice self-care.
Through this project, I learned the value and difficulty of breaking down a complex topic into a concise paragraph and visual format. Working in a large group of designers on this contributive project brought forward the importance of accountability and establishing clear constraints and communication. Getting to work on a project with so many formats and considerations helped me to grow as a designer thinking across many mediums.
You may use the below assets created for this project provided via Figma as long as you give attribution, share your outcomes, and if your use is non-commercial in nature.