Design for kids (and adults!)

Make Shape Change Video

I didn’t quite know what graphic design was until I was in college.

It was never explained to me, even though I had taken numerous art classes. During my senior year, I interned at a magazine. The art director befriended me knowing I had an interest in art. She took the time to show me what she did to create a layout for a cover story—from concepting for a photo shoot to fitting text and images together like a puzzle. A light went off in my head: I discovered a whole new world that bridged my love of art and the English degree I was so close to graduating with.

The funny thing about learning (or not learning) about design is it’s actually one of the first things we’re exposed to as babies. We dangle black and white objects in front of newborns as they first see contrast, a basic design concept. Then we move them to colors and shapes—building blocks of composition. And yet, understanding what design means can remain elusive to children, and even adults.

Here are a few favorites for exposing your little one to design, some from our Loves recommendation site of wonderful media for children of all ages.

Best Made Map Notebook
  • Make Shape Change: with simple line illustrations, this video calls attention to the design in our everyday lives that often goes unnoticed.
  • The Official Eames Office YouTube channel: Charles and Ray Eames were a famous design couple who created short films on a variety of topics, often embracing the curious.
  • The Map Notebook: made by Best Made Co., this is a wonderful sketchbook for kids to understand the world they live in.
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  • Sounding Blocks (klingende bausteine): from the Bauhaus Museum, these colorful blocks each have a different material inside, which is unexpected and delightful.
  • Drawing the Sun: one in a series by Bruno Munari (the other titles include Roses in the Salad and Drawing a Tree), this book offers activities and inspiration that are perfect for children and adults to explore together.
  • The Dot and The Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics: a short animation (and book) by Norton Juster, directed by Chuck Jones, this is a timeless love story using two simple elements as the basis for incredible expression.
  • Design Ah: a hard-to-find television series that aired in Japan and celebrates and teaches design in a way that only the Japanese can do.

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