Little big designers

In October 2023 Pilar was invited to carry out a workshop at the Escuela de Educación Estética de Zárate, Buenos Aires, a municipal school dedicated exclusively to art and design for kids. The children participating in the workshop were aged 5 to 11 years old. Pilar explained the difference between calligraphy, lettering and type design. Then she talked about how concepts can be applied to letterforms, and proposed a practical activity consisting on the kids drawing letters in order to make a typeface for their school. The typeface will be used to promote the school and its events.

The first step was to carry out a collective brainstorming in order to put some concepts on the table for the children to have a base to start from when drawing. It was surprising how they started to throw in some abstract concepts such as passion, and friendship. Then we decided that everybody would choose a few letters to draw to complete a whole alphabet, some diacritics needed for Spanish, numbers and basic punctuation. The students were very happy with this and immediately engaged on the design process.

The kids at work, they really enjoyed the time drawing letters, it was hard for them to stop!
One of the boys was very happy showing his Ts with head, representing the students of the school.

We programmed the font to have contextual alternates in which letter change randomly as they are typed. This way we could use as many of the kid's drawings as possible as well as having a fun typeface, as this was one of the concepts choose by the students when thinking about what their school meant for them.

The result was very surprising, the children understood the briefing very quickly and worked a lot in a short amount of time, the workshop was one morning only! At a personal level it was very satisfying to work with such small kids, we all had lots of fun during the creative process, they were extremely interested in what they were doing and asked very clever questions. No doubt there were some future designers among the students.