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Visual Design

Here Sonia Tiwari explains the importance of Visual Design in Children’s Education and how every successful learning tool has been created using strong visual design aesthetics.

“Let’s make learning fun for children!” has almost become a cliche for our generation of educators, children’s book authors, toy and game designers, children’s TV producers and anyone remotely related to children’s education. We cannot ignore the role of a strong visual design in creating any of the modern day learning tools, whether they are early learning apps like abcmouse.com, khanacademy.org/kids or educational toy robots like Cubetto, Dash & Dot, Botley or BeeBot.

From baby years, children are exposed to educational toys and games that heavily rely on cute characters, stimulating colours, patterns and textures for tactile learning. As children grow older, their learning expands to more mediums besides toys and into educational board games, puzzles, video games, television, online streaming services and many more. At school, they come across interactive learning games, or good old charts and posters on the walls of the classrooms.

They’re surrounded by beautifully illustrated educational children’s books at home and school. They belong to a generation where several startups and established companies are trying to design new and more effective educational products for children and several Learning Scientists are attempting to understand how learning occurs in different settings.

Guidelines for Visual Designers in the Children’s Education Space:

• Understand Curriculum and Context

Are your designs representing a topic in isolation or in a broader context of a curriculum? You might want to maintain a common design language for the entire curriculum around a topic, to support continuity/correlation visually.


• Understand Visual Memory

In an educational environment, Visual Memory consists of pictures, symbols, numbers, letters, and words. As designers, the more we rely on design elements that can be “memorable” for the target audience, the better it can support the subsequent educational content to be recalled later.

• Consider what counts as Developmentally Appropriate

The Age-range of the audience, their developmental milestones, complexity of visual information they can easily comprehend.


• Consider Situativity

Where will your educational designs be situated? What are the surrounding cultures, trends, locations, demographics etc. Are there certain design styles that may appeal to this audience?


• Consider the Gestalt Principles

Make sure the visuals are clear and denote the meanings you wish to communicate as an educator. Gestalt principles are a nice, quick way to review instructional art/educational illustrations for any “applied” meanings.

Creative Gaga - Issue 46 - Cover

Published in Issue 46

Designing for Kids! We all design for different audiences and always keep trying to figure out what they would need and how will they react to our designs? But, one audience who is the youngest of all and most difficult to predict is ‘Kids’. So, to get more clarity, we focused on animation design, an extensively used medium to influence these young ones. We interviewed and feature experts opinion from the industry leaders such as Suresh Eriyat, Dhimant Vyas and Vaibhav Kumaresh to ponder on the use of animation for early education. Our cover designer, Sonia Tiwari, an animator, and visual designer, shared her thoughts on ‘How to make learning fun again’. While Suresh Eriyat emphasises on using animation as an effective medium for education, on the other hand, Dhimant Vyas and Vaibhav gave advice on how to make content for the young ones. This issue is full of veterans advice and a lot of inspirations throughout for every creative soul.

 

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Creative Gaga - Issue 49

 

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Your childhood experiences, explorations and continued learning through life, greatly shapes the way we think and the career path we chart for ourselves. Veteran artist and animation film designer, Dhimant Vyas, is an example of this. He gives us a peek at his childhood and throws some light on the animation industry.

An alumnus of National Institute of Design (NID) and his previous work includes the title animation sequence for the highly acclaimed Hindi feature film ‘Taare Zameen Par‘, which was directed by Indian Film Industry superstar Aamir Khan.

 

During an earlier stint at Aardman Animation Ltd. Dhimant has worked as an animator on the Creature Comforts USA TV series. He has worked with brands like BBC, UNICEF, FCB ULKA, Zee TV, MTV, Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon, to name just a few. His work for Taare Zameen Par, Happy Planet, Cute Bunny, Y-snore, MTV promos and his photography has won him several national and international awards.

Animation -Dhimant Vyas

Q: Your work is often related to the flora and fauna. Can you tell us how your childhood inspired the theme of your various work?

Dhimant. I grew up in a small town called ‘Dhrangadhra’ near Kutch, Gujarat. I spent a lot of time amidst nature, as my town is surrounded by rivers, lakes and farms. Most of my childhood involved playing with animals, bird watching, gardening, swimming in the river, and playing with the fish.

 

I used to collect clay from the riverbed to make toys and pluck grass to create handicrafts. We had no televisions or mobiles then. Even the race to get better marks in exams did not exist for us as children; this leads to spending most of our time in the lap of nature. And all my observations of nature now reflect in my work in some way.

Q: Please throw some light on the different animation techniques. Which of these is your favourite, and why?

Dhimant. There are a wide variety of techniques like 2D classical animation, 3D Computer generated animation, Stop motion, Cut out, Pixilation, and so many more.

 

I have used almost all styles of animation, but the way clay animation has evolved somehow reflects in most of my projects. I don’t restrict myself to clay animation though. I especially love the 2D classical animation style.

The style and technique always depend on the requirement of the story. For Amir Khan’s ‘Taare Zameen Par’ I used clay animation. The animation needed to seem like handmade toys created by children. There is an organic feel to the medium which cannot be achieved through computer-generated animation. Clay is something everyone relates to as it connects us all to our childhood.

 

In film making, storytelling decides the technique. The story needs to be executed in a manner where the audience completely engages with the story, instead of focusing on the technicality of the film. The style should seamlessly integrate with the story.

Q: The audience connects very strongly with your work, especially because it’s got heart and warmth. How do you bring in that feeling and emotional connection to your work?

Dhimant. Hard to tell. Perhaps because I put in my heart into my work or my childhood observations of nature reflect in my work. When one enjoys their work, the audience picks up on that, and they enjoy it too. While working, I don’t focus on the final product, instead, I put all my energy in the process of creation and learning.

Shaun and Sheep - Animation -Dhimant Vyas

Q: What role do you think animation can play in education? And how important is it?

Dhimant. Animation can play a significant role in education. I have worked on creating educational content, and have seen the impact myself.

 

A picture is worth a thousand words; now imagine the impact of thousands of moving images in animation! It is a limitless medium. Anything can be created through animation and this is what makes it a powerful educational tool.

Q: Which one of your projects is especially dear to you, and why?

Dhimant. My favourite projects are Rag Malhar (Promo for Music Asia Channel), Creature Comfort of Aardman, title animation of Aamir Khan’s film ‘Taare Zameen Par’, Purple & Brown, and Shaun the Sheep created with multiple Oscar winner Aardman animation studio, U.K.

Q: What are your words of wisdom for a budding animator?

Dhimant. Enjoy the process of making films, as your passion shows in the end. It’s important to do quality work and strive to create the best because this will bring in the money later. Always be observant and ready to learn and explore and share your knowledge. With all this it is equally important to show integrity and honour your deadlines

Creative Gaga - Issue 46 - Cover

Published in Issue 46

We all design for different audiences and always keep trying to figure out what they would need and how will they react to our designs? But, one audience who is the youngest of all and most difficult to predict is ‘Kids’. So, to get more clarity, we focused on animation design, an extensively used medium to influence these young ones. We interviewed and feature experts opinion from the industry leaders such as Suresh Eriyat, Dhimant Vyas and Vaibhav Kumaresh to ponder on the use of animation for early education… So, go ahead

 

Order Your Copy!
LATEST RELEASE
CURRENT ISSUE
Creative Gaga - Issue 49