Another Design Opportunity


I spent a lot of time yesterday thinking about the post that I made about taking a regular computer classroom activity and putting it to the masses as Campbell’s did.  I couldn’t help but think about the impact on the classroom of having students design for the real world.  I really liked the concept and was feeling pretty good about it.  I even wondered why more companies didn’t do it.

It’s just like learning about a concept.  It’s one thing to read a book or to hear someone talk about something.  But, ask any teacher.  There’s nothing that forces you to learn something like having to teach it or do a presentation about it.  You have to dig into the topic and learn all that you can so that you’re not caught off-guard.

That’s where education and corporate contests seem to cross.  If you’re going to design packaging, you’d better know the product in and out so that there are no errors in your design.  In the process, you’re going to build a great deal of product loyalty.

Yesterday afternoon, I was out and about to do a workshop at one of our distant schools.  I stopped at a convenience store to pick up a package of gum to chew on the way.  As I’m standing at the counter waiting for my product to be run through, I looked at the rows and rows of candy that’s sitting right at little kid eye level.  Ah, marketing.

Then, one of the packages caught my eye.  In among the brightly coloured packages that are screaming “Buy Me”, I see a white box.  It really stood out and


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I thought to myself that maybe it had fallen into some water and the colouring washed away.  I picked it up; it was in a stack of Smarties candies and it was a box of Smarties.  But, it was a good box – it was designed to encourage purchasers to design and colour the package.  Serendipity, as my buddy Paul would say.

As a parent, that would be the box that I’d choose.  After the candy was done, the child could be engaged to colour it and so I’d get twice the bang for my buck.

From the corporate perspective, I did what I’m sure that they want all parents to do.  I went to their website to see more details about it.  Interesting design and you have to wade your way through Smarties all over the screen to navigate.

Sure enough, there were details about a contest.  This time, it was a “Design Me Egg Contest”.

Back to the classroom, here’s another authentic reason why we would assign a design activity to students.  It’s not just a goofy little classroom lesson – it’s got an application to the real world.

Now, obviously, the intent isn’t that classroom teachers should be searching out contest opportunities all the time.  The point is that there are real world applications for such activities.  The fact that we can tie it into regular day life lends so much more credibility to it.

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