D3@PSP: A new beginning!

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This week starts the beginning of our new project: branding the D3 cart! Because D3 doesn’t have a designated room at PSP, we rely on a basic utility cart for a lot of different uses; mobile storage, sign-in/out desk, desktop workspace, and our snack/beverage station just to name a few. We want to D3-ify the cart as much as possible, amplifying storage, creating a more visually pleasing aesthetic while maintaining as much usable space as possible.

We began this week with a few introduction activities to get the teens the right mindset. We wanted to focus on the structural elements of the cart by discovering the cart’s capabilities through lots of simple (and funny) games and tests. We learned about ‘usable space’ by playing “Fit It”, a game where groups of three have to fit on a shrinking island (piece of paper that gets folded in half each round) by whatever means necessary. We had some crafty teens squish and stack to fit on the small island! With that, we wanted to look at the cart with the lens of usable space. We asked a few prompts: Whatdo we use the cart for? We took a look back at our PSPieces project and made a list of every single reason we used the cart. How much weight can it hold? We sat on it, measured the combined weight and tried rolling it around the room. What kind of bumps can it handle? With mock supplies stacked on it, we rolled the cart over some mats and tubes to see if it caught on anything. Lastly, we covered the cart in paper and doodled different configurations for our ‘most important’ supplies (paper roll, computers, writing tools and snack supplies).
On Wednesday, we made a special trip to a friend’s small ad agency to focus on ‘branding vs decorating’ where the teens were introduced to how design and branding is focused on feeling. The teens learned that if a word is written in all caps + heavy type, it gives a feeling of boldness or strength, but if a word is written in all lowercase + cursive letters, it gives off amore passive and possibly feminine feeling. They also learned a similar lesson with color and design elements in a create-your-own-brand activity. Each teen had the opportunity to create arecord sleeve, a book cover or a movie poster based an element that represented themselves, aka a “personal brand”. Take a look at the results! We hope these activities will lend themselves to deeper and more thoughtful designs and solutions regarding the cart.
We’ll dive into the feeling of the D3 brand next week– digging deeper what D3 represents, feels like and our goals as a program to better understand where our cart design will go!

Categories: dream it, PSP


The D3 Lab is a collaboration between the Pearson Foundation's New Learning Institute, COMMONstudio design consultancy, and Nightingale Middle School in Los Angeles. It is one part idea lab, one part design and production facility, and one part "do tank." It is a place where students come to nurture and cultivate ideas, tackle big and small problems, and take action.

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