Elementary Studio Lesson
Design with the World in Mind
Good design brings the Carefully Planned Images
excitement of the Olym- All nations that enter the host arena
pic Games into the visual hire artists such as fashion designers
realm of public media. who make their teams look their fin-This is a place where billions of est upon their entrance, during their
people all over the world watch their performances, and at other times
respective countries with pride and during the events. A well-composed
anticipation. The Olympic Games team can offer an image of unity,
unite nations while displaying the confidence, and perfection—an image
uniqueness of each country. They that plays a large role in the mental
foster national pride and patriotism performance brought to each event by
as viewers watch athletes from their the participating athletes.
countries engage in a competition In addition, every Olympic event
that requires strength, dedication, seen on television (including the
talent, and respect design of the tele-for their oppo- At the Olympics, artists and vision program
nents. designers are the solution itself) is care-
The host coun- fully planned and
try has a great to providing universally designed to provide
sense of pride in understood images. a specific experi-showing what ence for viewers.
their home has to offer as they wel- Sponsors advertise their products via
come the world. To do this, they must this international event with both
provide a visually stimulating envi- great specificity and intent.
ronment as well as a smoothly run
program. At the Olympics, artists and
designers are the solution to providing universally understood images,
products, fashion, multimedia programs, and other event experiences.
All of these factors concerning the
Olympics led me to develop the lesson I call Fashion Forward, one part
of a unit called Design with the
World in Mind, which is based on the
enduring idea that visual images are
powerful communication tools. It
was taught to ninth and tenth graders
in four fifty-minute classes.
We began with a discussion on the
Olympic Games and its host coun-
try for 200 8, Beijing, China.
Students were provided with
examples of the work of several
athletic apparel designers. Students
also viewed previous designs used for
American and other countries in the
Next, students were assigned to an
athletic company to work on America’s largest advertising campaign,
apparel for the 2008 Beijing Olympic
Games. Designers from Nike, Adidas,
Reebok, Champion, Asics, and Converse competed by submitting clothing designs for the games in hopes of
sponsoring America’s athletes.
Each student team created a single
unisex design for the team warm-ups as well as four designs for other
events—two female events and two
male events. Students had to consider colors and fabrics, as well as any
athletic objects used in their chosen
events such as shoes, balls, sticks,
goggles, etc. Students had to provide detailed information with their
designs and write a brief description
about the design decisions made and
what they conveyed about the American team. The top designer won the
campaign for their company and got to
sponsor the 2008 Olympic team.
Erica Kabbeko was a student teacher at
North Coventry Elementary School when
she taught this lesson. Ekabb240@gmail.
Students select and use subject matter, symbols, and ideas to communicate meaning.