Does you school need a logo? Most small schools don’t have proper branding in place. The one I used to teach at certainly didn’t, nor did most schools in the neighbourhood. The need for having a logo becomes obvious sooner or later so what to do. Before you make a decision to design a logo with children, please read on.
The best thing to do would be to hire an experienced designer but it’s not always easy to find one on a budget and I don’t think school teachers would even think about that option. We have a school full of creative children, why don’t we let them to design a logo, right? First, there is a good reason why designers get paid and second, you will end up with a pretty picture which is far from useful. Here is how the process went on a few schools I know.
You tell kids that the school needs a logo. Children use crayons and A4 sheet of paper and draw their ideas during art classes. Then the art teacher chooses the best pictures and kids have a vote, which one they want as a logo. Done! Well, not really. Chances are that you will end up with a pretty A4 picture which is cliché, overly detailed and very difficult to digitalize. And you’re stuck with it because you let children vote for it.
If you’re still convinced that letting children design a logo is a good idea, please set proper guidlines before you let their imagination run wild.
How to design a logo with children in 5 simple steps:
Brainstorm – what makes your school tick?
Logo is a unique identifier of your school. Not school or education in general, your school. Avoid using typical symbols like a school hat, a wise owl or a book. There are thousands of other schools with the same idea. What is unique about your school or an area, what makes your school tick?
Write words (nouns, adjectives, phrases) that children come up with on the board so that everyone can look at them while drawing their design ideas.
Explain in detail what makes a good logo.
A logo is a simple representation of something complex. It doesn’t matter whether you choose letterering, an icon or both, it just needs to be simple and unique. Make sure no one else has the same or a very similar logo.
Typography plays a big role in a logo design and branding. Point out that the shape of the letters used is very important.
Show a few good logo examples.
Present children with several good examples of brands they are familiar with. This will let them think outside the box and avoid going for obvious clisché ideas.
Set clear design guidlines.
Time to start creating. The new logo needs to be easily reproducible on various materials so ask your young artists to draw their ideas in several versions.
- Ask children to draw the same logo larger and very small – think about how it will look on a T-shirt or a branded pen.
- Draw the logo in black and white and in colour on a light and a dark backround.
- Limit number of colours used to two or three.
- Design should be flat, no shading or shadows.
- Logo should work with the school title and also without. Play with the title placement (see the Premier League example above).
- The first idea is rarely the best one. Encourage everyone to come up with at least 10 different ideas before they choose the one to work on.
By having children draw their logo design several times (large, small, black and white, in colour, on a light and dark background), they will easily realize what easily reproducible means.
Evaluate the designs
Have a constructive discussion with children about the designs before you let them vote. Write a few questions on the board to help them make the right choice:
- Is the logo simple and unique?
- Will it represent our and only our school?
- Would I like to wear a T-shirt with this logo?
Give yourself a space for the final decision. Tell children that the logo will be based on the final design or compiled from the best ideas, ie. a shape from one design, the colours from another. You don’t want to commit yourself to the design that will get most votes in case it wasn’t suitable for practical use.
To design a logo is not an easy task even for an experienced designer and letting children do it without proper guidlines might not end up well. On the other hand, if you guide the young artists step by step and allow enough time for everyone to get inspired and explore various ideas, it is a very good exercise in creativity and the results might be a pleasant surprise.