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2D Design: The Grade 7 Yearbook Mockup

(This unit was created by Ben Cooperman for a Grade 7 MYP Technology class.)


We make meaning not only from the content of visual media, but also from the various design elements and how they work together. Color, shape and space carry meaning and together they influence how we interpret the information we see. Through the process of designing and creating visual media for different purposes, we increase our awareness of this process and gain insight into how we are influenced by design. We can learn to use structural design elements to add additional layers of meaning.

To add some fun and humour to the school yearbook, you have task of designing and creating a new section called 'The Grade 7 Yearbook Mockup' that will appear in the final digital book that will be distributed to members of the school community. These pages will depict fictitious students and activities within the school and should bring a smile to the faces of the people reading.

Situation Specific:

You will design and create a page to add to 'The Grade 7 Yearbook Mockup' section of our school yearbook. You will try to make the page funny, but at the same time, be sensitive to the feelings of those who will be reading it. Pages will be A4 size, but in digital format. Images should be no less than 300dpi to ensure quality. You have access to a wide variety of tools to complete this task and it is likely that you will need to work with more than one. All content must be made from either original artworks or material available from the public domain.

Inquiring and Analysing

During this phase, we will:
  • familiarize ourselves with a variety of tools and techniques to help us solve our particular problem or issue;
  • explore the work of others to gain insight into how they have approached a similar problem or issue;
  • conduct research into our target audience to help us develop a product that is appropriate to their wants and needs;

Tools, Tools, Tools

To familiarize ourselves with a range of image-editing and graphic design tools and techniques, we will work our way through a number of tutorials where each one will be introduced, then complete a number of in-class challenges to practice using them.

Challenge #1: Silly Self-Portrait

Take a picture of yourself. Next, gather a few pictures of some interesting objects whose shapes are similar to some of your facial features (i.e., slices of fruit and vegetables etc...) Then, using Adobe Photoshop, put them on your face. Your final image should be 400 x 300 pixels at a resolution of 72dpi. This exercise will require you to demonstrate an understanding of a variety of selection tools (i.e. crop, lasso, magic wand tools in Photoshop), layers and image resolution. Post your final image to your Technology blog with a brief written explanation about the steps you went through in the process.

Hanoch Piven is an artist who makes silly portraits like the ones you will be making.  While he uses real fruits and vegetables in his photos rather than a sort of digital collage like we are doing, the idea is the same.  Notice that he chooses the pieces very carefully to emphasize characteristics specific to the individual. 

Challenge #2: B-Movie Poster

Drawing inspiration from such classics as "The Attack of the Killer Tomatoes" and "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians", we will design and create our own B-Movie posters. Come up with an idea and a title and develop your own poster. For this challenge, you will need to deepen your understanding of layers and learn to work with text and painting tools. post your final image to your Technology blog. Include a step-by-step explanation of your work and provide screenshots of your work along the way. This way, someone else would be able to reproduce your project by reading your instructions.


What's out there?:

In this section, we will have a look at the work of other artists and designers to develop a deeper understanding of the different design elements and how they work together. We will try to see how they use shape, space and colour in different ways to get a desired effect. You will present three projects that are similar to ours and provide an analysis of each artist's use of different design elements. You should explain what you believe the artist was trying to communicate and whether or not you feel that they were successful. Justify your point of view with evidence and specific reference to the artwork. (You will work on two of these in small groups and complete a third one on your own.)

You will also spend some time trying to get an accurate picture of your target audience. What sort of work would be appropriate for this target audience? What might be inappropriate. This discussion should help you in the next section when you are narrowing down your ideas about which project to work on.


The first step in developing your product is to brainstorm. Document as many ideas as you can come up with for this project. Consider some of the projects that you have seen already for inspiration. Some of your ideas may be serious and others silly. Some may be difficult and others easy. At this point, write them all down. You may want to use a chart or concept map to keep track of your thinking process. You should explore a broad range of ideas at this point.


With your classmates, you have looked at the wide range of graphic design projects that are out there and you have looked at some of the tools and techniques that you can use to make your own. You have started thinking about what sort of page you want to make for our silly yearbook. Now, it is time for your group to narrow that list down to 3 or 4 possibilities that you feel are realistic projects for you to work on. Include a brief description of what each page will be about, why you feel this page would be a good choice and who is your desired audience. At this point, you should have a discussion with your group about your target audience and what might be appropriate/inappropriate for this group.  The description of each idea should be 3 or 4 sentences and resemble a Design Brief. In the next step, your classmates will help you examine each of these in more detail.


DeBono's Thinking Hats:

Now that you have come up with 3 or 4 different ideas for pages that you could make, you will discuss them in your group to come up with a final choice. A useful tool to help us consider a problem from multiple perspectives is Edward DeBono's 6 Thinking Hats. As you present each of your 4 ideas within your group, you will wear different 'hats' (facts hat, feelings hat etc...) as you offer your input to help everyone think about these different perspectives. Be sure to write down what each person says and add this to each of the 'Possibilities' that you already wrote on your webpage.

To complete the 'Possibilities' section, write down which idea you plan to go with. Explain why you chose this idea over the others. You will rewrite this idea as your Design Brief. Has it changed at all since you had a chance to discuss it with your classmates?

Final Choice and Justification

Now that you have discussed each of your 4 possibilities with your classmates, you need to choose which idea will form the basis for your project. In this section, you will explain which idea you selected and why you chose it.

Design Brief

You will write a short, concise Design Brief that explains the following:
  • What sort of page do you intend to make?
  • Who is the target audience for your project?
  • Why have you decided to make this page?

Guiding Questions

In this section, you will write a list of questions that will help you plan out your project. The sorts of questions that you will enter here are questions that you would need to answer before you could begin designing and creating. For example:

What is the size of the page?
How will the page be shared with the target audience (i.e. printed book, digital book)?
Who will be featured in the pictures?

The answers to these questions will become your design specifications.

Assessment Rubric

Below is the rubric that will be used to assess the quality of your work. The words in bold should guide you as you consider your work against the assessment levels.

** Now that we are taking part in the MYP Design Pilot project, I have had to remove the rubrics from this page.  They are still available on Managebac, but I am not permitted to publish them publicly until the IBO authorizes it. 

Developing Ideas

During the Designing phase, we put together a list of Design Specifications to keep us on track and help ensure that our final project meets all of the requirements.  We present a range of feasible design ideas which, in this case, will be sketches that outline some different design ideas.  Finally, we present the final design that we have chosen along with written justification.

Design Specifications

In this section, we present a list of specifications that will guide our efforts and ensure that the final product accomplishes our goal and is appropriate for the chosen target audience.  The list of design specifications should answer the guiding questions above.

Sketches and Summaries

In the previous phase, you narrowed yourselves down to one idea. Now, we are going to open it up again. In the Designing phase, you will work out the details about how your project will look, including the layout, colour themes, fonts, images etc... Prepare 3 or 4 possible designs for each and present them in your online process journal with brief explanation of the strengths of each. You will need to get some feedback from members of your target audience to help you finalize your decisions. In this case, you will switch designs with another group and offer them feedback. Then, you will analyse the feedback as a group and make your decisions. By the end of the Designing phase, you will have your final design sketches/images for the various visual elements of your project.

You may choose to do this activity on paper, in which case, you will need to scan your images to a computer to put into your process journal. Otherwise, there is a wide variety of simple sketching programs for your computer that you may want to check out.

Creating the Solution: 

Your 'Create' phase will have two main parts--your completed pages and your process journal.

Completed Yearbook Pages
Your finished pages are the first things that you put in the create phase.  Be sure to resize the image when uploading it to Weebly.

Process Journal
If you have done a good job investigating, designing and planning in the previous two phases of your project, this part should be fairly straightforward.  All of the important decisions have already been made and it is just a matter of putting everything into place.   With any luck, everything will go according to plan.  Of course, things don't always go according to plan. In your process journal, you will document the tools that you used and what you did at each step as though you were writing out a set of instructions (think about the projects that we looked at on the Instructables and Makezine websites.) Include any suggestions you have for your readers (i.e., the right sequence to do things, good places to find royalty-free images and fonts) and be sure to describe and fully justify any changes you made from your original plan from the Designing phase. 


Now that you have finished making your page, you need to get some feedback.  Be sure to encourage members of your target audience to have a look and to give comments.  During the 'Evaluating' phase of this project, you will complete 4 tasks:

1)  Product Reflection: Reflect on the quality of your work.  How well does it fulfill what you wrote in your Design Brief?  (You MUST make specific reference to your Design Brief in this section.)  Summarize and analyse the feedback that you got from your target audience.

2)  Improvements: Based on the feedback that you received and your experience making the page, what would you change in your next version to improve it?  Be very specific here.  For example, "I will explain the steps more clearly," is not enough.  You must explain exactly what you wi and why.  JUSTIFY the changes that you plan to make according to experience, research and feedback.

3)  Re-edit your project: Obviously, there isn't enough time here for you to create a new page.  That isn't the idea.  But you do have a chance to take some of the feedback you got and use it to improve what you already have.  

3)  Process Reflection: Reflect on your performance throughout the phases of the Design Cycle.  What did you do well?  Why did those things go well for you?  How can you use this success to help you in the future?  What did you do poorly? Why do you think those things did not go so well?  What can you do to improve in the future?  Again, be specific. For example, "I will manage my time better," is not enough.  A better example might be, "I will take point form notes during class and keep them on colour-coded stickies on my desktop.  When I write my summaries later on, I will be able to use these notes to help me remember what I did."