Discover Design

Last weekend we kicked off Discover Design 2011 at our new and extremely inspirational locale — MOCA Jacksonville. The studio space gave us plenty of room for our sizable (and still growing) crowd of 27. High school students and mentors alike were excited to explore the School: By Design initiative! 

To pair up the crew, everyone randomly selected a piece of candy. Calls of ‘Reeses?’ ‘Hersheys?’ ‘Does anybody have a Tootsie Pop?’ rang out as each person searched for their mentoring match. Unconventional? Perhaps. But who doesn’t need a jolt of sugar on a Saturday morning?  

After exchanging fun facts about each other — Dogs or cats? Favorite medium? Biggest pet peeve — we settled in for a presentation. Design Mentoring Co-Chair, Katie Riffle, walked us through the components of design, the principles of art, and some favorite sites for inspiration. In case you haven’t seen them already, check out ffffound and pinterest. Great stuff, Katie!

With the principles of design in mind, we peeked at some mood board examples and set out to create our own boards (made from repurposed materials) showcasing each individual’s unique style. The battle over design swag was epic, but everyone emerged with items reflecting his or her aesthetic. After a lot of cutting, tearing, sketching, and pasting, the mentors and mentees exchanged boards and prepared to present each others’ work to the class. 

Typically both mentees and mentors can be a little shy on the first day, but not this crowd! The energy and enthusiasm was palpable as students shared their mentors’ boards and rationale. They were a tough act for the mentors to follow, but we did our best — each student’s style practically spoke for itself. 

We finished up by talking about School: By Design as an opportunity to solve a problem important to each student. Student and mentor teams will work together, using design thinking, to create sustainable school ‘ecosystems’. The students’ homework this week is to make observations about problems at school and begin thinking about how to solve them. With such a bright, resourceful group I really cannot wait to hear what they come up with! Check out more pictures from this week on Flickr

Sound like a fun time? You can still join us as a mentor! There are a few students (beginning this Saturday, February 12th) who could really use your help. Check out the schedule and send an email to Casie at if you’re interested! We would love to have you. 

— casie, design mentoring co-chair

By aigajacksonville
Published February 11, 2011