Inclusion: Simple as ABC

PROJECT

Collaborative Interactive Picture Book

DURATION

10 Weeks

KEY SKILLS

Ideation, Research, lllustration, Print Design, Prototyping, Collaboration

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Cover by Rebecca Moran, Photographed by Prof. Miguel Cardona

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PURPOSE

Team & Brief

Nine people and twenty six letters, plus a cover. Our three letters each were chosen randomly.  We needed to decide on a theme and story to tell through the alphabet.

Creative freedom for our independent letters was given, with our only restrictions being a font chosen specifically for legibility for children, dimensions for a two-page spread, and using Principle for our prototypes.

The result was an eclectic ABC book for children, represented by a variety of illustration styles that create rich representations on different topics within the umbrella of inclusivity.

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The team on a research trip

SOLUTION

Print to Digital

To successfully grasp our target user group of late elementary schoolers to emerging middle schoolers, the book would need to be small in size, but still large enough to have the ability to add stories for each letter.

print layout

For the interactive component, we decided to partner the book with an interactive museum installation featuring an iPad as a controller for the projection.

To prototype this, we placed the projection design above a smaller screen with the iPad design. Under each letter, you can watch as the interactions affect what the projection displays.

The interactive prototype was created in Principle and the final result was a collaborative Principle file with the entire team's prototypes within a shell built by Jaymart Yabo.

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iPad Pro – USE THIS

SOLUTION

Letter C

To communicate the concept culture, I wanted to use something tangible and deeply relatable to a child. When I was a kid, the first thing I asked every day was, “What’s for dinner?”

For people around the world, the idea of a home-cooked meal could mean a lot of different things, and is often tied back to cultural traditions. As a result, I created a table-spread featuring five different meals from different cultures.

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Culture print spread

Each meal chosen has a history pertaining to the culture it originated from, rooted in history and in the hearts of the culture it represents. The meals all sit on one table to unite them, but are distinct in their differences to represent their uniqueness.

Culture video of prototype

SOLUTION

Letter J

Communicating judgement was a challenge because of the variety of ways it could be represented and the complexity of the concept to accurately explain what it is in just a few words.

I decided to focus on combating judgement rather than going in-depth into the meaning in just a few sentences. To do this, I created a short story about the sun and the moon, two opposites that co-exist together in the lonely sky.

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Judgement print spread

The story begins with the sun passing judgement onto the moon for spending all their time in the dark, but when the sun finally asks the moon why, the moon admits they love watching the lights on Earth down below.

The sun and the moon together bond over a shared love of light, and are able to rise above their differences to become friends.

Judgement video of prototype

SOLUTION

Letter Z

To end the book, we wanted to wrap it up with a simple overall takeaway. The word “zingers” doesn’t belong to any previous topic in the book, but is relevant to all.

I wanted to show how many people will not speak up when they are hurt and will endure jokes that might not necessarily be intended for harm, but nevertheless could be hurtful to others.

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Zingers print spread

We should always be mindful of the jokes we make about other people, because even if they don’t seem upset does not mean that joke was okay. Ultimately, we should all just be more conscious of other’s feelings and ask questions to make sure others are okay.

In the interactive component, every character has an insecurity that doesn't need to be an insecurity.  They are only insecurities because they are teased for them by others.

Zingers video of prototype

RESEARCH

Whiteboarding

To narrow the focus of the project, we began by brainstorming different topics we were interested in teaching through an ABC book.

Many of our ideas were subsets of inclusiveness, which led us to the umbrella topic of inclusivity.

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RESEARCH

Target Audience

We initially wanted to target young college grads who are new members of the workforce, but designing an ABC book as an onboarding task for the workplace proved to be complicated and unsuccessful.

We revisited our user target and came to the conclusion that elementary school students who are preparing to enter middle school would benefit the most from a book about inclusiveness.

Late elementary school children are old enough to understand complex topics but simultaneously young enough to have a mindset that is still being intensely molded based on their experiences.

RESEARCH

Identifying Letters

After the meeting with the Center for Diversity & Inclusion at Rochester Institute of Technology for deeper insight, we agreed on words as a group to cover a wide range of topics within inclusion.

We also payed special attention to the order of the words in correlation to the intensity, with more potentially emotional topics in the middle.

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RESEARCH

Strong Museum Research Trip

As a group, we took a trip to Rochester’s Strong National Museum of Play. The museum is rich in digital interactive exhibits that are designed for children but fun for all ages.

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One of the first takeaways I had was the use of color to emerge the kids in the experience. Everything was vibrant, glowing, and huge.

Many of the exhibits also required common movements kids are familiar with, such as drumming, kicking, and making circles with their arms.

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They even had a pre-existing ABC book, where the pages physically turned and were projected onto.

Senitive topics also were not uncommon, and new topics were introduced in hands-on ways.

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PROCESS: PRINT

C is for Culture

Culture can mean so many things to so many people.  For this spread, I dug deep into emotional ties I hold to my identity and where those ties formed.

My family is half Jewish, and when I thought about what that meant to me during childhood I identified my strongest memories as sitting around a table piled high with bagels and whitefish or a feast of brisket and matzo ball soup.

"Your culture embodies everything that makes you who you are.

Yes, even the food on your dinner table is a part of your culture."

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Samples of inspiration

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Initial sketch

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Solidifying initial layout

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Print layout - first pass

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Final print layout, Photographed by Prof. Miguel Cardona

PROCESS: PRINT

J is for Judgement

As I was doing research, one quote stuck out to me in particular: “Judgement is separation. At bottom, judgement says that you choose differently from me because you are different from me.”

Judgement results from bias and it's difficult to control other's biases. Instead of delving deep on why judgement happens in a matter of a few sentances, I felt it was more crucial to tell a story of combatting judgement and overcoming differences.

"Judgement happens when we assume that someone is too different from ourselves in a negative way .

Instead of viewing other people as different, try to look for ways in which you are similar."

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Samples of inspiration

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Initial sketch

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Print layout - first pass

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Final print layout, Photographed by Prof. Miguel Cardona

PROCESS: PRINT

Z is for Zingers

Z in general was a tough letter to find a word for under inclusiveness. I had the idea of using the word "zingers" even though it does not directly correlate with inclusivity. I wanted to use the word to talk about compassion and conscientiousness in the words we say every day.

Zingers are jokes that poke fun at someone else. We all say them to our closest friends and they are normally harmless, but often times the line between harmless and hurtful is thin or invisible. I aimed to conclude the book with a reminder to always make what you are saying is respectful to others.

"Zingers are jokes! Some jokes have the potential to be hurtful, even if you mean no harm when you make them.

Always check in on your friends’ feelings before you poke fun at them, and be mindful of when to stop joking and start listening."

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Samples of inspiration

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Initial sketch

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Print layout - first pass

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Final print layout

PROCESS: INTERACTIVE PROTOTYPE

C is for Culture

The table spread I illustrated for culture pictures traditional meals from five different cultures around the world, displayed on one table that unites them all.

For the interactive exhibit, I wanted to have the user deep dive into foods pictured to learn something about each of them and why they are important to the culture.

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Styleboards: sketched

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Styleboards: Final prototype

Video of final interactive prototype

PROCESS: INTERACTIVE PROTOTYPE

J is for Judgement

For Judgement, I had chose the sun and the moon to represent rising above judgement to form unlikely connections with others.  In order to ellaborate on this more deeply, I used the rotation of the spinning earth to tell a story between the sun and the moon's unlikely friendship.

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Styleboards: sketched

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Styleboards: Final prototype

Video of final interactive prototype

PROCESS: INTERACTIVE PROTOTYPE

Z is for Zingers

For my last letter, I wanted to use fantastical, gender-neutral characters with universally common insecurities that are often made fun of at young ages.

My goal was to reach children that are struggling with similar insecurities and show them that they aren't alone while simultaneously reaching children that make similar jokes about other children and give them insight on the power of the words that they say.

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Styleboards: sketched

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Styleboards: Final prototype

Video of final interactive prototype

CONCLUSION

Final Thoughts

CONSCIENTIOUS DESIGN DECISIONS

I learned a lot about design decisions through this project. With all of my letters there was a high amount of ways to approach explaining relatively complex ideas, so I had to make choices about how to depict them.

I was often working with subjects I couldn’t relate to because of my own privileges, so I had to develop my own conscientiousness and pay attention to every detail, especially the message the user would ultimately takeaway.

COLLABORATIVE BALANCE

I also learned a lot about working with a large group of designers and setting boundaries. With so many peple working on the project, and with any project, we all wanted to avoid prohibiting others from producing their best work.

Simultaneously, we all wanted to create a cohesive and meaningful project. What I learned about finding the balance between the two is a skill I will continue to develop in all my team projects moving forward in life.

Thank you and play on! 🤸

Work Experience

I'm job hunting!

I’m an enthusiastic multidisciplinary designer who is looking to work
on projects that touch lives and make an impact after my graduation
this spring. I hope to continue learning and growing by collaborating
with seasoned designers. My passions reside in people, technology,
and beautifully designed products.

Interested in working together?

emily.frebowitz@gmail.com

267 690 2331

grab my resume 👉