Art + Design

From A to Z: An Inneract Project Learning Lab Workshop

Earlier this year, four members of our design department partnered with Inneract Project to lead a group of students in an all-day Learning Lab Workshop. Inneract Project is a program that provides free design classes and initiatives to inner-city youth, in order to introduce them to the field of design and channel their creativity into viable career paths. The goal for our class was to create unique, individual alphabet books using four principles of design—Framing, Symbol, Pattern, and Texture.

For Framing, Executive Publishing Design Director Sara Schneider led a discussion about using framing to reimagine everyday objects and structures as letters of the alphabet. Then, geared with instant film cameras, the students set out in teams on an alphabet treasure hunt within the Chronicle building and the immediate South Park neighborhood. The students used the camera viewfinder as the frame through which they identified letterforms and then photographed these forms to create letters for their alphabet books.

Inneract Project Learning Lab Workshop

Inneract Project Learning Lab Workshop

The letter “B” as seen in the office light fixtures

After returning to Chronicle headquarters, the students selected their favorite “letters” and added them to their books in alphabetical order, adhering or embellishing the letters using a range of materials (including cupcake sprinkles!).

Inneract Project Learning Lab Workshop

Inneract Project Learning Lab Workshop

Inneract Project Learning Lab Workshop

Senior Designer Neil Egan introduced the concept of Symbol in design and how symbols can be used in a variety of ways to represent letters of the alphabet.

Inneract Project Learning Lab Workshop

Design Director Jennifer Tolo Pierce discussed Pattern and how the repetition of an object, or object in a multitude of variations, can be used to convey a mood, provide a foundation, suggest order or chaos, provide ornament, or create texture.

Inneract Project Learning Lab Workshop

Inneract Project Learning Lab Workshop

Design Director Vanessa Dina shared various tactile books, papers, and other materials as example of Texture and the ways in which how something feels can evoke different emotions, sensations, and associations.

Inneract Project Learning Lab Workshop

The students worked throughout the day to incorporate all four principles into their alphabet books, and the Chronicle designers were amazed by their creativity, focus, and willingness to explore and share new concepts and materials.

Inneract Project Learning Lab Workshop

Inneract Project Learning Lab Workshop

Inneract Project Learning Lab Workshop

The students left with their completed books and some Chronicle goodie bags, and the designers left inspired, as well as hopeful, that some day we might meet these students again—maybe even as designers at Chronicle Books.

To read more about all things design at Chronicle books, visit here.

Photos by Neil Egan

Jennifer Tolo Pierce

Jennifer Tolo Pierce is a Design Director at Chronicle Books with a love of all things words and images, particularly as they intersect in the realm of lifestyle and children’s publishing.
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