Sharing and gaining knowledge in Armenia

Last April we spent two weeks at Tumo, centre for creative technologies, in Yerevan, Armenia. In those two weeks we carried out a multiscript lettering workshop with kids between 14 and 18 years old.
Tumo is a free education project funded by donors from the Armenian diaspora which aims to improve education in the country. They invite designers from all over the world to voluntarily participate in this project. We liked very much this philosophy so it was a pleasure to contribute a little bit to this educational project.

Teaching kids is a rewarding challenge, it takes a while for kids to understand what they are doing and sometimes is hard for them to engage in such difficult tasks as abstract thinking or translating concepts into shapes. However, when they get into it their passion is endless. 

We had a very nice working atmosphere which made the kids feel comfortable and enhanced the exchange of ideas and methods. They helped each other and learnt from each other.

We started by asking them to design a piece of lettering for a series of objects to bring nature closer to the cities such as a self built bird house or a pack of seed balls to spread around the city. They had to draw a logotype for it with the words “nature at home”.
We started with a brainstorming in which the kids thought of different targets for their product and attached concepts to those targets. Then we attached shapes to those concepts and we had a point to start working on their own lettering. We asked them to choose a target and then some concepts to work with.

The following days they were sketching their ideas and receiving our feedback until they were ready to digitalise their sketches using Glyphs app.

Drawing by hand is not something that this group were very used to, it was hard in the beginning but after a couple of days they understood the importance of sketching for quick decision making.

After that we asked them to translate this lettering into a different writing system. Because we were in Armenia, we asked them to work with Cyrillic as they are very familiar with it given than in the country every body speaks Russian. We also gave them the choice to work in Armenian though we let them know we would not be able to help that much on that as we never designed Armenian. In such cases we learnt from the students as much as they did from us!

We gave small lectures on specific topics giving them small amounts of information as they needed it though out the process. This way they were not overwhelmed by all this information but just got exactly what they needed at the necessary time.

The final results were quite impressive given that we had a mix group of students, some of them did not have graphic design experience, coming from programing or photography.