Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Graphic Design Names

I recently received an email about a photo I had taken of my classroom and one of the projects I had hanging on the board...this is THAT project! I am currently working on this with my third graders (they haven't finished yet) but I'll be glad to show the process and late some of the fantastic results!


6x18 sheets of white paper


Black Oil Pastel

Watercolor paints

The first thing I do is have them write their names (in pencil) so they touch the top and bottom of the page. They write names in all CAPITAL letters.

Next, they use crayons to fill in the "spaces" in between the letters of their name (and the spaces formed by the letters OF their name). Each space is to have a different design and a different color. No representational shapes or recognizable pictures are allowed.

Leave the oil pastel for last (TRUST ME on this!!!) I have them use oil pastel to trace their names with a thick line, trying their best not to rub and smudge the oil pastel as they work. This is an art form in itself! I'm sure you could also use black crayon or Sharpie as well.

This is a great project to start the year off because it:

1. Teaches you everyone's names (if you don't know them!)

2. Focuses on filling negative space

3. Isn't intimidating (I mean, everyone can write their name and doodle).

4. Is colorful and personally meaningful to each child.

5. Is a great lesson on line and non-representational art.

Next week my students will be finishing their work, check back to see their wonderful finished products!


  1. The design is looking awesome. I and my friends were also doing such type of projects when we were in schools. Now we are doing designs in computer and are doing various advertisement like post card marketing, printing business cards, flyers, banners for clients.

  2. Thank you for sharing this simple yet effective project - I used this with my Y3/4 class in England: we really enjoyed spending some time this week making our names look bright and eye-catching. You can view the results here:

  3. Thanks for giving me my opening lesson plan for 3rd grade. These look fabulous!


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  5. At what point do you use the watercolors? Before or after outlining the name in black oil pastel? Thanks so much for sharing this beautiful project idea!

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