When Great Kids Farm approached me to create a series of posters to promote vegetables that would be relevant to Baltimore City students I was, frankly, scared. It feels like ages since I was a teenager and this is a notoriously difficult group. I knew the only way we would be successful was to intimately involve the students in the messaging process.
To start with, I worked with the staff to design an interactive in-person workshop with the students. Together we developed a mood board with key words and phrases they wanted to highlight. The idea surfaced of using hip hop lyrics and pop culture references, along with images of vegetables and students that would connect in some way. Although I'm the design expert, I did not have any idea which messages would resonate so I let the students lead the way.
After the workshop, I created sketches, exploring images and textures to find those most appropriate and fun. We staged a photo shoot with the students which was silly and fun. Then, I came back to the student group with five options pared down from the ideas generated during the workshop. Of course the challenge here was that the concepts needed to not only be relevant to the students, they also had to be tame enough to gain approval from school administrators. I was relieved to find out that the students were excited to see their concepts come to life, and that my designs reflected their ideas. The posters now hang in public school cafeterias, inspiring kids to eat their veggies!