3-Dimensional Personal Logos!

By Diane Gronewold, August 20, 2008

Grade Level

  • High School


  • Architecture

Subject Area

  • Arts
  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies

Lesson Time

Ten 85 minute class periods


Adolescents are constantly trying to figure out 'who they are' and 'what makes them unique from their classmates, friends, and family'.  By using the design process, the students will explore, discuss, and create an abstract, 3-dimensional logo that represents themselves.  The logo will be carved out of plaster, and will visually communicate what makes them a unique, special person!  This lesson will also help the students to discover important things about themselves that have been developing from their past and present experiences. They will also begin to realize what things/feelings are important to them in order to be happy.  This information will guide them as they make choices about what they need for their future. This lesson will engage the students in the following instruction:
  • Discovering things about their personalities and feelings that are important and unique to them
  • Exercise their ability to effectively communicate their feelings to classmates in order to generate ideas for each other
  • This lesson will provide a wonderful opportunity to learn and experience how working together with other students can broaden your ideas and viewpoints on many things including feelings, emotion, and ways to visualize them into shapes
  • Experience how to edit and develop their ideas into a personal logo
  • Experience turning their personal logo into an abstract,  3-dimensional form
  • Understand and utilize the Elements and Principles of Design in a sculpture
  • Experience the effectiveness of the design process and how it can be used to organize and develop ideas from a 'need' that has surfaced in their lives

National Standards

Anchors for Reading:

Key Ideas and Details:


Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.


Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.


Analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.

Craft and Structure:


Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:


Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.1


Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.

Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity:


Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

Anchor Standards for Writing:

Text Types and Purposes1:


Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.


Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.


Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details and well-structured event sequences.

Production and Distribution of Writing:


Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.


Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.


Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.

Range of Writing:


Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.

Comprehension and Collaboration:


Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.


Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.


Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas:


Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.


Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.

Vocabulary Acquisition and Use:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.6 Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when encountering an unknown term important to comprehension or expression.

National Standards for Visual Arts Conceiving and developing new artistic ideas and work.

Anchor Standard #1. Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.

Anchor Standard #2. Organize and develop artistic ideas and work. Anchor Standard #3. Refine and complete artistic work.


Understanding and evaluating how the arts convey meaning.

Anchor Standard #7. Perceive and analyze artistic work.

Anchor Standard #8. Interpret intent and meaning in artistic work. Anchor Standard #9. Apply criteria to evaluate artistic work.

Relating artistic ideas and work with personal meaning and external context.

Anchor Standard #10. Synthesize and relate knowledge and personal experiences to make art.

Anchor Standard #11. Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural and historical context to deepen understanding.  


Students will:
  • Begin to discover what makes them unique from their classmates, friends, and family
  • Begin to learn and organize what things/feelings are important to them in order to be happy
  • Learn how to use the design process to develop solutions to problems / needs that may occur in their lives
  • Learn how to make life choices according to what their particular needs are
  • Learn how to better communicate their feelings and ideas to their classmates in order to come up with more specific ideas and solutions to their personal needs
  • Learn how to express their feelings / personality traits by way of a personal logo
  • Learn how to turn realistic images and ideas into abstract forms
  • Experience the process of carving plaster.


SUBTRACTIVE SCULPTURE - PLASTER CARVING https://employees.oneonta.edu/sakoult/3d/assignments/carving/carving.html HISTORY OF SCULPTURE https://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainTextHistories.asp?ParagraphID=bzt Why Design? by Anna Slafer and Kevin Cahill (the Design Process, specifically). https://www.cooperhewitt.org/?s=why+design Step 1:  Identify the need for change:  Does someone have a problem? Step 2:  Investigate the need:  Are you solving the right problem? Step 3:  Establish performance criteria:  What defines a successful solution? Step 4:  Write the design brief:  How can stating the problem make it easier to solve? Step 5:  Generate ideas:  How can you expand your thinking? Step 6:  Edit and develop ideas:  Which ideas have the most potential? Step 7:  Test ideas:  How can feedback improve your solutions? Step 8:  Communicate your proposed solutions(s):  It's show time!  How can you "sell" your ideas? Step 9:  Evaluate your process:  Did you do what you needed to do? Step 10:  Implement the solution(s):  How can your ideas become reality?  


The Design Brief
1.  Need/problem:2.  Client: 3.  People affected, and how this problem affects your life:4.  Past, present, and future of the problem:5.  Attitudes that may need to be changed: &nbs p;6.  Behaviors that may need to be changed:7.  Conditions affecting situation:8.  Performance criteria - A successful solution must do the following:  (Rank in order of most to least important.):&nbsp ; 9.  Minimum acceptable performance criteria:  
  • Computer with internet access
  • LCD projection capability (to show examples of finished plaster sculptures)
  • Pencil
  • 12" x 18" paper to brainstorm and sketch out ideas on
  • Clay to make sample sculpture
  • Plastic paint bucket liner (from Home Depot) filled with prepared plaster (This is to be mixed up in advance by a "teacher assistant")
  • Plastic table covers (to prevent scratches on the table)
  • Plaster carving tools:  files, wooden hammers, chisels, electric drill with long drill bit, rough and fine sand paper
  • Damp paper towels (to wipe dust off of finished sculpture) - students get their own
  • Neutral colored acrylic paint and brushes (optional)


The students will learn and or review the following vocabulary: Empathy - Being able to "put yourself in some else's shoes" to better understand their feelings. Collage - An artistic composition made up of various imagesl Morph - Something slowing turning into something else. Prototype - Creating a sample that shows and expresses their personal logo. Aesthetics - The description and explanation of artistic phenomena and aesthetic experience. Critique - A critical review or discussion to evaluate or better understand the students' ideas and sculptures. Elements of Art - The basic components used by the artist when producing works of art: Line Shape Form Space Value Texture Principles of Design - Certain qualities inherent in the choice and arrangement of the Elements of Art in the production of a work of art.  Artists "design" their works to varying degrees by controlling and experimenting with the Elements of Art. Visual Movement and Rhythm - The Principle of Design that refers to the repetition of the Elements of Art to produce the look and feel of movement.  It is often achieved through the careful placement of repeated components which invite the viewer's eye to jump rapidly or glide smoothly from one area to the next. Balance - A Principle of Design that refers to the way the Elements of Art are arranged to create a feeling of stability in a work.  Balance can be symmetrical, or formal;  or it can be asymmetrical, or informal.  It can also be radial. Proportion - A Principle of Design that refers to the comparative, proper, or harmonious relationship of one part to another or to the whole with respect to size, quantity, or degree. Variety - A Principle of Design that refers to a way of combining Elements of Art in involved ways to achieve intricate and complex relationships.  An artwork which makes use of many different hues, values, lines, textures, and shapes would reflect the artists' desire for variety.  Unity is the Principle which is its variety's opposite; but when there is too little variety, the result is monotony. Emphasis - Any forcefulness that gives importance or dominance to some feature or features of an artwork. Emphasized Elements are                used to direct and focus attention on the most important parts of a composition - its focal point. Harmony - Harmony refers to a way of combining Elements of Art to accent their similarities and bind the picture parts into a whole.  It is often achieved through the use of repetition and simplicity. Unity - A composition is unified when the relationships between its parts interact to create a sense that no portion of the composition may be changed without altering the aesthetic integrity and meaning of the artwork.  


1. Show students examples of finished plaster sculptures.  Show examples of  professional plaster sculptures found on one of the websites listed above in the resources.  Discuss their composition, visual movement, uses of texture, and expressive qualities.  Also emphasize the fact that an abstract form doesn't need to be absolutely realistic, it is an expressive form that may or may not resemble the original form.  It has been manipulated and created by the artist. 2. Discussion on symbols:  "An Apple Isn't Just An Apple" (page 73 & 74 of "Why Design" by Anna Slafer and Kevin Cahill) (a) It is important for students to realize that when we communicate, we must realize that people aren't always in agreement as to what different symbols represent. (b) As a class, discuss what 4 different meanings there might be for an apple. (c) As a class, discuss what 4 different meanings there might be for the color RED. 3. The students will each receive the handout describing the 10 step design process listed above in the resources (taken from the book Why Design? by Anna Slafer and Kevin Cahill).  Discuss and go through each step as follows: Step 1: Identify the need for change - Does someone have a problem? Design is one of the things we do to meet our needs and satisfy our desires.  To begin designing you have to identify what the need is.  In this lesson the need is for each student to begin to better understand themselves by discovering things about their personalities and feelings that are important and unique to them.  How are they different from their classmates, friends, and family.  By learning more about themselves, they will be more equipped to make better choices about their future and what their lives need to have in order to be happy. Step 2:  Investigate the need - Are you solving the right problem? Are you being honest with yourself?  Your personalities have been developing for a long time.  Many things affect who you are - including the past, present, and future.  Think about how your needs might change in the future.  Consider who may be affected by your future choices and how they may be affected. Step 3:  Establish performance criteria - What defines a successful solution? How will you know if your personality traits and needs you might are important ones?  You must take into account the long-term effects of         the solution on you and the people around you.  Identify what traits are important to you.  Prioritize these traits.  Determine the minimum that could be done to satisfy your future needs. Step 4:  Write the Design Brief - How can stating the problem make it easier to solve? The students will also each receive the handout of 'The  Design Brief' (taken from the book Why Design? by Anna Slafer and Kevin Cahill) - shown above in the 'materials' section. Discuss the handout as a class, and then have each student fill out their own  'Design  Brief".  This is a written summary of your journey so far.  Think of the Design Brief form as a tool to help you organize the information you've collected and outline the steps you must take to solve the problem - or use the information to help you make good future choices. Step 5:  Generate ideas - How can you expand your thinking? Increase your creativity by going through your list of personality traits and needs, and create some images that might represent them.  Have the class number off my 4's and get into groups.  Each student will take a turn communicating to their group what their personal discoveries are.  Brainstorm within the group to generate even more ideas.  THEN - incubate these thoughts and ideas - think about the words and images - doodle them - and even put them out of your mind for a while.  Collect            actual images that will help your sketching the next day.  Rethink your discoveries the next day - often times even more ideas will come when your mind takes a break from it! The next day the students will take their images and sketch out ways to combine these images into an abstract personal logo.  Draw at least 10 possible personal logos.  They could try collaging images together or even morphing them - having images turn into other images. Step 6:  Edit and develop ideas - Which ideas have the most potential? Re look at your personal logo designs and try making them into a 3-dimensional form out of clay with at least one opening that can be looked through.  Remind students that thin areas of clay will be fragile - so        they might need to make their clay sample sculpture a little thicker than their plaster carving.  At this point go through how their sculptures are            going to be graded.Be sure the sculptured personal logo is: * Interesting to look at from all directions?  (good composition, use of visual movement, and the other Principles of Design and Elements of Art) * Will the sculpture be sturdy and free standing? * Is the sculpture creative in how it represents your personal logo? * Is there at least one interesting opening (hole) in the sculpture that can be looked through? Step 7:  Test ideas - Feedback can improve your solutions Have the students get back into their groups of 4 and constructively critique and discuss the clay models of their personal logo sculptures. When the students are satisfied with their personal logo sculptures they can begin carving them out of plaster. (At this point stop the class and              demonstrate how to remove the plaster from the plastic container, how to use the files, sandpaper, hammer & chisel, drill, and HOW TO START!) * Turn on the classroom exhaust fan while students are working with the plaster.  Also provide students that are using the hammer & chisel to             wear safety glasses while working. * Remind the students often to chip off only small pieces at a time and WORK SLOWLY. * Remind students that the smooth areas are to be extremely smooth - as smooth as an egg.  "Planned" textures must be consistent. * When finished, and when the teacher agrees that their sculpture is completed, they are to wipe all of the excess dust off with a damp paper         towel. * Painting their sculpture with neutral colored acrylic paint is optional. They can also be left white. Step 8:  Communicate solution (personal logo) - How can you explain your discoveries? Each student will be required to write an artists' statement explaining their personal logo.  The message requires four things: 1. a message to send 2. a sender (that's the student) 3. a means of sending the message - in this case a typed paragraph 4. a receiver (listener, reader, audience - in this case students and staff of their high school - the finished logos will be displayed in the school media center for all to view and enjoy) The teacher is also to create a sign that explains the purpose of the lesson along with the qualifying grad standards that are being met.  This sign will be displayed with the plaster personal logos. Step 9:  Evaluate your process - Did you do what you needed to do? This is when the class reviews the Design Process and critiques the personal logos to see if they communicate what it was that the students were trying to communicate. Step 10:  Implement the solution - How can your ideas become reality? At this point it will be important to discuss how the students can take their personal discoveries and learn how they can put this new information to use!  Time will tell if what they learned with this lesson will be helpful in years to come!


The Plaster Sculptures will be worth a possible 100 points: 20 points:  Is the sculpture interesting to look at from all directions? (good composition, use of visual movement, and the other Principles of Design and Elements of Art) 20 points:  Craftsmanship - Is the sculpture sturdy and free standing? 20 points:  Creativity in how their personal logo was depicted. Does it communicate what the student is trying to say? 10 points:  Is the surface of the sculpture smooth and/or consistently                             textured? If the sculpture has been painted - was it done                              neatly? 10 points:  Is there an interesting opening in the sculpture that you can look                     through? 10 points:  Artists' Statement - Were you able to communicate the concepts and ideas embedded in your personal logo? 10 points:  Use of class time.

Enrichment Extension Activities

The students will be required to write an Artists' Statement that describes what they were trying to communicate with their personal logo sculptures. Photos of the sculptures could be implemented into the school art web site. Our local Public Library is often willing to display student work. Another sculpture (out of plaster, clay, or even a mixed media of found objects, etc.) could be created that could be a tribute to someone important to them. The students could create a journal to document the design process they are experiencing.

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