Me And My Logo

By Daarina Abdus-Samad, September 2, 2007

Grade Level

  • Elementary School


  • Graphic Design

Subject Area

  • Arts
  • Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Social Studies
  • Technology

Lesson Time

Two or three fifty-minute class periods


This lesson introduces students to the design process while integrating several academic curriculum areas. It is a very good lesson to use at the beginning of the school year as it helps students introduce themselves. Students will discuss and write about themselves, their families, favorite activities etc. They will graph and design three to four realistic representations on small paper t-shirt patterns. A "never-before-seen" symbol or logo will then be created combining aspects that represent who they are to form their own unique emblem. It is important that students explore and feel comfortable about who they are. This lesson engages students in a creative, non-threatening manner, connecting curriculum subjects and introducing design thinking during the "getting to know you" time of the school year. Goals:
  • Establish expectations and permission for critical thinking in class(Design Process)
  • Get to know individual student backgrounds and needs
  • Assess & practice student writing & communication skills
  • Introduce design thinking
  • Introduce the elements of art
  • Teach students that one thing can represent another thing (Critical, Abstract & Higher level thinking)
  • Introduce graphing—learn how to enlarge a design

National Standards


Students will; -Explain design process, criteria, and planning -Describe & list their personality, family traits, and background, along with likes and dislikes, etc. -Read & write about themselves, their families, and others -Discover commonalities and differences about themselves and others -Compare individual uniqueness -Identify themselves & others in multiple ways -Associate symbolism and representations -Reproduce design prototypes -Ask & answer questions that express ideas -Retell math strategies used to enlarge patterns -Rewrite ideas -Develop a unique design connecting personality and experiences -Discuss and explain design thinking


  • computers for Internet research of logo designs
  • design magazines
  • tape recorder or CD player to listen to The T-Shirt Song and book by Claude Berlinger


  • colored markers
  • pencils
  • crayons
  • 8 1/2 by 11 white construction paper with 4 blank T-shirt silhouette outlines
  • 1/2" or 1"grid paper
  • large cut-outs of T-shirt shape on white construction paper
  • multi-colored flesh tone ovals & rectangle construction paper
  • colored yarn
  • glue


• grid-adjacent squares a network of squares formed by horizontal and vertical lines • graph-diagram showing relationships between varying quantities • criteria-an accepted standard used in making a decision or judgment about something • enlarge-increase the size, amount, or extent of something, or become larger • design-detailed plan of something, emphasizing features such as appearance, convenience, and efficient functioning • image-actual or mental picture • represent-act or speak on behalf of some body or something • symbol-something that stands for or represents something else, especially an object representing an abstraction • logo-a design symbolizing organization • symbolize-to represent something by means of a symbol • emblem-something that visually symbolize s an object, idea, group, or quality


This lesson sets the pace of expectations for design thinking and is helpful to use at the start of the school year. Students explore who they are by discussing, drawing, writing, etc. about favorite objects which inform others about them. They transform these ideas into one logo representation that depicts who they are with a single symbol.
  • Have students bring to class three-five three-dimensional items that express something about who they are. Push them to think in abstract form.  For example, "This seashell represents me because I love going to the beach."
  • Take 20 minutes each day for a week to allow four students at a time to explain how and why each item represents them (time allotments may vary).
  • Have students pick one or two of their favorite items and draw several images of the pieces on small t-shirt silhouette shapes.
  • Explain that they are ready to become designers of unique "Never Before Seen" Logos!
  • As a class, create a Criteria List of "Don't Want, & Needs." Use the list as a lesson guide to connect curriculum and as a rubric to direct learning. The students will be engaged because they helped to create the criteria.
  • Students should now transfer the abstract design choice to 1/3 inch math graph paper, and then enlarge it to the big T-Shirt cutout using 1 inch square grid paper guides.
  • Have students write about, discuss, & explain why they made their choice selections.
  • Students should discuss the logic of their choices in color, shape, line, etc. to symbolize who they are.
  • Flesh tone oval & rectangle shapes will be added along with yarn to further characterize the pieces.
  • Then display each student’s pieces, along with the progression of the design and their writing.
Teacher note:  There's a T-Shirt Song and book that can go along with this lesson if desired.


  • The criteria list created with the students can serve as a rubric. Students should refer to it while working on the project to make sure they met the challenge of the design objectives.
  • Observe and encourage the use of the vocabulary words in context and monitor discussions to determine if students understand abstract ideas. Higher level thinking skills are apparent if the students transfer the knowledge gained in new but different situations as the school year progresses.
  • The idea of "Never Before Seen" allows all students to participate at their own level. Since there are no right or wrong answers students should become inventive.
  • Differentiated instruction is fostered as the teacher and students work to support each others new ideas according to the Criteria guidelines.
  • Example of the Criteria List: NEEDS • Designs that express you and your interests • Plan several designs & drawings • Pick favorite design • Design actual t-Shirt to match design pattern • Use graph paper to enlarge design • Reproduce T-Shirt design to larger template • Discuss design vocabulary DON'T WANT • Designs which are usual. (Seen before)

Enrichment Extension Activities

The students should become more aware of representational images used for various reasons in their environments and communities (for example, the Nike symbol, Coca-Cola symbol, etc.). The connection of how one thing represents another could illicit understanding of other points of view addressing Social Studies standards. The logos can be transferred to real T-Shirts, addressing several Arts standards along with production, economic & business awareness.

Teacher Reflection

  • Upon the introduction of this lesson, several unsure students with little artistic abilities felt threatened, however when the "Never Before Seen" element was added to the criteria, a variety of products became acceptable as long they met the criteria. The students were then much freer with their ideas. Everyone was successful.
  • Students will need to continually develop writing skills and strategies according to grade level expectations. The challenge was engaging and the students wrote much more than on previous occasions. They were connected to an authentic experience that gave purpose to their writing.
  • This lesson can be adapted and changed according to time allowances and grade level. I would like to investigate other ways of transferring and enlarging the logo to the larger T-shirt.
  • It seems possible to address additional math and science standards during designing if the lessons were geared to include skill development. (ex. silk screening or batik the designs to cloth.)
  • As usual, time is always short and some of the lesson time had to be shortened. I would condense some of the sharing time during the initial class wide object sharing.
  • This lesson was successful because every student had a chance to share something unique and personal about his or herself. They were excited about learning and involved with the process which made it hands-on fun. Students took pride in their very own logos.

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