Students Design New Online Children's Activity Book for The National Archives


As part of their Graphic Design course, students were tasked by the education team at The National Archives to develop a set of potential activity and learning pages, which could ultimately make up a new e-book for schools titled "What is History".

The National Archives" Education team is now looking through each of the designs, selecting those that will work best for their schools" audience, before the content will eventually go live.

Hannah Carter, Education Officer at The National Archives, in London, who devised the project brief, said: "We have been impressed by the range of inventive and creative responses to historical documents in our collection. Students have explored diverse themes from the Anglo-Zulu wars to the Great Fire of London. Evident in all the designs is an understanding that our primary aim is to develop enquiring minds. These booklets will be a fantastic resource for teachers and students who visit our website and come onsite."

The National Archives will use the activity e-book for educational events and distribute it to partner schools, which could either download the material ahead of a visit or use it as a follow up activity.

As part of their studies, Worcester students are encouraged to use their design skills on meaningful "live" projects that assist organisations and charities, both locally and nationally, alongside academic learning.

Second year students on the Children's Book Design module visited The National Archives for a behind-the-scenes tour to see some of their most historic and precious documents, such as medieval maps and Henry VIII's royal seal. They also took part in typical schools learning sessions to give them a better understanding of how their resource might be used and the level of complexity to design for in terms of the age groups it would be aimed at.

Students then had a semester to work up their ideas, with guidance from academic staff.

Anna Miller, a second year student on the Graphic Design course, said:" I found this brief really enjoyable as designing for children allowed the work to be more hand rendered and informal. This was my first experience working for a real client on a live brief too, which gave me a strong sense of motivation to meet the audience's needs. It also taught me the importance of good communication, good research and to try and fully understand the client's requirements to produce the best outcome. These are things I've already taken into other projects and will continue to do so in future work."

Andy Stevenson, Senior Design Lecturer, and developer of the Children's Book Design module, added: "This has been a fascinating "live" project for the students to work on and it's especially fantastic for us as this will now form the second such "live" e-book project our students have worked on for The National Archives" Education Team now. We'd especially like to thank the staff at The National Archives for being such great clients for our students and also for the amazing visit day they laid on for us on site to help students fully understand their brief."