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Program
Gates Invention & Innovation Program

Gates Inventors Learn from Special Guests

Middle School inventors in the Gates program are working to fine-tune their visual presentations thanks to two special guests brought into the classroom by art teacher and Gates coach Andrea Crane.
Middle School inventors in the Gates program are working to fine-tune their visual presentations thanks to two special guests brought into the classroom by art teacher and Gates coach Andrea Crane.
 
“Students are currently working on designing logos for their inventions, and I wanted to bring in experts to help inspire them to create meaningful logo designs,” shares Andrea.
 
First in the classroom was Andi Todaro, a local artist and designer who overviewed the different types of design careers and explained how traditional design fundamentals learned in art class influence graphic design. “Color, texture, space and the other elements are just as important when working on a logo as they are in a painting,” Todaro says.
 
Students were eager to learn how to improve their designs. “I am going to make my logo simple after speaking with Ms. Todaro,” says Aiden Woodard, Grade 8.  “I want to make sure that my logo best conveys the message of my invention.”
 
His fellow inventor, Andy Sevilla (Grade 8) agreed: “After listening to the presentation I am modifying my logo to make sure it is as versatile as possible. I want to use it several different places easily so people can recognize my product.”
 
Todaro not only advised students about logo design, but also the importance of good systems and industrial design, all areas that will help the students in their overall invention development.
 
“Design is everywhere,” explains Todaro. “From the T-shirt you are wearing, to the posters on the wall, to the iPad you are holding, it spans more than just graphic design – system design and industrial design are also very important processes that require forward creative thinkers.”
 
Later in the week, Graland parent Lawrence Mandes from Galvanize shared his experience helping entrepreneurs launch their businesses. He suggested students follow a process in designing their logos.
 
  1. Create a “mood board” of images. Select images that create the mood you want to inspire with your logo.
  2. Be unique and clever. Distinguish yourself. Avoid imitation.
  3. Consider color. Each color in the rainbow is associated with different psychological meanings, both positive and negative. Choose colors carefully
  4. Keep it simple and clean. Your logo will need to work in various scales and formats (from a small image on a hat to a large billboard, for example).
  5. Don’t expect to get it right the first time. You’ll go through multiple iterations before deciding on a logo. Use focus groups to get reactions that will help you understand how your logo is perceived. Also, logos evolve over time to meet the changing needs of the business.
 Students got right to work in art class after Lawrence’s presentation.
 
“I never thought about the significance of colors before,” admits Darian Smith (Grade 7), who is inventing a protective cover for locker doors that will prevent head injuries.
 
Creative young minds spend several months in the Gates Invention Program designing products that meet needs or solve problems. They create a working prototype and a visual presentation for the expo, scheduled this year on March 5. Funded from an endowment created by Charles C. Gates ‘34, the program has been a source of pride for Graland for 15 years.
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Graland Country Day School

Graland Country Day School is a private school in Denver, Colorado, serving students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. Founded in Denver in 1924, Graland incorporates a rich, experiential learning approach in a traditional classroom setting, emphasizing the development of globally and socially conscious leaders who excel academically.