Typefaces Research – How Children Read

This webpage, https://www.fonts.com/content/learning/fyti/situational-typography/typography-for-children, provides useful insight into how young children read words.

What I learned from this page:

  • Don’t put too much text on a page
  • Ensure good contrast levels between text and background
  • Don’t use condensed or expanded typefaces – make it harder to read
  • Don’t use anything too stylised, except for headers “Headline or title type gives you the opportunity to be more playful in style, color and layout, since there are fewer words to read. Decorated typestyles, lots of color, and curved and jumping baselines can all be used to attract and entertain the young reader. Keeping it light and fun is the key to keeping a young reader interested and turning pages.”

Another page with useful information: https://www.uxmatters.com/mt/archives/2011/06/effective-use-of-typography-in-applications-for-children-3.php

“..it is advisable to stay away from distorted, decorative, or cursive letterforms. Some fonts that offer optimized legibility, because they were designed specifically for kids, include the Sasoon font family and Gill Sans Schoolbook.

Also: http://www.creativebloq.com/inspiration/these-10-fonts-for-kids-will-keep-you-young-at-heart

Junior Graphic Design Job Market Sheffield

Before going onto a PGCE I plan to return to work part-time as I have two small children. From what I have read on the internet a PGCE is very intensive and I don’t think it would be right to go straight onto a PGCE with two young children.

LINKS: https://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/2011/sep/14/pgce-tips-teaching-resources



Today I have taken a look at the job market today in regards to Graphic Design jobs.

First job that pops up is paying £19k-£21k and 2 years general Graphic Design experience is required and ideally experience with sign-making using a flatbed cutter or CNC router.

A middle weight position with a minimum of 5 years experience paying £20-£25k.

Another employer is wanting a 3+ years experience with a strong web portfolio, no salary mentioned.

Graphic Web Developer, £20k a year but must understand web development.

Graphic Design Assistant paying £18-20k, minimum 1 year of experience required.

Digital Designer/Graphic Designer position, experienced required and knowledge of web development.

My search today did not find any Junior Graphic Design positions full or part-time positions. All the positions above are full-time. What I have learnt is that there is a strong emphasis on web design and development – these two areas have converged over the years into 1 multi-disciplined job rather than two separate jobs in many cases. A Graphic Designer today is not only expected to be able to confidently use InDesign and Illustrator they are required to, at the very least, to be competent basic knowledge of web development – in some cases more than basic knowledge. Graphic Design is converging with Digital Media/Web Development and in the Digital Age this is not likely to change.

“For graphic designers, a career move into digital design makes sense. The shift to online platforms for almost all traditional media means skilled designers with an eye for the digital are in high demand”  – https://digitalskillsacademy.com/blog/why-digital-design-is-the-best-next-career-step-for-graphic-designers

“Learning to code websites will mean that you have a “future proof” skill. In terms of the foreseeable future, the internet and online marketing are not going away. The time that you invest in learning this new skill will put you in a position to produce work that is highly valued by employers and potential clients.” – https://creativepro.com/graphic-designers-need-learn-coding-competitive/

Also understanding how things work can help you create better designs, everything has it’s limit and understanding how websites work helps you not disappoint a client by promising something which can’t be delivered or is outside the client’s budget.

“Also, quite simply, you will be a better designer if you have a basic understanding of how the development process works, why certain programming languages are used, and how they restrict or expand your ability to design your intentions. When you have a better sense of what’s technically realistic before you start designing, you’ll be less likely to waste your time and more likely to focus your energy focusing on the parts of your site that aren’t up to the whims of the developer’s implementation.” – https://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2015/04/should-designers-learn-to-code/

Being able to design and code makes you more attractive to employers and probably more likely to land you a job.

“Those developers/designers who have a good grasp of skills across both sides of the spectrum are highly sought after in the industry.” – https://www.upwork.com/hiring/development/web-design-vs-web-development/

Marketing Techniques – Research

While all ages recognised adverts on TV as adverts, only the older children recognised display advertising as such. The defining characteristic as to whether adverts were considered as such is how much they interrupt the other things that they are doing – TV adverts interrupt the show they are watching, pop-ups do the same; banner ads don’t interrupt and can be passively ignored.

And in all cases the children had developed their own patterns for skipping this advertising as soon as possible – ignoring it, looking over it. When confronted with in-game advertising, for example, the children would leave their phone and mute and go and do something else while the adverts played out. They knew they were coming and had strategies to avoid them.


Interesting how younger children don’t recognise display advertising as advertising. And once children do recognise advertising they learn how to skip it – the advertising needs to engage children so that don’t skip past it.

I want to engage children and I thought about basing an advert on path puzzles as pictured here:


Path Puzzle


These adverts could feature inside Children’s magazines but also magazines/papers that parents read.

Other Research:




Toys will be Toys

Few shots I took on the theme of switching stereotypes.

Eyes on the Prize


Lost the focus on the Pony one but it was low light so a bit trickier. Don’t think I have the technical skills currently for low light/night photography – need to more practice.

Pony Construction

Lads Washing

Action Man

In the Name of Glitter

Getting Dressed

Research toy photography:


Sheffield Hallam PGCE


2017 Requirements for a Primary PGCE

“Typically you need

• GCSE grade C in English and mathematics and science, or equivalent*. You must already hold the GCSE requirements before applying for the course.

• a 2.1 degree or above, or a 2.2 degree plus evidence of wider experience in a UK school or foundation setting

• it is desirable that you have at least 15 days recent foundation stage or primary UK school teaching experience with five of these days as continuous teaching (gained in the two years before your application)

You must also

• successfully complete QTS skills tests in numeracy and literacy as designated by the National College for Teaching and Leadership.

• complete a declaration of criminal convictions and health check forms.”

I already hold a C in Maths and English and 2 B’s in Science. As you need to have at least 15 days experience within 2 years of applying for a PGCE I have not applied for teaching experience yet.

There are also some bursary’s available depending on the subject you wish to teach and the level of your degree. https://getintoteaching.education.gov.uk/funding-and-salary/overview

Although there is shortage of teachers this is mainly at Secondary level. Bearing in mind that Primary teaching is more competitive and with me having a non-traditional degree (not Maths, English, one of the Sciences) I am concerned that I might be less employable as a teacher due to me having studied Graphic Design. I could consider teaching at secondary level and studying a SKE course to teach Design and Technology.

“The schools or universities you apply to may ask you to take an SKE course if they feel you have the right qualities to become a teacher, but need to acquire more subject knowledge first. If that’s the case, they’ll offer you a conditional place upon doing an SKE course.

This could be for several reasons, including:

I came across this idea after researching other people with Graphic Design degrees becoming D & T teachers.

“I know both people who have studies Graphic Design at uni and have done a PGCE in Art and others who have do it in D&T.” – https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=2989433

Entry requirements for a PGCE Secondary in Design and Technology.

“2017 entry requirements

All applicants need GCSE mathematics and English language at grade C or above or equivalent*. We will consider applicants who are in the process of obtaining the relevant GCSEs.

You must also

• hold an honours degree (normally 2.2 or above) or equivalent which includes substantial elements of design and technology study from a relevant material area for example product design or fashion and textiles
• complete a declaration of criminal convictions and health check forms
• successfully complete QTS skills tests in numeracy and literacy as designated by the National College for Teaching and Leadership

You are encouraged to gain experience of schools through direct observation of teaching and learning and/or by working with young people in design and technology-related or other educational activities.” – https://www.shu.ac.uk/study-here/find-a-course/pgce-secondary-design-and-technology

However I do feel more drawn to teaching Primary but it is something to consider as an option especially as I’m more likely to gain employment with a PGCE in D & T as there is a shortage of teachers for this subject.

Sacha Ferrier Photography

Sacha Ferrior came into college today as part of our Professional Development sessions to discuss networking, brand, how much charge, amongst other things.

Getting your image right is very important as Sacha mentioned. You need to research who you are targeting. Researching your competitors is a good idea too as you can see what you are up against and what you can do differently, what you can offer that no one else can. Also showing a consistent image across the web (social media as well as your own site), business cards, brochures and other media is important. Sacha had a different logo on his website and brochure and no logo at all present on his business cards, but this may be due to not having time to update them yet. He has gone through several revisions of his logo/business cards before realising what he needed – he previous business cards did not show people what he did which is food photography.

One piece of advice was dress smart, he will not work with goths or people who are dressed scruffy. Yet he contraindicated himself by then saying he works with one man who looks “scruffy” but he will not work with another female photographer because of the way she looks even though he thinks she is a brilliant photographer. But this may have been because the man was working behind the scenes for him so didn’t see clients. People do judge you on first impressions and how you look counts, especially if you are applying for a job that is customer facing.

According to Sacha, the best way to network is share work and be kind. If you can’t take on a job recommend someone who can that you know, as they might recommend you back. Share useful information on relevant networking sites, Facebook groups, etc. Be nice, like a few posts. This is good advice as you can gain contacts and work yourself.

Illustrations to Appeal to Children

The original mock-ups didn’t have enough appeal to children. Children and adults (popularity of family animation films including anime) are attracted to the fun nature of cartoons and illustrations. Children’s books are illustrated in order to aid the understand of the narrative and also attract and maintain children’s attention.

“As far as what makes a good illustration for kids, the first thing that comes to my mind is the use of color. I am a true lover of black-and-white artwork (as well as color), but when it comes to kids—especially having spent time working in an elementary school, and as a mother of two—I would certainly put this at the top of the list…” — Allison Sojka, Author and Illustrator.

“Ultimately, marketers must influence both parents and children. Despite the influence that children have and the motives that drive parents to please their kids, parents have the final say, and transactions will only be successfully monetized by parent approved brands.” – https://www.bizjournals.com/bizjournals/how-to/marketing/2016/04/how-to-develop-digital-advertising-strategies-for.html

The phrases/image combination I believe would appeal to parents as it is challenging stereotypes. Mattel have found their sales of Barbie dropping as they believe parents see her as old fashioned. They created new dolls to try to combat this negative image.

“I know plenty of other mothers feel as I do about Barbie: that she’s an antiquated and warped take on unachievable perfection, however aspirational you dress her up to be.” – Rachel Halliwell, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/mother-tongue/11378339/Barbie-is-dead.-How-do-toy-makers-appeal-to-modern-little-girls.html

“We were seeing that Millennials are driven by social justice and attracted to brands with purpose and values, and they didn’t see Barbie in this category.” – Tania Missad, Mattel’s Director of Global Brand Insights http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/life/barbie-got-curves—10-years-too-late/

On discussing my work so far Paul felt that an image I had found of a boy wearing a fairy outfit crossed over in to the transgender issue. This sums a huge point for me, a girl dressed as Buzz Lightyear might get called a tomboy, a boy wearing a fairy dress must be transgender/gay. A little boy can’t just want to dress-up. It’s acceptable for a girl to do “boy” stuff (sometimes encouraged too)(http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-38250674) but not the other way round.

That’s my boy!…I’m fairly certain.


On Friday Scott showed me and Sam round one of the Photography Studios. Explaining lighting, aperture, ISO and shutter speed in relation to the lighting. Not sure how much of this has stuck in but I have been playing around with my old Canon 350D, some examples here:

Beau in Bath Splash



UPDATE: I have kept practising taking a range of photos, some which have been in low light conditions – this has proved tricky and my lack of photography knowledge has let me down. However, I plan to keep practising because I want to eventually create some illustrations from my photos for cards to sell on Etsy. Also good photography skills is useful when photographing products for my Etsy shop.

White Firework - Fountain

Red Firework






York Railway Museum Great Hall

train up close

train table

train close up brass




Critical Studies Ideas – Barbie Nunchucks

First idea (Barbie Nunchucks) based in part on the following in Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine:


If anyone’s still worried about today’s teenagers melting their brains on the Internet, there’s at least one who stands out against the crowd: teen activist McKenna Pope. In 2012 Pope’s four-year-old brother, who had a passion for cooking, was beyond excited to ask for an Easy-Bake Oven for Christmas. But, confused by the pink and purple colors and the television ads that only featured girls using the toy, he became discouraged.

Pope, thirteen at the time, was indignant that her brother should think any less of himself as a boy who liked to cook. Naturally Pope turned to the Internet. She posted a video and written petition urging the CEO of Hasbro to change its marketing and packaging around the Easy-Bake Oven to make it appealing to boys as well as girls. Pope could hardly anticipate what came next: She received 45,000 signatures and a call from Hasbro, inviting her to their headquarters in Pawtucket, Rhode Island to show her their new unisex designs. – https://www.ted.com/speakers/mckenna_pope

“Boys” Easy Bake Oven


“When it comes to buying gifts for children, everything is color-coded: Rigid boundaries segregate brawny blue action figures from pretty pink princesses, and most assume that this is how it’s always been. But in fact, the princess role that’s ubiquitous in girls’ toys today was exceedingly rare prior to the 1990s—and the marketing of toys is more gendered now than even 50 years ago, when gender discrimination and sexism were the norm.” – https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/12/toys-are-more-divided-by-gender-now-than-they-were-50-years-ago/383556/


“How toys are labelled and displayed affects consumers’ buying habits. Many people feel uncomfortable buying a boy a pink toy or a girl a toy labelled as ‘for boys’.” – It is no wonder that many toy manufacturers shy away from challenging stereotypes – it may affect their profits.” –http://lettoysbetoys.org.uk/why-it-matters/


“Over the past few years, people across the world have begun questioning this culture. In the US, for instance, a high-school student called Antonia Ayres-Brown wrote this week about a campaign she has pursued since 2008, when she was 11, to stop McDonald’s handing out their Happy Meal toys on the basis of gender. She recently received a letter from the company’s chief diversity officer, stating: “It is McDonald’s intention and goal that each customer who desires a Happy Meal toy be provided the toy of his or her choice, without any classification of the toy as a ‘boy’ or ‘girl’ toy.”

In Durham, UK, Tricia Lowther has been working equally hard. Her six-year-old daughter, Marianne, loved the Pixar film Cars when she first saw it, and in the supermarket one day, when Lowther was buying juice cartons, “it was a choice between cars and princesses, and I got her the Cars ones, sure she’d like them”. Instead, Marianne hid the cartons. When Lowther asked what was the matter, the answer was: “It’s boyish.” “I said: ‘But you like cars, don’t you?’ And she said: ‘I do, but I don’t want anyone to know.'” – https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/apr/22/gendered-toys-stereotypes-boy-girl-segregation-equality

I decided to take Ninja Turtle’s Nunchucks, firmly aimed at boys, and aim them at girls.

Barbie Nunchucks

Although I think the above advert would work it does reinforce stereotypes. It was something I questioned myself, is it worth reinforcing one stereotype to break another? Should it be a more neutral advert? My thoughts are that if this was a real product then in order to get girls to play with a boys toy reinforcing certain stereotypes might be the only choice. Children have been conditioned to associate pink with girls toys. If only one manufacturer decided to break the mould then there would be lots of other toys all conforming to the current stereotypes thus making it harder to persuade girls (in this case) to play with a boys toy. Having a gender neutral ad may not persuade a child that a once one-gender-only toy is now to be played with by everyone.

Essay Proposal

Does Toy Advertising Reinforce Gender Stereotypes in Children?


Before having children I paid little attention to how children’s toys are marketed. I didn’t notice just how divided the toys and clothes sections are in most stores. And it made me wonder why. Are girls predisposition to like princesses and pink? Do boys only like construction toys and cars because this is something inherit within them or does advertising reinforce society’s gender stereotypes? Children may be restricted in their play choices due to advertisers reinforcing gender stereotypes and subsequently limiting their future life-choices.


This study will help me understand how advertising impacts children. It will help me understand whether or not advertising affects children’s perception of gender. Do children have preferences for certain colours and toys or is the preference conjured by advertising? Should children have a preference is this heightened and reinforced by advertising beyond their biological preference?

Aims and Objectives:

–Does the language use in adverts aimed towards children reflect gender stereotypes?
–Does the behaviour used in adverts aimed towards children reflect gender stereotypes?
–Does advertising affect how children choose toys which they believe are appropriate to their own gender?
–Does a child’s developing brain increase the impact gendered stereotyped advertising has?
–Does the increased screen time, due to technological changes (the invention of the Internet, Smartphones, Tablets), increase the impact of gender stereotypical advertising?
–Research how toy advertising has changed it’s depictions of gender over time.
–Are children born with gender preferences? Do girls prefer dolls and pink and boys blue and cars for example?
–How does imagery and body language reinforce gender stereotypes?
Research marketing techniques and promotional design aspects aimed at children.

Development of Theoretical Ideas/Practitioners and Theorists/Primary Sources:
Using a range of sources I will evaluate the impact that advertising has on children. I will evaluate research which includes statistics on children’s advertising and the gender stereotypes contained within these advertisements.

Looking at Piaget’s theory of cognitive development will help me understand what impact advertising has on a child’s brain. And how advertising may have more influence on a child’s developing brain.

Development of Theoretical Ideas/Practitioners and Theorists/Primary Sources:

Using a range of sources I will evaluate the impact that advertising has on children. I will evaluate research which includes statics on children’s advertising and the gender stereotypes contained within these advertisements.

Looking at Piaget’s theory of cognitive development will help me understand what impact advertising has on a child’s brain. And how advertising may have more influence on a child’s developing brain.

Research Material/Reading List:

Children and Television – A Global Perspective, Dafna Lemish

http://lettoysbetoys.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/LetToysBeToys-Advertising-Report-Dec15.pdf – Who gets to play? What do toy ads on UK TV tell children about boys’ and girls’ play?

https://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/handle/2027.42/45638/11199_2005_Article_1195.pdf – The Effects of Commercials on Children’s Perceptions of Gender Appropriate Toy Use

https://journals.tdl.org/jrwg/index.php/jrwg/article/view/24 – The Language of Toys: Gendered Language in Toy Advertisements

Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices (Culture, Media and Identities series) – Stuart Hall

http://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(07)01559-X – Biological components of sex differences in color preference

https://www.asa.org.uk/asset/2DF6E028-9C47-4944-850D00DAC5ECB45B.C3A4D948-B739-4AE4-9F17CA2110264347/ Depictions, Perceptions and Harm, A report on gender stereotypes in advertising

https://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2011/may/09/pink-toys-girls-passive-princesses – Are pink toys turning girls into passive princesses?

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/12/toys-are-more-divided-by-gender-now-than-they-were-50-years-ago/383556/?single_page=true – Toys Are More Divided by Gender Now Than They Were 50 Years Ago