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. 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.

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:


Enquiry About Sheffield Hallam PGCE

Having a think about things and I am concerned that a Graphic Design degree would not be considered relevant for a PGCE in Early Years and Primary Education. Should have thought about this sooner but it just hadn’t occurred to me. I have sent an email enquiry to Sheffield Hallam and await a response.

Had this response, so all is good!:

“Dear Ayshea

Thank you for contacting us.

All of the information regarding the PGCE Early Years and Primary Education (3-7) with QTS course can be found here.

There is no specific degree subject requirement for this course. As long as the course you are studying is equivalent to a UK degree grade 2.2 or above, it will be considered.

The entry requirements for this course are typically 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)

I hope this information has been useful. Please don’t hesitate to contact us again if you have any further questions.

Kind regards

Sheffield Hallam University”

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.

Professional Development – Teaching

I was chatting with David, one of the course lecturers, about my Professional Development. I wasn’t really sure where to go with this but he advised that I could research into how to become a teacher and what courses are available. This all sounded good until I re-read the “Module Descriptor” in particular Section 2 and Section 4. Prof dev level 6 – in short my development needs to relate to design, media or photography. Maybe I should see if I could help out in one of the design classes, to help with teaching experience and also tick the box of being related to creative fields? I will investigate Teaching more, even if it does not count towards my professional development.

Might consider entering some design competitions too.

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