Visual Communication - Bachelors
Ambivalence Learning Tools focuses on creating engaging learning tools for children. Using an array of tactile and interactive tools, children learn about emotions, how to identify and articulate them, and strategies to cope under the guidance of teachers, parents and therapists. The project's ultimate goal is to empower children to express their emotions effectively and comfortably as they grow.
The emotion characters were designed with simplicity and playfulness in mind. Character design focused on using shape, colour and line to create representations of the essence of each emotion. Associating a character with each emotion makes them feel tangible and manageable and not just abstract concepts with often similar facial expressions. Children are able to imagine associated characteristics with each emotion making it easier for them to recognise the emotion within themselves. Each emotion falls under one of six categories: love, joy, surprise, sadness, anger and fear.
Ambivalence emotion cards are designed to be use as conversation starters. There is no one right way to use them making them easily tailorable to the child. A child could be prompted to sort the cards into ‘always feel’, ‘sometimes feel’ and ‘never feel’. This is a great way to help them come up with effective coping mechanisms depending on how they feel emotions. To make the task less daunting, the child could identify three emotions they struggle with followed by a brainstorm on strategies to deal with them. The cards even lend themselves perfectly to quiet individual reflection once the child gets the hang of them.
Ambivalence activity booklets are designed with two different goals in mind. ‘For when I feel stuck’ prompts children to think of things that make them feel positive emotions and ways in which to deal with difficult emotions. As they complete it, they will have a library of strategies and tactics to help bring them out of a sticky emotion. ‘For when I feel a lot’ has a variety of activities that help children understand what they are feeling. They learn about what it means to feel two emotions at once, where they feel certain emotions in their bodies and techniques to visualise emotions so they feel more manageable. The activities take a learning by doing approach, allowing them to personalise the booklet to create their own visual journal.
The Ambivalence app is designed to be a library of coping strategies for children to refer to. After selecting the emotion, the child is prompted to reflect on the intensity of the emotion and different strategies are suggested for each intensity. The app can be used when first introducing coping mechanisms to a child to get them to start thinking of what works for them (which is when the cards and booklets can come into play).
Caitlin Turner is an emerging visual communication designer. She is passionate about exploring ways in which she can apply her design skills in other fields to create products and systems that help others. She enjoys designing and illustrating for children as well as exploring data visualisation as a method of making complex topics and issues accessible.