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Designing for Kids

Designing for Kids

As she was about to graduate and end her longtime affiliation with a local nonprofit, Robin Hayashi 13 GD created an inspired parting gift for the Providence Children’s Museum. Called Image & Illusion, her bright, dynamic window box display is on view through June along the museum’s atrium walkway.

“I consider play, experimentation and surprise integral to the creative process,” says Hayashi, “and I’m really interested in working with children.” Given her affinity for kids, she jumped on the opportunity to work at the museum in 2010 as part of RISD’s work study program and was soon hooked on the boundless creative energy of its visitors and staff. “There are a bunch of RISD alumni there,” she says, “and it’s a really great community.”

In late 2011, Hayashi began doubling as an intern with staff graphic designer Valerie Haggerty Silva 83 IL. “Working at the museum influenced my values as a person and also my graphic design work,” she says. “And I have always had a special place in my heart for typography and color.”

The idea for her new piece came from ThinkSpace, another dynamic exhibit Hayashi worked on last year for children ranging in age from four to 10. “It’s all about spatial thinking,” she explains. “The exhibit features a lenticular wall that lets you see different images depending on which way you look at it.”

For Image & Illusion, Hayashi used “the simple magic” of folded paper to create a similar effect, so that viewers see three different images of the same animal as they pass by each of the 17 boxes in the display. “Animals work really well with kids,” the designer points out. “Some kids just run by, but once they notice what's going on they get interested in the next box.” She created dynamic graphics and selected fun photographs showing three different aspects of each animal featured – from familiar farm animals to spectacular sea creatures. “I wanted to show that different arrangements of shape and color can communicate the same thing,” she explains. “A photograph of five pigs in a barn, a simple pink pig nose and the outline of a pig’s shape all say ‘PIG!’”

Earlier this month Hayashi had a hard time leaving the tightknit community at the Providence Children’s Museum, but she’s excited to be moving to New York in July to work at Pearlfisher, a studio that specializes in branding and packaging. “It will be a good starting point for my career,” says the ambitious designer, who looks forward to putting the “playful process” she developed at RISD and at the museum to work in a new setting.

“Creating space for experimentation and surprise is crucial,” she says, “especially during this time when many things are unknown for myself and my fellow graduates. Believing that the unknown creates opportunities for growth and discovery can be both reassuring and exciting.”

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