Canon x Ideas Foundation

A storytelling toolkit...

What is creativity for? When you’re at school, unless you know people in the creative industry, you’re likely to get a very limited view of how ideas join up with – well – everything else. You might not even realise that you’re creative.

Ideas Foundation, a charity rooted in adland, has brilliant ways of opening eyes and minds to creative careers. It uses creativity as an exciting way to engage students with academic subjects. And it does those things in collaboration with commercial and arts partners.

With Canon’s Young People Programme, Ideas Foundation has brought into schools professional photographers, and professional kit that most students have never had the chance to handle before, to tell stories.

I’ve been brought in to design a set of resources. Underpinning those has been design thinking work, looking at how photography intersects with the curriculum and at the surprisingly huge array of careers that involve images. It’s been fascinating breaking down the ways in which people who work with stories look at images and think about them, at the questions that are asked of a brief and setting out some of the technical basics.

This builds on work by Ideas Foundation’s Chief Executive Heather MacRae with teaching professionals including Kulvinder Kaur Johal. Going beyond current written information, this work adds scope to develop critical thinking and to use approaches such as slow looking and enquiry-based learning.

Shaping the written content as well as the design, bringing in writer Fiona Thompson to create a school-facing equivalent of Canon’s house style and with support from fellow designer Amanda Hayward on implementation, the result has been a kit of artwork that can be used on screen, translated and printed locally on an international scale for Canon’s Young People Programme in countries across the globe. The resources are usable as PDF and short-run digital print and the project has included looking at the environmental spec of print and packaging.

As a designer and a massive nerd, I’ve been interested for a long time in the intersection between creativity and crunchy subjects. So it’s been a satisfying thing to help make those connections visible.

Find out more about Ideas Foundation’s workshops here.