When discussing basic design with the students of first year, I often experimented a lot by changing and developing new exercises to keep the mood alive in classroom. Discussions on past experiences are very common in any basic design sessions, to keep the content simple and easy to understand its better to place the examples from daily life in discussions. Following is one of the exercises I experimented with the students.

The students are asked to draw a rose in just 10 seconds and color it ‘appropriately’.

The result: most of the students only draw red (or pink) coloured roses.

And I try to find it from students themselves on why this happened. Haven’t you ever seen yellow rose? or white rose? Red rose or pink rose has been the common experience and is widely seen as compared to any other colour. In the short duration of 10 seconds, students would do the things spontaneously rather than trying to apply any external thought.

Second exercise is a short story which I generally tell to students and ask one question at the end, here it goes:

There lived a lady with about two years old kid in a small house little away from the crowded city. In the absence of lady, her full time maid would look after the baby. One fine day her maid did not turn up and it was little difficult for lady to leave the child alone at home and go out. Alternatively,  she could have taken child along, but somehow she didn’t want to do so. She decided to go in the afternoon when child sleeps for almost two hours, and complete some necessary shopping and be back within two hours.

And in the afternoon lady quietly left the house after she covered her sleeping baby with a shawl. She rushed for the shopping, but  while returning she got stuck up in the crowd.  She  with some difficulty managed to reach her colony in almost two hours and fifteen minutes if not exactly in two hours. She rushed to her home and opened the door hurriedly.

But The visual at home left her eyes wide open and herself in shocked mode. She could not resist screaming after what she saw inside. She saw her baby had fallen from the bed and crying loudly, all over baby’s body was red colour and baby was holding something very sharp in her hand.

So guys, just quickly tell me, What do you think the reason must for which baby was crying? What was the red color and the sharp thing in her hand?

The spontaneous answers are generally:

Baby was holding a knife (or something similar, which she accidently might have pierced in her body and she was crying. So the red colour on her body might be blood and nothing else.

Anyway, answers do not matter here. What matters here is that students strongly associated red with blood, Sharp with Knife and crying with pain.

And we all associate colours, forms and emotions with something or other.

What do you feel of these exercises? have suggestions and feedback to make?