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What we designed/created during Design Lab

Let's organize our achievements, shall we?

So during the last 3 months, the students in Design Lab have worked on open-source projects. We had to find a problem in our own lives or environments (Why are things the way they are?), and then design creative solutions to them (How can we make them better?)

* I actually made calligraphic designs for the first phrase, and when the class chooses which design they like best I'm going to make the second phrase - and they're going to be final touches on our redesigned classroom (which looks awesome)!

Anyway! Rachel, Priya, and I decided to work on COMMotion, with the Winter Showcase as a final product.

The Winter Showcase happened - and was a major success - but we also had a lot of other 'products' that we created along the way.

Here are some of them:

  • COMMotion and Winter Showcase logos

Rachel made 33 drafts of this logo, all with different colors and textures, and these are the 4 that made the cut. I do want to get a version that's more purple/violet, since the pink is a bit too girly.

  • Showcase set

For the set, we built four standing flats that were set up to hide the backstage area, and 4 platforms that we moved in different configurations during the show. The flats were the only things that needed to be built, and then they - and the four platforms - had to be painted. That was all done during one Wednesday rehearsal. Well... sort of. We had the crew and construction people paint just base coats onto everything. Then Rachel and I, along with Nina, Ricky, Paul, my mother, and a few volunteers (and sometimes RJ) stayed after school for an entire week, most days until 7 or 8 pm, to finish them.

The set turned out wonderfully, if I do say so myself.


Part of the set was also the 8 huge snowflakes that Rachel, RJ, Nina, and I cut out and painted. That alone took us at least two weeks, working during Rachel's study hall and Design Lab.

  • Design Lab Final Presentation

Last Wednesday (aka Dress Rehearsal for the showcase) was our final presentation day, where we showed everyone what we'd done with our projects.

Rachel was feeling the nerves, too, and considering that this was her first show, she handled it fabulously!

Continuing on...

  • Showcase Flyer

This was much easier to do than I expected, all thanks to Google. For the showcase flyer, I quickly found an online customizable template website (I used and designed to my heart's content.

  • Program/Playbill

This took me a while to figure out.

The first thing I did was grab all of the old programs I keep in my room (from shows I've been in and gone to see) and used them as references. Then I put in all the acts and numbers, added some descriptions about the showcase and COMMotion, and voila!

One HUGE problem we had with the programs was actually printing them and putting them together. The program design itself was not finished until 3:15 pm, the day of the Showcase. Funny thing is, the library closed at 3:15 pm.

Rachel and I had stayed after school, running to the library to edit and fix the programs.

By the time we finished designing them, we had come up with an elaborate plan to print them. A little background: our school monitors how much paper each student uses, so we have to 'log in' to the printer before we use it. It's a tedious process, but it also prevented me and Rachel from printing 200 pieces of paper each. We got a bunch of our crew members and random friends into the library with us, and started printing in a mad rush.

And in our hurry, we didn't realize that we had printed the programs wrong.

It had taken a heck of a lot of time to figure out which page went where, how the programs would be folded, etc, but we thought everything was o-ki-zay.

We printed about 10 programs each, meaning 40 pages per person.

Only when we went to fold them did we realize our mistake: we hadn't told the printer to flip each page before printing double-sided!

So we now had about 50 programs that had upside-down pages in them.

We had to improvise.

I came up with the idea of cutting each page in half and having the programs open vertically (like a notepad) instead of horizontally (like a book). AND IT WORKED! Phew.

  • Tickets

I designed tickets (once again via an online template generator), but we ended up scrapping the idea because it would take too long to print them all out on cardstock and cut them out.

We used a roll of generic tickets instead, saving a LOT of time and effort.

  • Script and Crew Notes

Part of my job as director was to take all the acts and numbers and put them in order. I ended up creating a narrative thread that connected each act, centered around two main themes: "art as a means of communication" and "kids can do great things".

This took me a heck of a long time to write up and complete. I already had all the ideas and knew what I wanted to include in the show, but I was at a loss when I thought about how exactly to do it all.

So I broke it up into smaller pieces.

I wrote down the main idea of all the acts, and then brainstormed something to introduce each act. After that, it was easier for me to connect my ideas to each poem or song, because I knew what message I was trying to send.

Then Rachel and I set out to write up crew instructions.

We needed to have general guidelines for the crew - lights, sound, and stage.

We drew figures for the set, made charts for lighting cues, etc.

All of this would allow us to get through the dress/tech rehearsal smoothly and ensure that the entire crew knew what was going on at all times during the show.

Hm... what else?

  • Ah! The videos!

We got some awesome videos of most of the poems and some of the songs (we weren't able to film the group song (Song of Purple Summer, unfortunately).

Above are Nina and Brandon, singing/playing Nina's original song, "Vagabond".

We're currently working on editing, and RJ made an AMAZING animated sequence, with the COMMotion logo and all of our contact info.

These videos will be uploaded to the COMMotion youtube channel and spread around all our social medias. Yay!

Alrighty, that's all for now..... the Design Lab class has ended its semester long run, and though I'm really going to miss my little #upsince3 #bread family, it's time to focus on my Independent Study with Sir Garreth Heidt.

I'll keep you posted!

~ Irina

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