Everyone can design – even school pupils are great designers, concludes Ianus Keller, lecturer in the faculty of Industrial Design Engineering at TU Delft. In collaboration with 17 primary schools in the future municipality of Altena, he encouraged almost 700 pupils from years 3 and 4 to think about the design of their school bag. For this challenge the children got into the mindset of real designers; they thought about what looks good, but also about how they use their bag and the kinds of things that need to fit in it. Based on these design ideas, IDE students set about making a number of prototypes, which are now being exhibited at De Bibliotheek Cultuurpunt Altena in Woudrichem. On 31 May pupils from Ravelijn primary school will visit the exhibition.

Dream bags 
The pupils spent several hours working on their design (three sessions spread across two weeks). At the first session they watched an instructional video in which Ianus Keller explained that everything we use in our everyday life is designed, including school bags. Then he asked the pupils to keep track of how they use their schoolbag in a workbook. After two weeks they made a collage about what their dream bag would look like. The pupils presented their ideal bag to the designers during interviews. 

The workbooks, collages and interviews gave the first-year IDE Master’s students new insights into all the boxes that the ideal school bag has to tick. The pupils’ ideas were not directly translated into an identical prototype, but were used as a starting point for the students’ design process. For example, some pupils mentioned that they wanted to play with their bag, which gave students the idea of making a bag that looks like a cape – the resulting prototype looks like one of the sketches drawn by the pupils. Other pupils came up with a bag design that looks like a monster’s head. Two of the prototypes are a play on that idea; you open one of the bags by opening the monster’s mouth.

A selection of prototypes are being exhibited alongside the pupils’ collages and workbooks in De Bibliotheek Cultuurpunt Altena in Woudrichem.

More information
The schools received the following information about the project: http://forinspirationonly.com/about/schooltas/
More photos: https://photos.app.goo.gl/C70a8zbvinR699Os2

For more information, please contact Karen Collet, TU Delft media relations officer, tel. +31 15 2785408, email: K.Collet@tudelft.nl, or Ianus Keller, lecturer in the faculty of Industrial Design Engineering at TU Delft, tel. +31 6 22512224, email: A.I.Keller@tudelft.nl