Democracy in action

In my design classes we’ve been working on making posters for our classroom walls. Each poster gives a visual representation of the 4 main design principles as outlined on “The Non-Designer’s Design Book” by Robin Williams.

Proximity Poster
Alignment Poster
Repetition Poster
Contrast Poster

Back-to-School night is next Tuesday, so I recruited my students to select the best posters to display on the wall. I cut up star-sticker sheets into groups of three stickers. I have a medium rectangle table I can set up for special projects like this vote we did today. I let the students spread the posters out on the table to sift through.

We voted on the first three posters today (we’re still wrapping up the fourth.) Each student got three stickers for each round of voting, totaling nine votes per student. I had each period vote only on the posters for the other two design periods, not their own. I did this to discourage favoritism (and let kids avoid hurting each other’s feelings by not voting for someone standing right next to them.)

Here are the voting guidelines I put on the board:


  • Select your fave 3 posters by affixing a star to the backs.
  • Vote according to the quality of the design.

Do Not:

  • Affix more than 1 of your stickers to the same poster.
  • Vote according to the name of the designer.
  • Keep the stickers for yourself.
  • Let the posters fall to the floor or get crumpled.

The vote went exceedingly well. The students chose want they want in the room without my input. I love their choices, too, now that I’ve counted the star-votes. A few of students are really “stellar”, having received more than 30 votes across all three posters. One young lady got 65 in total. Just amazing.

Update 9/7/08
The top ten posters for each principle are now viewable in the gallery.

By Dawn Pedersen

Science advocate, web designer, educator, artist, and mommy.

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