Second only to Halloween, opening our doors to groups of eager high schoolers is our favorite day around here. This year we hosted 9 students, all friends and family of GDG staffers, as part of the annual Take Our Kids to Work Day – Canada’s longest-running, highest-profile career exploration event.

During the 4-hour session, students got first-hand knowledge of branding, its role in packaging, and the experience of taking a brief and designing against it. Leading the day’s activities by mentoring each student through their conceptual thinking was Bridgemark Design Director, Jason DaSilva and Davis Designer, Emily Wiebe.

The agenda was structured to re-create a hyper-abbreviated design project lifecycle. Working within their own breakout groups, each student was tasked with designing, sketching, colorizing, and presenting their work to the larger group.

“It’s important to choose a real brand and product that is age appropriate and that the kids are familiar with,” says DaSilva. “That sense of familiarity gives them the comfort and freedom to get creative while exercising critical thinking and engaging their imaginations. As a seasoned designer, it’s always so fascinating to see how younger minds individually interpret the same information.”

Upon completion, each unique creation is shared digitally with all GDG staffers for evaluation against the brief. While no winner is officially declared, this step familiarizes the young designers-for-a-day with the process of concept selection and reinforces the idea of constructive competition within a professional context. The day is meant to inform, engage, and educate each participant while being fun and interactive. Thanks to some colorfully creative thinking and a whole lot of smiles, we think it’s safe to say that everyone understood the assignment.