The Three Little Pigs



This article discusses an educational brief that covers graphic illustration, storytelling, and book design. The project was created by the authors for the discipline Theory of Design and Communication in the first year of a degree course in Design and Multimedia at the University of Coimbra, Por- tugal. It uses fairy tales as the basis for an exercise on the basic elements of visual communication. The brief requires the students to follow strict rules which limit them to using a graphic language consisting only of simple geo- metric forms, a limited palette of colours, and a specific number of pages. Accordingly, there are three main theoretical topics covered by the article: the relevance of ‘design basics’ for contemporary design education, which is an idea with roots in Bauhaus pedagogy, and as such is open to some debate; the function and purpose of restrictions in design, which is consid- ered in relation both to ‘real world’ design problems and to creative work in general; and the choice of fairy tales as subject matter, which, it is argued, lend themselves particularly well to abstract problems due to their inherent simplicity, intelligibility, and familiarity. The student work that resulted from the brief is then described and compared in order to draw attention to points of interest that the project raised, and to show how the limited nature of the brief facilitated the apprehension of specific problems, thus guiding the students in the discovery of general principles of visual communication.


Graphic illustration, Design basics, Narrative structure, Pedagogy, Constraints, Fairytales


Graphic Design Basic Principles


Confia 2019 – 7th International Conference on Illustration and Animation, June 2019

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