Learning Journey DfEE guides

As part of its drive to up standards of education in schools this year, the DfEE has produced Learning Journey guides for parents explaining the National Curriculum and, more importantly, how they can stimulate their children at home.

Consultancy: Atelier Works

Client: DfEE

Designers: Quentin Newark, Glenn Howard

As part of its drive to up standards of education in schools this year, the DfEE has produced Learning Journey guides for parents explaining the National Curriculum and, more importantly, how they can stimulate their children at home. To grab parents’ interest, these had to be accessible and unintimidating. The stock used – a 110gsm Crown Offset paper – projects an unaffected air, says Quentin Newark, founder of Atelier Works. ‘The guides had to be the antithesis of stuffy and “governmental”, otherwise the DfEE would never get through to parents,’ he says.

Cheerful Quentin Blake illustrations and a lively typeface – Triplex – add to this user-friendly effect. Guinea pig parents felt intimidated by the size of the original prototype, so Atelier Works split the guide into three separate booklets by age group. As uncoated paper is often bulkier, this approach worked well on both counts. The final paper used was a light, 115gsm stock. The guides are designed as reference material for parents to keep for at least a year, or until the National Curriculum is next revised, so a sturdy coated paper cover is used to lengthen their shelf life. Inside, the uncoated stock lets parents scribble notes more easily, and has no show-through.

Perhaps unusually, the DfEE left all the creative decisions to Atelier. ‘We trusted Quentin’s final choice of stock, which was based on his gut instinct as an experienced designer,’ says a DfEE spokeswoman. Newark believes uncoated paper has lost its inferior stigma, thanks in part to smooth uncoated styles from the US, such as Monadnock from the VIP Company. ‘Designers love working with uncoated paper, but corporate clients often balk at the suggestion. For them, it’s like turning up to a meeting without a tie.’

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