There were many things to consider with the kit creation, including contents, size, cost, and encouraging engagement.
Probe Kit Contents
There were a number of things to consider when deciding on the contents of the probe kit from what would be engaging to children, to cost and size.
Probe Kit Research Concept
Partially inspired by Noah (15 years) from Coloured Fish Products who designs t-shirts to raise awareness of Dyslexia and communicate his lived experiences (Coloured Fish Products, 2020), I decided a t-shirt based activity could be ideal for the probe kit as it is arguable a more interesting medium than pen and paper (these kids are not typical so why have them do a typical activity). Plus, as a t-shirt can be worn, it pulls on the effects that fashion, textile and graphic design can have on the world. It allows for multiple design opportunities, such as facilitating personal expression, empowerment and bringing awareness to 2e if worn, or displayed etc. Asking the children to design their own t-shirts through a guided research-based project will allow them to have a functional piece of design to own and keep for themselves.
Items ordered from Amazon (16/02/2022)
- Tie Dye Kit, 26 Colors Art Fabric Textile – £9.99
- 5x Brown Cardboard Square Box – £4.75
- Metallic Marker Pens set of 5 – £4.00
- Neon Premium Fabric Paints 6x25mL – £5.75
- TransOurDream Tru-Heat Transfer Paper Inkjet (10 Sheets) – £3.99
- Fruit of the Loom Childrens T Shirt White Size 9-11 – £2.89
- Pack of 8 Quality Colored Fabric Markers T Shirt Pens – £4.99
Audio Cards – 02/03/2022 – I investigated purchasing audio cards for the instructions but these were costly and most of the options only recorded up to 30 seconds of sound. I decided not to proceed down this idea further – but it could be revisited another time.
Developing the kit’s instructions
The kit instructions are arguably one of the most important aspects of the probe kit. The questions posed need to be probing but not too directive, allowing for the children’s creativity. They should also be easily understood by a wide range of age groups.
Instruction File Versions (Development)
Initial Instructions V1 – 07/03/2022
Instruction & Card Files V2 – 08/03/2022 – Added armband/defence concept to Activity Guide, Created overall instructions with parent notes and added Designer Statement Cards
Kit Contents Testing
To finalize the kit contents, I tested the purchased supplies for quality, usability and suitability.
Additional Items purchased from The Range Edinburgh (08/03/2022)
- Tie Dye Creations Kit – £2.80
- Crystal Sticker ‘E’- £0.99
- Crystal Sticker ‘2’ – £0.99
- Glow Pens – £1.50
- Textile Markers (set of 20) – £7.99
I purchased an alternate for the tye-dye bottles but they were also too large to fit into the Royal Mail’s Large Letter dimensions. I thought again about what benefit having this in the kit would have and while it was a nice thought to give the children flexibility over a simple white t-shirt, it was ultimately decided the dye offered little benefit considering the difficulty I was having due to its size. I also thought about some of the issues the parents and children would have in using the tye-dye such as mess and inability to get the desired result and decided it was not going to be beneficial. I have used similar kits in previous personal projects, so did not need to test these to make that judgement.
The rest of the purchased products I tested in full. See the final list of contents below.
When considering how the contents of the kit could be contained and transported, a sturdy box-style packaging would be more suitable than a bag type of shipping method. This would better ensure the contents arrive safely. The cost of shipping is also an important factor in the feasibility of this project. Based on Royal Mail guides, the two most suitable options would be either a Large Letter size kit or a Small Parcel size (with Large Letter being the most economical option and would allow the kit to be posted through a letterbox meaning someone doesn’t need to be home to receive it).
Items ordered from Amazon (23/02/2022)
- 10x White C4 A4 size letter strong cardboard shipping box – £9.45
Box Design Exploration
Buying readily available shipping boxes could be a cost-effective and simple way to ship the kits, but how do we make these kits something children would be interested in opening?
After exploring initial box options, I also decided to explore graphic elements that could enhance the kit design and make it desirable to children.
I started with a single screen print and explored different colour techniques. My initial ideas on 08/03/2022 included multiple colours for the triangles (to match the poster originally designed to attract participants). However, it costs approx £3.50 to create a screen and each colour requires its own screen. The original ideas would have required 4 screens for the main box only. I attempted to screen print the triangles onto one of the box flaps without creating a special screen for it, but the ink was very unpredictable. This means I needed to create another screen for the flap.
Creating The Final Kits For Posting
In the end I decided to go with the 3 primary colours of red blue and yellow and a total of 3 screens to create my final boxes. I set the lazer machine to cut out six boxes and set up scrap pieces of cardboard to help me align the screen in the same place for each box and screen printed each colour one at a time.
Probe Kit Contents – Final List (Date)
- Crystal Sticker ‘2’ – £0.99
- Crystal Sticker ‘E’ – £0.99
- Glow Pen – £1.50/3
- Textile Markers – £
- Metallic Marker Pens – £4.00 /2 = £2.00
- Neon Premium Fabric Paints – £5.75 /3 =
- TransOurDream Tru-Heat Transfer Paper Inkjet – £3.99/10 =
- Fruit of the Loom Children’s T Shirt White – £2.89
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Coloured Fish Products, 2020. [Online]
Available at: https://www.facebook.com/colouredfishproducts/
[Accessed 13 12 2020].