Family Fun – Create a Design Brief


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One of the lesser-known text types that is bound to raise its head throughout your child’s schooling, is the design brief. This is basically an outline of a design for either a product or a service. There will be several variations on exactly what is included in a design brief and exactly how it is organised, but we’re going to give you a basic version for you and your family to have a little fun with.

So, gather your family around (dinner time is always the perfect place to start) and have a conversation about the chores/jobs, situations or items around the house that annoy each of you.

For example, I get really annoyed when my family members put their socks into the wash, balled up. I am then usually the one who sorts the washing and has to lengthen up to 60 individual socks, just to get them ready to dry!

Another issue I have at home, is when the dishwasher is ready to go on, the drawers are packed, the tablet is in, but I forget to actually press the ‘on’ button and the next day the dishes are still dirty and getting pretty stinky!

I know these are totally first world problems, but they’re just a couple of my small bugbears.

So, you and the rest of your family members, need to start with a conversation about those sorts of things. Maybe your kids really hate making their beds, maybe you hate nagging them, maybe the grown-ups in the family are sick of brainstorming dinner ideas, or sick of running out of bread – whatever it is, chat about it.

Once you have had a good, cathartic chat, each of you needs to write down 1 or 2 (or 3 or 4) of the issues you have. When everyone has written down their problems, place them all in a bowl or hat and pass them around the table. Everyone lucky dips a problem (you can decide whether or not it’s okay for someone to get their own).

When all family members have a ‘problem’ you can all get started on your design. Your task is to design a product or a service to solve the problem you have lucky-dipped. So, if I use the example of the balled up socks, from earlier, someone who lucky-dipped that would design either a product or a service that would solve that problem in my life – maybe a machine that removes the socks from my family members’ feet, maybe a machine that detects a balled up sock when it is placed in the laundry basket and beeps to let the thrower know they must attend to the terrible sock ball, or maybe a service, where someone is employed to straighten out the offensive sock balls. Whoever lucky-dipped my problem, must be the one to brainstorm the solution.

No one in the family has to actually build or create the design, they just need to fill in each part of the design brief, provided here:

 Design brief

For younger family members, a simple labelled drawing of their design would be fine.

When you have all had time to plan and complete the brief, have another family meeting where you share your ideas and your designs.

What a fun way to air your grievances, engage imaginations and introduce a new text type.


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