The Storybook Lab: Semester One

Visual Communication Design, Professional Diploma Programme
Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology

Semester One, 2012–2013


In India there is a need for simple and engaging reading material that can help children who go to government and budget-private schools learn to read. At present, there is limited access to good quality storybooks with original and relevant content. 

Run by Krupa Thimmaiah and me, the Storybook Lab at Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology aimed to re-evaluate stereotypical notions of creating content for children – to design and publish a collection of well-crafted storybooks and make the experience of reading enjoyable, meaningful and inexpensive. Our objectives were: 

• Create content that draws from the real lives of Indian children and is sensitive towards their needs

• Design simple and engaging stories that encourage a reading habit 

• Consider the wider possibilities for book mining and learning activities

• Develop original and contemporary Indian styles of illustration

• Deliver affordable books that can be translated into  multiple Indian languages

This lab involved eighteen 2nd, 3rd and 4th year Visual Communication Design students with skills in research, storytelling, illustration and book design. The stories they developed were themed around growing up and issues of change that take place in the personal lives of government school children today. 

Through field research, students were required to understand the value of storybooks as well as the lives of children in this context – reading skills, learning needs, personal issues and the identities of stakeholders were all important. Students then developed concept notes and used a rigorous design methodology; to plan, develop, iterate and evaluate their storybooks. It is intended that the final books will be licensed and distributed through Indian publishing houses and NGO’s.


Collating research and presenting insights

Discussing and deconstructing storybooks

Reading with author and illustrator Hervé Tullet

Workshop with author and illustrator Hervé Tullet

Medium experimentation

Character development

Developing layouts and grids for dummy books

Annu’s New Friend - Zoheb A. Qazi

Annu’s New Friend - Zoheb A. Qazi

Faizoo’s Dream - Azra Sadr

Faizoo’s Dream - Azra Sadr

What If? - Hari Kumar Nair

Follow That Crow! - krishna Bala Shenoi

Follow That Crow! - krishna Bala Shenoi

Neelu’s Great Escape - Ananya Singh

Neelu’s Great Escape - Ananya Singh

Friends? - Juhi Agarwal

Final government school visit - sharing and evaluating storybooks

Students: Aaniya Asrani, Albert N. Grasious, Ananya Singh, Azra Sadr, Devika Dutt, Hari Kumar Nair, Juhi Agarwal, Koyal Raheja, Krishna Shenoi, Mariya Madraswala, Meghna Jaswal, Milli Eugine, Shreyansh Agarwal, Shrujana Shridhar, Sreeja Basu, Taarika Ravi John, Zoheb A. Qazi, Zubin Gomes 


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