Design Thinking Part 2 – The Library Commons Mural Project

The objective of using design thinking approaches to design and create artworks for a library learning commons is to create unique and engaging pieces that will enhance the space and provide users with a more enjoyable and stimulating learning experience. By using design thinking, we can create artworks tailored to its visitors’ specific needs and preferences, which can effectively communicate the library’s mission and values. By focusing on empathy, creativity, and collaboration, we can design aesthetically pleasing and functionally practical artworks to help make the library learning commons more vibrant and inspiring.

Each student has been assigned to a group and is responsible for nine sites within the library.

Site 1 – Maddie L., Jamie L., Julia C.

Creative Brief

The library is bland and calls for some spiffing up. The goal is to create new art for the walls of the library, staying true to the varying atmospheres. We must take into consideration the prior artwork already up, the neighbouring pieces around our artwork and the idea must be inclusive for everyone who uses the library. The visual should not be highly saturated so that it strains the eyes, and mustn’t be crowded so that it clusters the mind.

This project is meant for users of the Sacred Heart library and the library staff. The piece’s purpose is to, not only liven up the space, but to promote a quiet environment. Those who use the library for socializing require a piece of art that livens a mood, but those who require an environment to study cannot have a visual too distracting

When we started brainstorming our visuals were all over the place. However many elements the three of us had correlated and mixed well together. We all wanted something to do with cool tones and nature. These visuals would give the viewer a calming feeling and encourage a positive mindset. Some ideas of symbolism we had brainstormed are: Ladon and the Dragon of Colchis, creatures from Greek mythology, origami cranes, objects of nature such as trees and apples, and most importantly, flying books and pages. We took to the idea of depicting a silhouette of a person sitting under a giant fantasy tree with paper airplanes flying about, representing fleeting dreams.

We must encourage positive values such as creativity, curiosity, and leadership in our visuals. So for this project, we wanted something that reflected a peaceful atmosphere. We didn’t want anything too loud or noisy that would deter the audiences’ attention from their activities. We decided on nature-related elements for our theme because it felt organic and poetic. Our main idea was a tree on a mountain, overlooking a sea of clouds while the sun peeked over the horizon. A person is sitting underneath the tree and reading a book. The pages of the book are folding into origami cranes, which represent freedom and the sharing of stories. The tree, being situated on such high altitudes, represented perseverance. We decided on sunrise as the time of day, for sunrises are typically associated with new beginnings and new days. To decorate our illustration, we added a lovely landscape of mountains and clouds. In our brainstorming we had many paper related ideas. However, in the final we decided on having paper cranes flying out of a book.

During the creation stage of our mural, we split the project into three roles: background, tree, and other objects in the foreground including the silhouette and cranes. Each group member was responsible for a role. We each completed our own parts and then put together all the parts at the end. After a few weeks of sketching, drawing, rendering, and making some final adjustments, we finished our mural.

Site 2 – Jason B., Erin D., Joseph I., & Madison L.

Creative Brief

The goal of our mural project is to show to the students of Sacred Heart how important their creativity and imagination is and the impact it has on the projects you complete, problems you solve, and your future past the walls of Sacred Heart. This idea is displayed through the symbolism of the tree sprouting from the book. The book represents ourselves and our knowledge and things we’ve learned throughout our lives, with the tree symbolizing growth and a constant reaching to the sky for learning and further understanding. This project is meant to tailor to anyone of the Sacred Heart student body who frequently visits the library and can identify with having a passion for literature and information. It is meant to appeal and catch the attention of the largest demographic of students while narrowing down and focusing on the students who truly care about keeping their creative side alive and actively shaping their minds to be successful in the future to mold whichever pathway they choose to walk down. 

Our message to the students of Sacred Heart is to never allow your eagerness and hunger for more opportunities to fade away, be that through wasting away on social media, overstimulating your brain scrolling on TikTok or Instagram for hours on end or simply giving your passions up because you don’t believe that you can do anything. Books are not the only thing that can allow students to reach beyond their potential. Learning a new interest, doing well in the classes you love at school, and having a genuine passion for anything has become an essential part of the human experience and these aspects can be lost easily through the current climate of today’s society. 

The aesthetic our mural was trying to achieve was to have many colours and a lot of diversity within it. The aesthetic of the blossom tree can vary depending on the type of tree and the specific flowers it produces. Some examples include the cherry blossom tree, which is known for its pink and white flowers, and the peach blossom tree, which produces pink and white flowers. In general, the aesthetic of a blossom tree is often associated with beauty, renewal, and the arrival of spring. Additionally, in many cultures, blossom trees have symbolic meanings. For example, in Japan, cherry blossom trees symbolize the fleeting nature of life and the importance of cherishing the present moment. We all had very different experiences and artistic views on the mural, which had made it difficult to start off with, but in the end we all agreed on all different parts of our art skills and used them together to create this beautiful piece.

Site 3 – Ella B.

Site 4 – Karolina F., Rylee C., Vika G., Yiulia K.

Creative Brief

This project is meant to decorate the library and improve upon the current interior. Currently, in our library, we have many blank walls with no color or art. Our goal in this project is to fill up those spaces with interesting artwork that the target audience will enjoy for generations to come. Success will look like a completed artwork that fits our given space, fits the library, and will last a long time. This project is meant to create a warm welcoming library, something people who go to the library will enjoy but not be distracted by. The artwork will be timeless and last long. The people we interviewed said the purpose of people going to the library was to write, catch up on homework, have a pleasant environment, and enjoy the artworks currently displayed in the library. And what they said they wanted to see in the library was, wanted blank walls filled, positive themes like nature and social justice, different stories from different cultures, pleasant colors, and interesting shapes.

 The main message this project conveys is diversity, culture, and open-mindedness. The setting of this image is a library. We thought it fits well considering the artwork will be placed in a library. We chose to portray many different fairy tales and myths from different cultures and we also did more well-known fairy tales to create a sense of warmth and nostalgia. We also included books you can find in a library and one we read in class. We think this fits the needs and wants of the people we interviewed well because it has positive themes in nature, different stories from different cultures, and interesting colors and shapes. 

The overall aesthetic we want to create with this artwork is dark academia, fantasy, and antique. We wanted something fantasy but not too happy like a unicorn so we used darker colors for the color scheme as well as picking themes that have a double side to them like Alice in wonderland or folklore. And for the overall tone, it will be warm, calm, and a little nostalgic. Our inspirations are Mythical creatures from different cultures, stories from around the world, classic fairy tales, and nature. Our creative process was a little messy. There were lots of disagreements before coming to a conclusion but we really only came up with something after interviewing people at the library. We knew we wanted something related to fairy tales or myths and legends so we decided on a way to include both, so we did falling books so we could include many different stories. I think one of our biggest artistic differences is that some of our group aren’t digital artists, so there was a lot of struggle with that and having different art styles. But other than that, we were fine throughout the process of making the art.

Site 5 – Alannah M., Molly R.

Creative Brief

The Projects Outline and goals are to create an art piece that will be placed in the library for staff and students to see when working. Our goal for our piece is to inspire students and build creativity and imagination. Our Design Is the start of three walls connected by a bean stock entailing the idea of fairy tales. Our message for this project was modern movies to inspire learning and imagination. Success looks like a clean and organized piece of art that you can look at and not feel confused.

Our Project is meant to reach students who spend time in the library either by themselves or with a class. To reach their imagination and influence them to explore and keep on learning. Another aspect of our target audience is people who have watched or love the Harry Potter series.  Our piece allows people in the library to escape to a fantasy world.

The main message of the project is to embody a fantasy and fairytale. We wanted to spark imagination when people are studying or working with peers on assignments. Maybe an artwork like ours will motivate others to be more imaginative and positive. For example, if you’re having a hard day at school and you come into the library for a quiet space and see your favourite book series, your mood will be immediately lifted.

When we were first brainstorming, we had multiple movie ideas; avatar, harry potter, Maze runner, Avengers, Hunger Games, Lord of the Rings, and Pirates of the Caribbean. We started by sketching different movies and including the bean stock in each picture to visualize the piece fully. After our first meeting, we got the understanding that we needed to do a more neutral-coloured movie, Harry Potter. The obstacle we faced was re-constructing which was the opposite of what we were doing before. The overall tone of our art piece was modern darkness, we incorporated the bright side on the quidditch field as that game shows their school spirit and community. Then it blends into the dark clouds over the Hogwarts school, representing the mysterious secrets that go on in the school.

Site 6 – Kiera G., Sophia B.

Creative Brief

With this project, we are aiming to bring new murals into the library to help encourage positive values such as creativity, curiosity, and leadership. We believe that students who walk into the library should notice the murals and be inspired to learn and read more often, to remember what got them started in the first place in a quiet, inclusive space such as our library. With this specific piece we hope to bring the students back to the place where all their literature journeys began using common fairy tales that many were told as kids, then later saw in Disney movies. With this reminder of where they started, hopefully this mural should pass on the positive values mentioned previously and continue to inspire students that go to the library no matter the reason.

With this project, we hope to pass on the messages of inclusivity, as well as creativity, curiosity, and leadership. With these values in mind, we hope these messages are clearly conveyed to students in the library. This project should help motivate students who walk into the library to study, bringing imagination along with inspiration to the quiet study spot. With these virtues in mind we believe that it will help students learn and stay focused on the tasks they are set on while not being too distracting at the same time.

The overall aesthetic we decided to use for our project is a dark and gold. Our inspirations would be the fairytales that we grew up with, mostly the disney tales we were told as children. For this project, we decided to use the approach of what originally brought you into the world of literature using some classic fairy tales from our childhood. In our piece you can see a typical fairytale of a knight fighting a dragon. To show a message of perseverance and to remind of us of story we’ve all heard before.Keira has a creative mind along with an imagination that could rival anyones however she lacks the skill to be able to put her visions into motion. On the other hand, Sophia has the ability to bring those visions to life as well as help lead the group to victory. Together we made a good team and worked around our differences to make the mural you see today.

Site 7, 8, 9 – Bola O. & Emma R.

Creative Brief

Our thought process for this artwork was that it needed to make sense for the library while also inspiring feelings of curiosity and welcome in the students and staff who use the space. We also needed to consider how we would connect our three panels and share elements with panels next to ours. We decided on a three-part story: the first panel depicts a world before stories and imagination, the second depicts the beginning of the transformation after stories are introduced, and the third depicts the final stage of the transformation. We didn’t want it to be associated with any particular piece of media or culture, so we made it essentially anonymous. I believe that the fact that it represents a concept rather than a reference makes it universal and timeless, which are, in my opinion, desirable qualities in a mural.

The artwork’s central message is that stories are essential and can add colour and vibrancy to one’s life. Books in general, not just stories. Books almost always have a positive impact, whether it’s a self-help book to guide you through how to improve yourself, learning new things with non-fiction books, or gaining a new perspective and newfound empathy by reading an autobiography by someone you don’t entirely relate to. We hope that by communicating this message to our student body, more and more of them will take the time to browse and possibly even read the books in the library. I’m aware that the themes of diversity and inclusion aren’t as prominent in the piece as they are in the library’s existing artwork. But, like most of the people we interviewed, we didn’t want our artwork to be just another version of what was already there. In all honesty, I believe that having the main character, if you will, be an everyman, includes more people than a single artwork or even an entire set of artworks could.

In terms of aesthetics and colour choice, we wanted the colours to serve as symbolism for our story. As the character progresses from empty and listless to fulfilled and grounded, the panels change from grey and fuzzy to colourful and vivid. In order to nail down ideas and art styles we wanted to incorporate into our work, we, along with the groups we had to work with, created a mood board. Overall, I believe we had a good process and produced something we were both proud of.