Not Shaken, Not Stirred…
We recently created this t-shirt as a gift for our clients in the education and technology sector. It is a pretty simple concept, just the word "blended" with a gradient color blend inside. So, what does it mean? And why did we feel compelled to make a t-shirt?
In recent years, the term "blended" has emerged as a way to describe the various mixes of online and traditional classroom instruction in the education system. The Innosight Institute, one of the thought leaders shaping this concept, defines blended learning as "A formal education program in which a student learns at least in part through online delivery of content and instruction with some element of student control over time, place, path and/or pace and at least part at a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home."
People are passionate about blended movement because it is about combining the best of both worlds. Organizations like Innosight, Evergreen Education Group, and others have written extensively on the nuances of blended learning models, and it is exciting to see how different schools and educational programs exemplify this concept.
While working on this year's Keeping Pace with K-12 Online and Blended Learning report for Evergreen Education Group, we were designing a graphic that illustrated one particular concept related to blended learning. In a strong uppercase sans serif, we filled the word "blended" with color. The result struck us as beautiful, iconic and expansive.
Outside of the educational context, I think the idea of blended speaks to a lot of what we're experiencing as a culture right now. Blended refers to the possibility of transcending old assumptions and categories for a more interdisciplinary, free-thinking future. Blended can be about education, career, family, religion or politics. It can even be about lightening up and making yourself a delicious fruit smoothie with everything you want inside.
We thought the word Blended as we'd designed it for the Keeping Pace report would look terrific screened on the front a t-shirt. It would be an interesting way to bring academic concepts into the public consciousness and hopefully pique interest. And if done well, it would make a great thank-you gift to special clients in the online learning space where we do so much work. We took care to select the right kind of fabric, colors and screen printing techniques to come up with a garment people would be proud to wear and we'd be proud to give.
The Blended shirts debuted at the annual Virtual School Symposium where we wore them and gifted them to our clients. Ultimately we were curious to know how people would perceive this kind of visual statement about the blended movement within the context of the symposium. The overall reaction was positive, and we're glad to have taken the creative initiative to represent an idea we believe in.