donderdag 24 januari 2013

Colouring book: Creative colouring for people with dementia

4th year graphic design, assignment for a subject called "social spaces".
For this assignment we had to design something for people with dementia in 2 months. We had to make something that would make the lives of people with dementia a little bit brighter, even if it were something very small. Throughout the two months we had to spend two days (and a night) at an dementia department, interact with people with dementia and research about the subject.
I choose to make something specifically for my grandfather, who suffers from dementia and spends his free time colouring. The problem we encountered is that there aren't any colouring books available for people with dementia. Even though people with dementia like to colour and aren't satisfied with a children's colouring book.

So I decided to make a colouring book for people with dementia as my project. I researched about the specific needs and desires that people with dementia have considering with a colouring book.The drawings had to be simple but not childish, they had to be recognizable and not abstract, the pages shouldn't be too big because people with dementia have a short attention span and it can be frustrating to not be able to finish the drawing, the lines needed to be thick because it can be frustrating if they keep colouring outside of the lines,... etc.
As you can see there were a lot of things I had to keep into account while making a colouring book.

Another thing I put a lot of effort in was the subjects of the colouring pages. I wanted te colouring pages to have subjects that the people could recognize from their youth. Next I also wanted that the subjects were relatable to the country I'm from, Belgium. So for example: I could make an colouring page of an old car, but that wouldn't be an american car. Because, even if it's from the right period in time, it wouldn't have driven here in belgium. So I'd only focus myself on cars that drove around in belgium back in the old days.

As you can see in the pictures I made two versions of the colouring book. The "Vrij kleuren" is the version of the colouring book that we all know, having white/black pages. In the other version "Kleur suggestie" has the same images but a little bit of colour is already added to teh drawing. This would make it easy for the person to know which colour he has to use, you can compare it a bit with painting with numbers. I made two versions because I can imagine that for some people the "vrij kleuren" is more appropiate and for others the "kleur suggestie" would be better.

I choose to give the book a retro design, which links back to the people their past. I also binded my book with fabric-tape, the way the binded little sketchbooks back in the old days. The pages are glued in the book and are easy to rip out (like in a drawing pad)

If I were to really use commercialize the colouring books there would be a lot theme's available. That way the family member or nurse can choose subjects that lean towards the person his interests. A few examples of possible theme's would be: The seasons, holdidays, spare time, hobby's, food and drinks, nature, cycle of life,... and lots more.

I was very happy with the result and I'm very eager about this project. I think it has a lot of potential since there are a lot of people out there looking for a colouring book for their grandpa, like me. And it made me very happy that my colouring book was of use for my grandpa. Even though it was just one book with 16 drawings, it really meant a lot to me that he enjoyed it.

© All rights reserved, Sara Nysten
These images and ideas are copyrighted by Sara Nysten. You can't use them.

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