SEP Designathon Draws Design-Savvy Software Engineers

After organizing 6 successful hackathons for hundreds of software engineering students around New York City, the SEP team was ready to put a creative spin on things for its seventh tech event. That spin was good design: an essential, oftentimes overlooked element in software engineering and computer science. SEP’s Designathon event earlier this month served as an opportunity for its students to learn about and put into practice several core “design principles” including:

♢ Good design tells a story
♢ Use color for a reason
♢ Use 1, maybe 2, typefaces
♢ Make eye contact
♢ Manipulate scale
♢ Overwhelm the eye
♢ Simplify
♢ Activate the diagonal

Over 120 SEP students across 10 outer borough middle and high schools attended the SEP Designathon at Microsoft in Times Square on Thursday, November 5, 2015. The challenge that day was to design a digital poster illustrating why computer science is cool or important. In teams of 2 and 3, students thought long and hard about technology as they brainstormed, paper prototyped, and digitally rendered their poster ideas, all the while bearing in mind the core design principles.

Later in the day, students presented their posters to a cohort of 6 judges—all either practicing designers, design scholars, or both. Each judge selected 1 winner for a total of 6 winning teams. One by one, the judges came up to the front of the room to announce who they chose and why. Prizes included sketch pencils and pads, bamboo pen tablets, and most exciting: the winning posters are being professionally printed and distributed to all 18 SEP schools!

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