Big picture

Young designers brainstorm ideas and apply key concepts from the other modules into a garment design.

What’s the goal?

Young designers work in teams to generate lots of ideas on how to apply the concepts from activities in other modules into garment designs.


Young designers are in groups of 3-5, with one leader per group. (Work with same group that they have worked with in other activities, or create a new group).

Included with the handout for this activity is a Creating Teams questionnaire that students can complete to identify their strengths and interests to create well-balanced teams. If you plan to form groups at the beginning of the program, administer the Personal Skills Assessment the first day instead.


Sketchstorming: A new take on brainstorming that uses sketching and writing as a way to generate new ideas! Brainstorming is typically defined as ways to solve specific problems, gather information, stimulate creative thinking,and develop new ideas through unrestrained and spontaneous group discussion.


  1. Prepare the big sheets for each concept
  2. Print the Brainstorming Rules Poster
  3. Print sketchstorming templates handouts. You’ll need to print the ones appropriate to the module you are brainstorming about!

Paper clip exercise

Before the first brainstorming session, do the Paper Clip Exercise below to develop idea fluency. Encourage the craziest ideas!

  1. Direct designers to page two of the handout out (paper clip).
    • Say to the Designers: Brainstorming is a step designers use to come up with a variety of ideas before they decide on their final design. They sketch or write all their ideas, even the wacky ones, to help them figure out the best solution! We’re going to practice this today. Think of as many ways that a paper clip can be used other than fastening papers together and sketch or write about them on your sketchstorming paper clip handout. Have them do this for 5 minutes, keep encouraging them to come up with more ideas.
  2. After they write down all their ideas, have them share their favorite ones in teams or with the whole group.


Module Criteria
Movement & Mobility Sketch some ideas for garment designs that allow free body movement!
Wearable Electronics Sketch ideas for an outfit with LED lights and other electronics that look cool. Try to draw the circuit!
Insulation & Impact Protection Sketch ideas for an outfit that will keep the wearer warm & dry and protect her from impact.
Patternmaking Sketch ideas for an outfit with creative pattern shapes that look good but are still functional. Think about movement, impact protection, thermal comfort, and other ideas!
  1. Now have them apply this same technique to solving design problems. Have a big
    sheet of paper prepared with the module and the prompt across the top as listed in
    the table above.
  2. Hand out the sketchstorming templates so that the students can sketch ideas
    individually. Attach each designer’s sketches to the big group sheets after each brainstorming session.

    • Ask: How can you apply some of what you learned to the final design challenge (clothing)? Try to come up with as many ideas as you can! Don’t be critical of the ideas – just have fun! You may sketch them on the handouts or write them directly on the big sheets of paper!
  3. Leaders should help the teams through this process, making sure that it remains
    diplomatic and that every voice is heard! Refer students back to the brainstorming guidelines, if necessary.
  4. Spend 5-10 minutes brainstorming on one concept.
    • Ask: Why did you choose this idea? Encourage questions from other leaders and designers.
  5. Have a representative from each team come to the front of the room to present the
    ideas, including their inspirations.
  6. Repeat this activity after each set of activities (module).

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