Earn badges as you level up your design skills.
What is a Badge?
When you practice a skill or solve a challenge on DiscoverDesign.org you can apply for a badge. Each badge is tied to a specific set of skills or accomplishments. It’s like a digital snapshot of what you know and are able to do.
Why Would I Want a Badge?
Badges document your work – and the skills you’ve developed – in a way you can easily share with your peers, teachers, mentors and potential employers. They document your “journey” as you create solutions to design challenges. DiscoverDesign badges demonstrate that you’ve practiced valuable skills needed in architecture and design-related professions.
How Do I Apply for a Badge?
You are able to apply for badges once you’ve completed a design challenge or by coming back to this page and clicking on any of the badges listed below
Follow these steps to apply for a badge:
- Select a badge.
- Choose media from a completed design challenge and select it for review.
- Your Teacher (or a Mentor) will be able to review your work, compare it to the badge criterion, and then award you a badge – or give you feedback about what you need to work on further in order to be eligible to earn a badge.
If you aren’t working directly with a teacher or mentor, no problem! Contact us and one of the Mentors on the DiscoverDesign team will review and award your badge applications.
Who Designed the Badges?
During the redevelopment of DiscoverDesign (2015-2016) we talked with teachers, mentors and other organizations that use digital badges. We especially wanted to incorporate teen voice in the design of the badges they might earn. We used a structured design process and asked teens for input into two categories: aesthetic design and what kind of opportunities badges should unlock through questions like: “What should badges representative of skills look like?” and “If this badge were a sticker, where would you stick it?”
We retired some of our original badges (Community and Status) and added new ones. The badges we provide reflect the input we received about what young designers – and their teachers and mentors – think really matter that could be documented with a badge.
What Badges Can I Apply for?
You can earn three types of badges on DiscoverDesign: 21st CENTURY badges, SKILLS badges, and COMPETITION badges. Badges on DiscoverDesign are built to connect with other online badging platforms such as Chicago City of Learning.
21st Century Badges: You can earn 21st Century badges for Communication, Collaboration and Problem Solving by demonstrating the social, emotional and cognitive skills and character traits defined by educators, employers and others to be essential for success in college, career and beyond. The Chicago Architecture Foundation has selected skills that strongly align with the Design Process. We have adopted the MHA Labs definitions for these 21st Century skills.
Skills Badges: You can apply for skill badges in the following categories: Hand Sketching, Research, Writing, Digital Model Making, Physical Model Making, Construction Drawing and Photography.
Competition Badges: DiscoverDesign issues an annual design competition. The site also occasionally hosts competitions in cooperation with partner organizations.
2016 DiscoverDesign National Competition:
Earn finalist or winner badge by entering the DiscoverDesign National Competition and completing the 2016 Challenge.
You can earn 21st Century badges for Communication, Collaboration and Problem Solving by demonstrating the social, emotional and cognitive skills and character traits defined by educators, employers and others to be essential for success in college, career and beyond. The Chicago Architecture Foundation has selected skills that strongly align with the Design Process. We have adopted the MHA Labs definitions for these 21st Century skills.
Collaboration and teamwork skills promote a welcoming atmosphere where people feel comfortable, accepted, and focused on group development.
Communication involves words – spoken, written or signed. Use the appropriate communication style to ensure your message is received.
Earn competition badges through the annual National DiscoverDesign.org Competition - a nationwide ideas competition which challenges participants to think outside the box and use the design process to create solutions to real-world problems.
2016 National DiscoverDesign Competition Participant
2016 DiscoverDesign National Competition - Participant badge: You designed an affordable housing prototype, and presented your design.
2016 National DiscoverDesign Competition - Finalist
2016 DiscoverDesign National Competition - Finalist badge: You presented your affordable housing prototype, and finished in the top ten.
Digital Model Making
Digital models can help you figure out if your solutions are on the right track and showcase them when you are done. Pay attention to details and stay curious about all that digital tools have to offer. Digital model making is often part of the “Brainstorm” and “Develop Solutions” phases of the design process. Please take a look at the digital model making badging criteria page to see examples of student work.
Digital Model Making - Level 1
Digital Model Making - Level 1 shows you made a digital rendering using basic skills, used new tools, and explored digital model making.
Digital Model Making - Level 2
Digital Model Making - Level 2: You have used multiple views in your 3D model and showcased the impact of materials, scale, and light.
Physical Model Making
Design professionals use physical models to develop and test their ideas so they can then showcase and explain those ideas to others. Why not just use digital models? Sometimes, as the saying goes, seeing is believing. Whether it is about testing out a creative idea or helping a client understand your solution, physical models can be valuable tools. Physical models are often part of the “Brainstorm” and “Develop Solutions” steps of the design process. Please take a look at the physical model making badging criteria page to see examples of student work.
Physical Model Making - Level 1
Physical Model Making - Level 1 shows that you made something with your hands. That’s a big accomplishment, no matter how complete it is.
Physical Model Making - Level 2
By Physical Model Making - Level 2, you have a complete or almost complete model. It is clear you are putting attention into craftsmanship.
Hand-sketching is one of the most universal and powerful techniques that a design professional can learn. You can carry a sketchbook wherever you go to brainstorm new ideas, and then use those sketches to communicate ideas before making models. More advanced sketches can be used throughout the design process, from “Brainstorm” to “Feedback”. Please take a look at the hand sketching badging criteria to see examples of student work.
Hand Sketching - Level 1
Hand Sketching - Level 1 shows you have made your first sketches as part of the design process! You are on your way to expertise.
Hand Sketching - Level 2
Hand Sketching - Level 2 shows that sketchers are comfortable with “visual note taking” even if only used in one step of the design process.
Construction drawings are used to build your project in the real world. Professional markings communicate where and how things should be built. Drawings may show elevation, depth or multiple views of a design. Construction drawings are invaluable throughout the building process, whether they are used to understand a building’s position on its land or show crews where to dig the first hole and how deep it should be.
Construction Drawing - Level 1
Construction Drawing - Level 1 shows you have started exploring simple line drawings, and even if they lack details, can guide a project.
Construction Drawing - Level 2
By Construction Drawing - Level 2 your drawings are clear, and show that you are thinking in 3D even though you are drawing in 2D.
Great design starts with thoughtful research. How will your design solve a problem? What are the needs of the people and environment who will be affected? Ask questions, use your camera and sketch pad or even go outside and observe. This is often part of the “Collect Information” phase of the design process. Please take a look at the research badging criteria page to see examples of student work.
Research - Level 1
Research - Level 1 badge shows you understand the design problems, and have collected information to fix them before creating a new design.
Research - Level 2
Level 2 Researchers analyze the design problem with notes, sketches, photos, etc, and include details about the design to find a solution.
Design relies on visual skills, but communication skills are just as important. For this badge, you will need to choose a piece you wrote for your project.
Writing - Level 1
Writers - Level 1 can communicate clearly, avoid major errors, and include important details. They share ideas in a clear, persuasive way.
Writing - Level 2
Writers - Level 2 don’t just describe their work, but how and why they made design choices. Persuade us that your design solves a problem.
Photography is a technical skill that architects, planners, and designers use to communicate their ideas to others. For this badge, you will need to select your best photos from your project.
Photography - Level 1
For a Photography - Level 1 badge you need to add photos of your project. Photos must include details that show your project progress.
Photography - Level 2
Photography - Level 2: Use lighting, composition, and point of view to highlight details in your photos that showcase your project progress.