For our IDBM Industry Project, we partnered with StartSOLE. They briefed us to create an interface to “pull students into Social-Emotional Learning”. Currently, they offer a solution solely targeted at teachers. Since StartSOLE is an app-based service, the final deliverable was expected to be a graphical user interface.
Early on in the process, we established key success factors with StartSOLE:      simple, credible, and transformational.
As the project progressed, I took illustration as my main area of responsibility. From the get-go, I set myself a goal to create a custom style. My aim was to depict emotions in a way that appeals to kids ages 8-11 (our target group), without being too childish, kitschy, or corny. I mixed digital and analog techniques to add texture and depth to the images.
Illustration for StrenghtenJunior: Hateful.

The evolution of the emotion hateful. I moved from Adobe Illustrator to mixing analog and digital techniques.

Tryouts for the emotion loved. I achieved the overprint effect by using a printer. This tryout didn't require any digital intervention.
The final illustration of the emotion loved.

Final illustration for StrenghtenJunior: Kind.

Tryout for the emotion sadness.

Final illustration for StrenghtenJunior: Sadness.

For the illustrations, I combined digital and analog tools. Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator, a scanner, and a printer were in heavy use. In my opinion, interesting results are often a result of mixing different techniques. Creating the illustrations was an iterative process, and took multiple revisions to create the final versions.

Sharpies are great for sketching. 

For the final illustrations, I was inspired by these oil pastels.

Textures made with oil pastels. I scanned and opened it in Photoshop where the file was cleaned up and converted into bitmaps. Finally, I imported sketches into Illustrator.

I drew clouds with oil pastels, scanned them, and imported them into Photoshop for clean-up. 

Founded in 2015, StartSOLE's mission is to make SOLE (Self-Organised Learning Environment) accessible around the world. The StartSOLE team consists of teachers, experts, developers, and students. They're based in Cleveland, Ohio. 

Team StartSOLE
Jeff McClellan, Founder & CEO
Justin Duffy, Director of Technology
Shaun Yoder, Managing Partner
Steffen Jakob, Software Engineer
Frans Bouwmeester, Software Engineer
Team StartSOLE/Aalto University
Sofia Nissilä, Design & Illustration, Workshop Facilitation
Nicole Hußmann, Research, UX/UI Design & Client Management
Lara Render, Research & Product Development
Oula Airiola, Research & Product Development

Want to know more about this project?
Contact Sofia Nissilä, sofia.j.nissila@aalto.fi
Back to Top