Badges

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:

  1. Select a badge.
  2. Choose media from a completed design challenge and select it for review.
  3. 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.

21st Century

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.

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. 

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. 

Hand Sketching

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. 

Research

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.

Writing

Design relies on visual skills, but communication skills are just as important. Writing enables designers to share their ideas with others in clear, persuasive ways. Master the art of writing, and you will have more people on your side to make projects happen. You are beginning to put your thoughts into words, explaining the choices you made during the design process. You write clearly, and you avoid major, distracting grammar or spelling errors. You include important details that show how you arrived at your final design.

Photography

Photography is a technical skill that architects, planners, and designers use to communicate their ideas to others. This Skill Badge is awarded to Makers that use photos to document their process, thinking, and for presenting ideas. To earn a Photography - Level 1 Skill Badge you need to upload photos to your design project, in any step of the design process, to document your work. Photos must include details that help other Makers understand your project and/or environment.