ENVIRONMENTAL WORD ART – Line, Contrast, Repetition

Students create a black and white design that communicates an environmental message using a single word and visual elements that include line, shape, repetition and contrast.  


Required Time

80 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 7 to Grade 9


Language Arts
Visual Arts
Media Literacy


contrast line repetition shape


Crayola Fine Line Markers Crayola Marker & Watercolour Paper - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12") Crayola Sketchbooks - 1 per student Pencils Erasers

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ENVIRONMENTAL WORD ART – Line, Contrast, Repetition - Step One

Step One

  1. Make a list of words that reflect the environmental issue you researched.
  2. Choose the word you want to use.
  3. Brainstorm ideas for illustrating the word by making several thumbnail sketches.
  4. Choose the idea you like the best.
ENVIRONMENTAL WORD ART – Line, Contrast, Repetition - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Use a pencil to lightly draw the design on your paper.
  2. Make sure the design uses repetition and clearly shows the word. 
ENVIRONMENTAL WORD ART – Line, Contrast, Repetition - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Use a black fine line marker to complete the design.
  2. View the work from a distance to see it with fresh eyes.
    - Does it communicate the message you intended?
    - Does your eye travel throughout the page?
    - Have you included repetition and contrast?
    - Is your word easy to read?

    - What do you like best about your design?

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • create a black and white design that communicates an environmental message using a single word, lines and shapes;
  • use repetition and contrast to emphasize meaning;
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity;
  • support their ideas with evidence found in the artworks.


Have students:

  • digitize their drawing and save it as a jpg;
  • use photo editing software such as Photoshop to colour parts of their drawing;
  • create 2 different colour combinations;
  • compare and contrast the different versions of the same drawing;
  • discuss how the meaning is altered depending on the colours used.


  1. Prior to this lesson have students research an environmental issue that interests them.
  2. Download and display the Line, Contrast and Repetition posters available on this website.
    - review or teach the:
    - element of Line – direction, width, length, focus, texture
    - principle of Contrast – juxtaposition of elements that are very different, e.g., light and dark colours
    - principle of  Repetition – repeated use of similar elements
  3. Gather, and make available, books with alphabets and word art, for example, Alphabatics, by Suse MacDonald; and Alphabetica, by Lynne Perrella.
  4. Download several logos that include imagery and a word from the Internet.


  1. View and discuss several logos.
  2. Consider where else students have seen illustrated words. 
  3. Discuss how meaning can be deepened by including symbols and pictures with a word.
  4. Ask students for a word that represents an environmental issue.
  5. Write the word in large letters on a chart paper and record student responses around the word.
    Ask students to:
    - define the word;
    - explain how it connects to life on the planet;
    - list images that could express that deeper meaning.
  6. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Create a black and white design that communicates an environmental message using a single word, lines and shapes.
  2. Use repetition and contrast to emphasize meaning.
  3. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.
  4. Support your ideas with evidence found in the artworks.

The Process

  1. Ensure that everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    I know I am successful when I have: 
    - created a black and white design
    - clearly shown the written word
    - clearly shown the meaning of the word
    - communicated how it connects to life on the planet
    - used shapes and lines to convey meaning
    - used repetition and contrast to emphasize meaning
    - created a clear message
    - planned and completed the work carefully
    - kept the paper in good condition
  3. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  4. Observe students as they work. 
  5. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


  1. Place students into small groups. 
  2. Ask them to take turns sharing their work and discussing: 
    - things that are especially effective and why;
    - what the design communicates to them;
    - what the designer intended to communicate;
    - how the illustrated words deepen the environmental message;

    - how they might use these ideas in another way.
  3. Share ideas with the whole class. 
  4. Ask students to tell how they felt about doing this project.


  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss their designs – speaks with a clear voice, looks at audience while speaking, points to areas in the design, provides accurate information, answers questions from the audience effectively.
  3. Observe students as they listen – looks at presenter, asks effective questions, supports ideas with evidence found in the artwork.
  4. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads – EnvironmentalWord.pdf)
  5. Have students reflect on their own artworks in their sketchbooks. Ask students:                                                                                              
    - What environmental message were you trying to communicate?
    - What message did others take from your design?
    - If the message was different than your intent, how do you explain that?
    - What effect does your use of repetition and contrast have on the overall design?
    - What makes your word easy to read?
    - What is the strongest feature in your design? Why?
    - How might you use this idea in a different way?