Design a Postcard Lesson Plan

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

With this lesson plan, your students will apply the concepts of art and design to marketing. They will be asked to consider how an entire place can be represented in simple visual terms and create a postcard as a result.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Think critically about the principles of design
  • Apply the principles of design to basic marketing and advertising
  • Design postcards for various places


1-2 hours

Curriculum Standards


Follow precisely a complex multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks, attending to special cases or exceptions defined in the text.


Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that relate the current discussion to broader themes or larger ideas; actively incorporate others into the discussion; and clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions.


  • Stack of old postcards
  • Postcard-sized card stock
  • Markers, colored pencils, or other artistic tools


  • To warm students up, ask students to think about the purpose is of a postcard.
    • What are postcards supposed to do?
    • How do they accomplish these goals?
  • Hand out postcards to students. Ask students to think about the design of their postcard, and how the designer accomplished the goal of the postcard in such limited space.
  • Write the following questions on the board, and have students copy and answer them on their own sheets of paper:
    • What is your postcard advertising/displaying?
    • What sort of images does it use?
    • How does the postcard use design principles like shape, color, and orientation?
    • What is the relationship between image and text in your postcard?
    • What makes this postcard successful? Is there anything about it you don't like?
  • Allow students to share answers and discuss the principles of the postcard as a class. Ensure everyone has a clear understanding of the different design principles, as well as the purpose of postcards before moving on to the activity.



  • Ask students to consider making a postcard for their school.
  • Take students on a walking tour of the school. Ask students to bring scratch paper so they can make sketches/take notes about their ideas as they go. Ask students to think about the following on the walking tour:
    • What are their favorite parts of the school? What rooms/areas mean the most to them?
    • What are the most visible or visually iconic parts of the school?
    • Are there any major colors or symbols found throughout the school?

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