NIDA Goes to School: Teens Become the Teachers

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Christian Cabrera

Christian Cabrera. Designer of the Drug Facts: Shatter the Myths booklet

Hello, my name is Christian and I was the graphic designer for NIDA’s new Drug Facts: Shatter the Myths booklet. The goal for me was to create something visually that teens would enjoy reading, rather than being made to read. Teens are very savvy when it comes to messages, so we wanted to present the information in a way that was easy to understand and interesting to look at.

I was lucky enough to go to a high school with a team from NIDA to get students’ feedback on our work. It was really valuable, and a lot of their ideas made it into the final design. We learned some key things like:

  • Teens didn't like preachy messages, they wanted facts.
  • They liked photos of teens outside school, not in school, in situations that they could relate to.
  • They cared about design and told us what worked and what didn’t work for them.
  • Several commented that they didn’t like being talked down to, or being imitated (“you’re trying too hard”) by the use of texting shorthand in the booklet. KWIM?

All of the responses we received, positive and negative, helped to make the booklet better. Connecting with teens was vital in creating the piece, and we hope it helps keep you informed.

Christian Cabrera, age 34, is an art director at MFM Design and helped design the Drug Facts: Shatter the Myths booklet with NIDA. He has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Media Arts and Design.

Tell us what you think about the Drug Facts: Shatter The Myths booklet in the comments.

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