Brighten Your Bag – School Travel Professionals Get ’High Vis’ Creative


Published: February 1, 2017

Woman making bags.

If you think all the fun, creative stuff – cutting, sticking, designing – is just for kids… then think again.  School travel professionals from across the north east took part in our Brighten Your Bag workshop recently at the Modeshift North East meeting in York. Here’s how they got on and some tips on how to do this with pupils you work with.

Bright Bag Workshop Task

  • The task was to add a design to a dark bag to make it more visible for day and night.
  • This meant adding fluorescent elements (for day) and reflective elements (for night visibility).
  • The design also needed to include some images or message connected to active travel (walking, scooting, cycling etc).
  • Once the designs were created we took photos (‘day’ and ‘night’) and the winning entry was chosen by Modeshift NE Regional Rep Cat Harrison.

Competition for Croydon

  • Similar activities can be done in schools as part of road safety/active travel education to teach ‘be safe be seen’.
  • The London Borough of Croydon ran a ‘Brighten Your Bag’ competition with schools in their borough.
  • Pupils provided their own bags which ranged from rucksacks to supermarket plastic bags, and used their own high vis resources as well as offcuts provided by Brightkidz. They produced some great designs (which we’ll be featuring in a later blog once prizes have been presented).
  • The high vis elements were attached by a range of methods such as sticking, clipping, tying and sewing – some bags’ designs were more permanent than others and pupils had more time than in a workshop situation.
  • Whether or not the bags are used afterwards with their bright designs, all the pupils learnt about how to be seen.

Two Options for You and Your Pupils

  • If you want to do this task with pupils, first decide if you are doing it just for the creativity/learning about fluorescent/reflective materials OR if you actually want them to have a high vis bag at the end with a design permanent enough to be useful.
  • If it is just about the task, you can use fluoro materials such as neon paper, blank fluoro stickers and highlighter pens. Start with a dark bag for a really dramatic contrast with the high vis design. A 45 minute workshop should be enough time. Take photos afterwards (with and without flash for day and night) so you have a record. These can be used for a JRSO or road safety display in your school.
  • If however you want pupils to have useable bright bags at the end, you need to use more durable high vis materials such as stick-on reflective sheets, fluorescent ribbon and stick-on reflective tape. An old high vis vest cut up will give you low cost, eco materials for this task. Give them more time so they have a chance to sew high vis on. Also you may prefer to start with a high vis PE bag rather than a black bag; so whatever the pupils’ efforts, each bag will be bright.