Brand new experience

Graphic design students re-brand local non-profit organizations

A Ferris State University junior graphic design class is wrapping up its semester branding project for various local non-profit organizations.

This project consisted of 21 students focusing on three different clients: Artworks, Stage M, and a hypothetical recycling program for Ferris. The purpose of this assignment was to re-brand a local non-profit organization.

Their work involved researching the organization, determining a goal for the organization, selecting a name and designing a logo. Following this, students developed a new brand, creating items such as websites, posters and brochures. Once each team completed its project, they prepared a seven-minute presentation for each client.

William Culpepper, assistant graphic design professor at Ferris, said,

“This project has allowed interaction between the students and the organization. This isn’t just a project focused on creating a brand, but the practice of the conversation between the student and the organization.”

This project began last semester when the class developed a proposal for the branding of a recycling program. Later, it evolved into a project where students had the independence to work with their individual client and brand.

Justin Gauthier, FSU junior in graphic design, helped with the re-branding of Artworks.

“We chose Artworks because they are currently rebranding themselves,” Gauthier said. “This client is realistic and already in the process of branding themselves.”

This hasn’t been an easy project for the graphic design students. Gauthier said it has involved many endless days and sleepless nights.

“Working with a brand is abstract, vague and involves emotions,” Gauthier said. “You must ask, ‘how is this going to make someone feel?’”

Zach Kelly, FSU junior in graphic design, has been working with Stage M for the duration of the semester.

“We chose Stage M because we didn’t know anything about them and it was interesting,” Kelly said.

“It was fun because I didn’t know anything about theater.”

Jillian Bourgois, FSU junior in graphic design, has also been working with Stage M. She expressed the same interest with the client.

“We wanted to create something that shows the passion of theater,” Bourgois said.

“The best thing about working with this client was their deep passion for theatre. It was refreshing.”

Client presentations took place April 23. All students presented from each group and then will had a question and answer session with the clients.

“About two to three months ago we met with the client, and two months later you have this brand in front of you, which is really cool,” said Gauthier.

Bourgois added, “The best thing about this was creating a cohesive brand and trying to make it all work together.”