Senior Rebecka Julaas thinks Branded is such an important experience for students because it helps foster an understanding of what it takes to create a brand identity. As the AIGA President, she sees value in the event for art students and non-art students alike.
On Saturday, March 4, eight teams of SPU students gathered together in the Art Center to design logos and marketing material for innovative products and services for the public at “Branded.”
The Art center was full of art and design students who worked alongside Social Venture teams for 12 hours, starting at nine in the morning and ending at nine at night.
During this event students were divided into eight teams intermixed with other students of various majors. Once in these groups, teammates collaborated to design promotional materials for the given product or service, inspiring creativity along the way.
In doing this, teams created corporate identities by designing logos and making mock-up advertisements, info graphics and package designs to display their work.
“The planning process involved a lot of team effort and communication throughout the whole AIGA board,” Julaas said. “From the planning of the food, the setup and [the] scheduling to creating all the design teams, choosing social ventures teams … but it was all worth the work.”
From 9 a.m. until noon students worked to identify team goals, creating design briefs, audience boards and visual audits, and they began the naming process. After a 30 minute lunch, students went right back into their work developing visual sketching and prototypes.
By 3:30 p.m., groups finished up with sketching and began developing brand logos, icons, patterns and color palettes. At 6 p.m. teams implemented graphic assets into media and finalized their brands before the start of presentations at 8 p.m.
Because students ranged in areas of study, they recognized their reliance on the strengths of their teammates for their expertise.
Junior Jess Sloan emphasized her reliance on the art and design members of her group. As a global development major, she believes the process has taught her a great deal about the artistic side of a business plan.
“[Branded] has just given me a lot of insight working with logos and design processes,” Sloan said.
Sloan’s team created a product named “Aquality,” aimed at providing jobs for people with disabilities through a company that allows them to harvest produce easily and efficiently to distribute to markets.
Other projects included a job shadowing service for military members upon retirement, a unique backpack company with a mission to empower youth and a mosquito repellant lotion to prevent malaria for those in developing countries.
The mosquito repellant company titled “Selam” investigated graphic and literary elements both nationally as well as globally to cater to its market. Because it would be sold in other countries, art and design students chose specific color palettes and designs that would appeal to its intended market.
Senior Michael Sand worked on Selam’s development team and noted the benefits both art and business students glean from the event.
“It’s a learning experience,” he said. “[Branded] helps people brand who may not understand the design process. It’s a good experience for both parties.”
Additionally, junior Ali Steenis said, “It is a cool partnership between students who wouldn’t otherwise intersect.”
As students wrapped up their work, they gathered in the lobby of the Art Center for group presentations. One by one, group members explained their product or service, along with brands and the creative processes that went into making each of them.
Groups shared the inspirations behind ideas, company names, why specific design elements were used and how products would be meaningful for or helpful to consumers. Following presentations, students splurged on snacks left over from the day.
“It all started with AIGA looking for ways to show business people the value of design,” said Professor of Visual Communication Karen Gutowsky-Zimmerman.
She believes that the 12-hour day immerses students of different majors together to accomplish a mutual goal, emulating a potential workplace environment.
With the experience from Branded under their belt, these Social Venture teams will come together again in April to partake in the final competition of the year. There, they will present their proposals in the hopes of earning grant money and gaining the interest of potential investors.
“[Branded] is therefore more than just making a logo and branding,” Julaas said. “It serves as a way to bridge the gap between art and business.”