Design skill, and the power of rock, paper, scissors
When creating a brand from the ground up, there are so many decisions to be made. Throw in the fact that you are working alongside eight of your classmates, all with different ideas and strategies. In the early stages of Graphic Design 3 this semester, our class came together via Zoom to talk about strategies and brainstorm ideas. When we failed to narrow it down to a few we really liked, we decided that the decision-maker would be a game of rock, paper, scissors.
Each section of the senior design class, taught by professor Jayne Whitaker, became a “design firm” to help our client, the Oakwood Inclusion Coalition, a new local group focused on fostering an inclusive community. We had to choose a name for ourselves, and it didn’t take long to agree our firm would be called Rock, Paper, Scissors, or RPS for short.
It didn’t take long to agree our firm would be called Rock, Paper, Scissors, or RPS for short.
Our firm delegated tasks and formed three design teams: the branding design team, which I was a part of; the print design team; and a web design team. We had a project manager, Matty Spicer, and a communication and presentation specialist, Sam Johnson, who led the team by ways of communication and accountability. This model provided much needed structure for this project, and I grew in both my appreciation of and skills in time management and collaboration. The model that we set up required on-time work from each of the design teams, and without those assets our process could have been set back immensely.
I grew in both my appreciation of and skills in time management and collaboration.
Our first few tasks included idea generation, mood board creation, logo sketching, and creating a color palette. All of this happened very swiftly, and before we knew it, we were in the process of refining our initial logos. We started with around seven logo ideas and pared it down to two logo ideas and one mix of the two. We shared the logo options with our client in a Zoom meeting and received some very insightful feedback on how to improve the initial logos.
The experience of working with a real-world client allowed our class to see what working at a design firm might be like. It was also vital that we had contact with our client so that we could get feedback and constructive criticism. This feedback allowed us to be able to take the final logo and apply aspects of the design to our other assets. After that initial meeting with the Oakwood Inclusion Coalition leadership team, RPS got to work. The print design team designed stickers, yard signs and street banners. The web design team created a website mockup as well as some social media assets for digital promotions.
As a part of the Brother Joseph W. Stander Symposium at the University of Dayton on April 22, RPS presented our research, initial ideas and all that was designed as a part of the coalitions brand in a live Zoom meeting. It was a great opportunity to share everything that we had done with other students, professors and even parents. The Stander presentation also gave us the opportunity to present our work in a formal environment before we presented the final brand to our client.
It was a great opportunity to share everything that we had done with other students, professors and even parents.
Our final presentation to the Oakwood Inclusion Coalition leadership team took place April 28. Both sections of our class presented their final brand proposals, which included a logo, color palette and type palette, brand guide, and several assets that we thought would be important for spreading the message of the coalition. Overall, the experiential process of working with a real-world client on a project as important as a brand identity greatly progressed my learning about how to work collaboratively and communicate professionally with a client. This process equipped me with so many things that will be vital in my future careers.
Kathryn Niekamp is a senior graphic design major with a minor in photography who has taken photos for UD Magazine for four years. After graduation in May, she plans to start work and expand on her education of all things design and photography.