Four small businesses in the Louisiana Business and Technology Center (LBTC) on the LSU campus got some welcome help this semester from a group of graphic design students in the School of Art. As part of a project for a senior-level studio course, the students helped the start-up companies develop web sites, logos and marketing plans.
“This was a great opportunity to provide students with real-life projects to work on to solidify their academic work in a practical and useable application while giving the client companies a product they can use in growing their business,” LBTC Executive Director Charles D’Agostino said.
The project began in January. Students were divided into four groups and assigned one of the four clients – Comprehensive Safety Solutions, which helps businesses meet safety codes and regulations; Calvin Mills, which sells computer systems and hardware; Classes on Demand, which records and distributes academic courses; and Sunvolt Technologies, which installs solar panels and advises clients on energy use and conservation.
Each student team first assessed its business then researched its particular field and developed specific goals. From there, the teams brainstormed about visual and messaging solutions that would help the companies meet their goals. Finally, they developed the marketing materials, design solutions and branding information, which they presented to their clients at the end of the semester in a printed booklet and on a CD.
“The LBTC clients were all impressed and happy with their team’s work,” says Veni Harland, an associate professor of graphic design who advised the students on the project. “The amount of detail, research, and overall design process was educational for the clients as well as the students.”
Administrators in the College of Art and Design were also pleased with the collaborative nature of the project and look forward to engaging in more endeavors in future semesters.
“Service learning is a key component of our curricula throughout the College of Art and Design,” said Dean David Cronrath. “We’re particularly thrilled with this project because our students were able to help an organization within our University community, while at the same time contributing to economic development in our area.”