Students provide graphic design services to community

May 2, 2016
Jennifer Castro
Graphic Design Students

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — Seven students from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville have the opportunity to develop graphic design campaigns for seven nonprofit organizations in Wisconsin. The projects are enabling the students to gain graphic design skills in a professional setting and helping prepare them for careers beyond the educational environment.

Students participating in the projects are enrolled in the Graphic Design 4: Advanced Graphic Design Studio course, taught by Greg Nelson, assistant professor of art at UW-Platteville.

The theme for the project is “Design for the Greater Good.” Nelson said the theme was chosen because it is important for people to feel a connection to their communities. “This project helped the graphic design students begin to realize that they have talents and skills that are valuable,” he said. “They were asked to identify nonprofit organizations they believed in or had a connection with and then approach the organizations for collaboration on design projects.”

“This project is an excellent opportunity for students,” said Nelson. “This is the capstone project for the graphic design students and it is a collaboration between them and an outside organization. The project provides them with the opportunity to really own the project by taking charge and managing everything themselves. They are gaining valuable experience in how to work with real clients and what it is truly like to work with an outside individual and, in many cases, a committee or board of directors. At the end of the semester, they will have a cohesive campaign of work to build into their portfolios. This can lead to employment after graduation and will also give them working connections once they are in the workforce.”

The non-profit organizations students are working with include: Colleges Against Cancer, UW-Platteville; St. Paul Lutheran Church, Platteville; Family Advocates, Inc., Platteville; Clarity Clinic, Platteville; UW-Extension’s Multicultural Outreach Program, Dodgeville, Wisconsin; Wildlife of Wisconsin, Cato, Wisconsin; and Wisconsin Junior Volleyball Club, Kenosha, Wisconsin.

In January, students identified potential community partners and contacted them by telephone or email to initiate discussions about the organizations’ potential graphic design needs. In late January and early February, students met with their community partners to discuss their needs in more detail. Later in February, students developed individualized proposals that provided the organizations with a detailed design plan based on their needs. The students will present the professional quality materials they are designing to the organizations in May.

Each student will spend approximately six to 10 hours of contact with his or her community partner, including telephone conversations, email exchanges, face-to-face meetings, delivery and presentation of various project updates as well as discussions of project needs and outcomes. In some cases, students have the opportunity to work with vendors of the community partners, such as web hosting providers, outside printing vendors and Pioneer Printing and Postal Services at UW-Platteville.

“Throughout the process, students are maintaining ongoing contact with their contacts at the organizations, which helps develop a two-way working relationship that ensures clarity and provides the students with a true understanding of a real situation in the graphic design field, in all of its complexity and nuance,” said Nelson.

Student projects include:

  • Colleges Against Cancer: students are designing a T-Shirt, Relay for Life poster and postcard, Colleges Against Cancer postcard and informational brochure.
  • St. Paul’s Lutheran Church: students are designing a logo, brochure and poster and taking photos of the church and grounds.
  • Family Advocates: students are designing a website, banner, logo and window cling.
  • Clarity Clinic: students are designing a website, business card and auction invitation and booklet.
  • UW-Extension’s Multicultural Outreach Program: students are designing a business card, logo newsletter and brochure.
  • Wildlife of Wisconsin: students are designing a logo, fundraiser poster, T-shirt and brochure.
  • Wisconsin Junior Volleyball: students are editing and enhancing photos and designing a spring and summer camp brochure/poster, Beach Club flyer, banner and brochure.

Students participating in the projects include: Jennifer Castro, Blair Chapman, Shanice Grimsled, Stacy Kieler, Paola Martinez, Holly Nygaard and Carley Rote.

“For this project, I really enjoyed working with a great organization like Colleges Against Cancer and being able to help promote them and their upcoming events so more people in the community are aware and have the opportunity to raise awareness about various cancers and prevention procedures as well as donate money for cancer research,” said Kieler, a junior fine art major (graphic design) and photography minor from Cuba City, Wisconsin. “This project has helped me get experience working alongside a client, setting up meetings and getting feedback from them. I hope to create designs that they can use for years to come.”

“My favorite part about this project has been working with a local organization and creating something needed and useful for them,” said Grimsled, a junior fine art major (graphic design) from Madison, Wisconsin. “I think that getting real-world experience in your field while still in school is important, and that's what this project is all about.”

The Design for the Greater Good project is funded by the Pioneer Academic Center for Community Engagement, a transformative initiative for the campus-wide coordination, integration and leadership of community-based scholarship of engagement at UW-Platteville. Funding for PACCE is through a partnership of students, university, alumni and community members. PACCE projects are designed to enhance the community as well as provide students with hands-on service learning opportunities that allow them to incorporate classroom learning with projects and programs in a business or organization in the community.

As UW-Platteville pursues its vision of being recognized as the leading student-focused university for its success in achieving excellence, creating opportunities, and empowering each individual, it is guided by four strategic planning priorities. The Design for the Greater Good project aligns with the priorities of providing an outstanding education and enriching the tri-states.

Written by: Laurie Hamer, College of Liberal Arts and Education, 608-342-6191,


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