For the City Times
STEVENS POINT — A partnership between graphic design students at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and several Stevens Point area businesses resulted in a win-win experience for all involved.
Throughout the fall semester, 26 students in Advanced Study in Graphic Design Processes created logo designs and applications, print publications, photography, postcards, signage, web and app concept development for five Central Wisconsin partners and one national nonprofit agency.
Professor Diana Hoover and a visiting professor, Donna Murray-Tiedge, co-created and facilitated the partnership between students and the Aging and Disability Resource Center, Portage County Business Council, Stevens Point Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Stevens Point Transit, Sustainable Heating Solutions and EcoFluent.
“Our community partners provided wonderful opportunities for our students to engage in collective process, discovery, self-direction and professional communication in a way that ‘typical’ classroom project work cannot match,” said Hoover.
The work began with community partners outlying their design needs and the creation of mock agencies by student groups. Students took on the responsibilities for scheduling meetings, writing briefs, tracking hours, constructing invoices and creating work in viable formats. They pitched proposals to their clients, signed contracts and worked within the real-time agreed constraints.
“This project helped me design something that wasn’t made for me,” said Jacob Powell, a graphic design student from Antigo. “It gave me the opportunity to learn what someone else wanted and make a design they liked.”
Other students said it gave them confidence and motivation as well as the real-life skills they will need for their careers, such as interpersonal communication, collaboration and project management.
“The students were professional and treat us as clients throughout their learning experience,” said Todd Kuckkahn, executive director of the Portage County Business Council. “Their final products were high quality, well thought-out, and they clearly listened to us.”
Hoover sees this type of collaboration continuing as the Graphic Design program moves forward at UW-Stevens Point.
“Forging these kinds of partnerships gives students first-hand experience in professional design,” said Hoover, “and it continues to build bridges for win-win community and university interactions.”