Brand Experience Team Brief #2

Simantel kindly set the final team brief of the semester for the second section of students. This time just two teams, but as equally a challenging assignment as the morning teams at OneFire.


The new leaders wish to solidify the clients. brand reputation by carrying on their name and legacy.

They want to do this by deepening exiting relationships and growing new ones, ensuring they are clear on their marketing message, with appropriate materials to tell their story.

Ancillary Industry Targets: The client hopes the message Bradley helps create will translate to many audiences as they seek to continue to build relationships with area architects, industry associations and large general contractors where they might serve as a “sub contractor” (since they are smaller than most in our area.) The message may have to “pivot” so as not to seem competitive, but collaborative with various segments.


  • The client does very little in the way of marketing.
  • All client names and addresses are stored; however, this is primarily used for invoice purposes not marketing purposes.
  • The company receives emails with notices for opportunities to bid on projects – but this very reactive.
  • The team does not sit on any community boards, nor are they involved in trade associations, though this is an area of interest to pursue further.
  • The team is specifically interested in finding a list of developers in the area to set meetings with and introduce themselves/tell their story.
  • The team does attend annual safety conferences/trainings, which serve as networking opportunities.
  • They do not currently have a website or much of a social presence and the Facebook page is rarely updated with project examples.


  • In the past, the team has discussed developing a letter “re-introducing” the firm to key customers or prospects.
  • They’ve considered building a PowerPoint presentation providing an overview of services and setting meetings to tell their story.
  • They do not have a brochure or any sales literature.
  • They do buy “custom branded” wine for customers at Christmas time as an appreciation effort.
  • They also have some promotional items (hats, sweatshirts, t-shirts, etc.)
  • The company cars also have the logo, which offers some limited exposure in market.
  • They’ve also considered building a portfolio of projects from small to large, with a case study of services.

And here are the two teams in action. Click on their photos to view their campaign presentations.

Brand Experience Team Brief #1

Once again, my friend Jim, and his colleagues at OneFire helped me with the final team brief for the Brand Experience class.

The brief was a particularly challenging one for the students:

Communications Objectives (What do we want the audience to do?
● Design and implement a strategy to create a more effective web presence that
differentiates the company and all of the products and services they sell and
attracts/converts targeted prospects, allowing them to be nurtured and converted to
● Independent insurance agents who operate in this niche should be able to easily find the company when they are searching for a carrier in this space and, once found, understand
their unique distinctions
● Update corporate positioning to support Brand distinction and align with target audience
needs (at your option, this may or may not include the update of the corporate logo, be
prepared to defend your rationale for or against updating)
● Discover and understand the buyer’s journey and use that to guide marketing strategy
and tactics
● Create an inbound/outbound growth strategy

As usual, our students didn’t let us down, despite much of the language of the brief being a little different from what they have been familiar with. Here are the presentations from the four teams. Click on to the photo to view each campaign:

Gourmet ‘Meal 2 Go’ Packaging

An often repeated/tweaked branding project to give the students an opportunity to get their ‘hands dirty’ with some 3D construction added to the branding aspect.

Essentially, a Hyvee three or four item gourmet/quality ‘meal to go’ branded packaging challenge that should work across a range of meals in the brand, has strong shelf presence, is stackable, easy to carry, protects the meal item contents – and takes into consideration sustainability and its environmental footprint – while being an original piece of packaging design, with strong surface graphics…. simple!

Here are all of the projects with extra images of some of the more unique/successful solutions:

Continue reading “Gourmet ‘Meal 2 Go’ Packaging”

The Revolutionists

By Lauren Gunderson

Directed by Emma O’Mahoney, BU ‘22

Performances April 20-24, 2022

Four badass women lose their heads in this irreverent, surreal comedy from Lauren Gunderson, one of the most produced playwrights in America (and author of BU Theatre’s 2019 Silent Sky). During the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror. playwright Olympe de Gouges, assassin Charlotte Corday, former queen (and fan of ribbons) Marie Antoinette, and Haitian rebel Marianne Angelle, hang out, try to beat back the extremist insanity of 1793 Paris, and fulfill their destinies. This fever dream of a play is about violence and legacy, art and activism, feminism and terrorism, compatriots and chosen sisters, and how we go about changing the world. It’s all true. Or total fiction. Or a play about a play. Or a raucous resurrection. You decide.

This was such a fun piece to work on, and I finally got to come up with a predominately typographic solution 👍🏻

Peoria Bike Hire

What’s the challenge?

(Re)Imagine the brand identity of a local bike hire scheme in downtown Peoria. This can be one that already exists, but most likely, a completely new scheme based down in the ever growing redeveloped Warehouse District.

Research the different types of schemes, then pick either a GPS, dock based or monthly lease bike scheme, depending on what makes the most sense in Peoria. This challenge is all about the brand identity for your scheme. Don’t get hung up on what makes this scheme different from others, but instead how your brand identity can encourage people to opt for a bike over other options of transport around and about Peoria.

Your brand should consider the opportunities bike hire can offer someone in your city, the experiences they’ll encounter and create an identity that sells this opportunity. Along the way your campaign message should be able to create a sense of empowerment, self-esteem, self-achievement, and a sense of ‘doing good’ for the environment and personal health of your target audience.

So many good brand campaigns came out of this one – Here are the one’s I would consider the most ‘complete’, but great job by everyone.

Allie Elster (Graphic Designer) Visual Voices Guest Lecture

Alli Elster’s career journey has brought her to a position of, Chicago-based, visual designer, specializing in branding, web, and print design projects.

Over the past ten years, she has worked on a wide range of projects, including rebranding initiatives for nationwide companies, creative digital solutions, and print rollouts, big and small. Some clients include: Nami Metro Suburban, Turano Baking Co, Connie’s Pizza, Greektown Chicago, Grounds & Hounds Coffee, and many more.

After a few years in the marketing agency world, Alli got the opportunity to be the sole designer on JB Pritzker’s gubernatorial campaign. Their team ran one of the largest digital marketing campaigns in 2018. After the campaign was over, she went back to freelancing for a while, followed by another set of political initiatives, and then returned back into the agency world at FCB Chicago, where she is a Senior Art Director, working on a newer team for Cox Communications.

With a design mantra of “Keep it simple but have fun doing it”, we welcome Alli Elster home to the hilltop.

Peoria Zoo (Wayfinding) App

Client: The Peoria Zoo

Product: A *UI/UX friendly phone app that maps the grounds and buildings, serves as an exhibit guide (including theme-specific symbols), and (importantly) connects the user to the zoo and it’s activities in a way that develops and encourages a long term brand loyalty.

Requirements: The *wayfinding system part of your app design should be the most visually communicative and experiential part of your phone app as it will ultimately help guide foot traffic throughout the exhibits and around the entire zoo environment. However, the wider purpose of the app is far more than simply a map around the zoo. It should also serve as an interactive guide once the user reaches a specific exhibit or activity. In addition, it also needs to create an ongoing connection with the user far beyond that single visit to the zoo. How can you retain this (brand) loyalty so that the visitor engages with the zoo and it’s exhibits during their visit but also continues to connect, interact etc. with them long afterwards, away from the venue? There are obvious ways through social media links etc. But consider other ideas too that make the app something so much more than simply an on-site way finding system. What additional content does it require to retain this ‘two-way connection?

1) Design a smartphone app that delivers a very ‘friendly’ and fun user experience throughout its screens. Primarily it needs to navigate the user/guest throughout the exhibits and activities. Your wayfinding system should be clear, accurate and, although aimed at the parents, easy for all ages to navigate through. The zoos existing map/guide is downloadable below, however, this is merely for you to use as a starting point, for information and assistance in your overall UI/UX. Consider recreating the zoo environment in a more dynamic way to work with your app layout and navigation (however, ensure you retain the graphic integrity and accuracy/scale of the real zoo, (their existing guide may be inaccurate on several levels). Remember the smart phone screen size – how do you need to present these large plans within this format without the need for constant scrolling or pinching/expanding to be able to view clearly?

2) Symbol/pictogram/icon designs for each of the main exhibits or activities should be created if they don’t already exist (listed below). However, do not redesign them if they are already established parts of the zoos overall brand image. These are a big part of your overall way finding system. What you see on the app should match up to what you see in the physical environment. They need to be clearly identifiable, flexible to view large and small, on signage in the zoo and on a phone screen etc.

3) Additional phone screens above and beyond the wayfinding, demonstrating the additional zoo activities, information, individual exhibit information/links. Plus, additional content you feel would make the app far more than simply a wayfinding aid after the user has left the zoo. What will prevent it from being next in line for being deleted because the user requires more memory space on their phone so needs to ‘cut’ some lesser used apps on their home screen.

Audience/User: Primarily – Adults/Parents etc. However, if a child was using the app, it should be clear enough for them to navigate through the basic screens.

Tone: Fun and vibrant. Try to retain the house style of the zoo (, however this is not a branding assignment. The focus is how you present your wayfinding system within the potentially challenging format of a smart phone screen.

Continue reading “Peoria Zoo (Wayfinding) App”

A day in the life of a SOCIAL MEDIA junkie

Brief: Visually demonstrate sequentially the effect/interaction/encroachment of social media over a specified period of your life.

Social media has both good and bad aspects to it. It is encouraging younger people to interact with news, politics and issues beyond what they might encounter in their day to day lives. However, there is a tipping point where people do spend too long online and are influenced the wrong way when they take on false (news) information. Yes, social media has taken over our lives, but it is the way we use it that determines whether that is a good or bad thing.

Project Goals: The specific goal is to create a data display that visually depicts how you use the variety of social media applications throughout an average day. It will culminate in a direct mail print piece that should be multi-page/multi-surface and in a format that reflects the subject/theme.

Continue reading “A day in the life of a SOCIAL MEDIA junkie”