Design students develop promotions for local nonprofits

an image of a cottage house from an interactive property brochure created by Radford University graphic design students
A cottage house located at Yellow Sulphur Springs is among the many features students showcased in their interactive brochure of this historic Virginia landmark.

This summer, students in Professor John O’Connor’s Advanced Graphic Design Production Techniques course worked with the local nonprofit company, Community Housing Partners (CHP) and a local property owner to develop an interactive brochure (example link created by student Lauren Slough) for their organization. The project combined a number of graphic design and multimedia development tools, including Premiere, Photoshop, After Effects and InDesign to create the interactive presentation. Portions of video footage used were captured with a drone, and photographs of the property were animated to create a more engaging experience.

The graphic design program often uses real-world clients to enhance classroom experiences. O’Connor says that this type of instruction is especially valuable for students as it exposes them to new software tools with the added value of learning time management in the context of a client-based product. “We are constantly on the lookout for real-world projects to assign our students,” said O’Connor. “They get to work with real clients and have real projects for their portfolios, which is really important when the job hunting process begins.”

O’Connor’s students completed two major projects during the course. The CHP brochure was developed with a social media audience in mind. The second project was a print brochure for the Blue Ridge Mountains Council Boy Scouts of America. The brochure was designed as marketing literature for the organization’s Cub Scouts program.

Clients for both projects were pleased with the outcomes and anticipate using the students’ work in real-world applications. Professor O’Connor says these types of projects directly support Radford University’s core value of fostering service to our community. They are a win-win for both the university and the community, as students get new, challenging experiences that expand their skill set while local nonprofit businesses get new promotional materials at little-to-no cost.

Aug 26, 2019
Jason S. Hutchens, Ed.D.