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Graphic design class helps nonprofits with advertising

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University of North Georgia students devised a complete advertising plan for nonprofit organizations as part of the graphic design for advertising class. Nonprofits were The Bridge Foundation, Buckhead Christian Ministry, Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation (OCAF), and PAWS Atlanta.

Marketing with little or no budget. Reaching a younger generation that gets its information through social media. Finding creative ways for people to volunteer their time or donate their money for a worthy cause. These are a few issues nonprofit organizations deal with on a regular basis.

Four Georgia nonprofits received some assistance this fall when University of North Georgia (UNG) students selected them as clients for their graphic design for advertising class. Instead of earning pay for their creative and innovative ideas, UNG students earned a grade for devising a complete advertising plan for the groups, including The Bridge Foundation, Buckhead Christian Ministry, Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation (OCAF), and PAWS Atlanta.

Mark Taylor, part-time adjunct faculty member of visual arts at UNG, designed the curriculum with nonprofit clients to give the students a taste of the professional world.

"This has been a huge learning experience for them and myself," Taylor said. "One of the main objectives was to have students interact with a client that they cannot receive from a classroom situation."

Twelve students divided into four groups of three and devised an entire advertising campaign including designing a logo and direct mailer, generating a magazine or newspaper ad and an outdoor billboard, crafting a 15-second radio ad, and producing a 15-second television storyboard concept. The students will then deliver a final presentation encapsulating all of the products to the client.

The students delved into the work with a fervor equal to their clients.

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University of North Georgia students in the graphic design for advertising class taught by Mark Taylor, a part-time adjunct faculty member for visual arts at UNG, devised an entire advertising campaign for four nonprofit organizations. The campaign included designing a logo and direct mailer, generating a magazine or newspaper ad and an outdoor billboard, crafting a 15-second radio ad, and producing a 15-second television storyboard concept.

"The clients have been very open about what they want," said Mary Sanders, a senior from Albany, Georgia, majoring in graphic design, who worked for Buckhead Christian Ministry. "Anytime we email or Skype them, you can see they are passionate about what they do, and it makes us passionate about it."

Diana Revenkov, a junior from Cumming, Georgia, majoring in graphic design, said she appreciated that Buckhead Christian Ministry trusted her artistic eye to create graphics that would capture a person's attention.

"With the posters and logos, they did not say they wanted it to look this specific way," she said. "They said, 'We want to reach your generation. So the design matters.'"

Ashley Crooks, a senior from Hartwell, Georgia, majoring in graphic design, appreciated developing a campaign with little to no budget for The Bridge Foundation.

"We are seeing how we can get it all done with the budget we have been given," she said.

Taylor agreed, explaining most nonprofits have small or even no budgets for ad campaigns. A couple of the campaigns were or will be utilized, such as the plan developed for OCAF.

"They want to grow their membership numbers," said Sara Morales, a senior from Gainesville, Georgia, majoring in graphic design.

Specifically, OCAF wants to reach a younger audience. Therefore, the students focused on promoting classes for the younger generation, said Caroline Frank, a junior from Cumming majoring in graphic design.

OCAF wasn't the only nonprofit using UNG students to tap into a younger demographic. PAWS Atlanta wanted to reach college students and graduates who would be open to adopting pets.

"So far we have come up with brochures that have QR codes, allowing people to access their Instagram accounts and follow them," said Emily Bond, a senior from Dahlonega, Georgia, majoring in graphic design.

With all of these different elements the students are learning, Taylor said his students are building their resumes. Kristen Adkins, a senior from Powell, Ohio, majoring in marketing, is pleased with that.

"In class, you are tested on your knowledge," she said. "But with this class, I am applying my knowledge and getting feedback from the client."

Abby Kosberg, gallery and education director for OCAF, said she has been pleased with the outcome.

"It has been a fantastic experience," she said. "They have been responsive with us and have taken constructive criticism really well."

Once the students' final ad campaign is completed, Kosberg will present the plan to OCAF's board of directors for approval and use in 2019.

"I think they've done a great job," she said. "They gave OCAF a fresh, updated view, and it makes it clear what OCAF stands for. And that's exactly what we need."

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