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D&M Class Helps Non-Profits Find Visual Identity

June 4, 2013

Design & Merchandising sophomores in Professor Nick Cassway’s Computer Design class are using small non-profit organizations as the basis for semester-wide projects. Along with developing computer graphics skills, Cassway says his students are learning how to match an organization’s intangible qualities with meaningful, consistent visuals to develop brand identities that support its mission, goals and vision.

The non-profits have the option to choose a student’s concept as the basis for their brand identity and accompanying graphic needs. This past winter term, D&M students worked with Providence Center – a non-profit that engages children, youth, and adults in educational opportunities within the Fairhill/West Kensington community of North Philadelphia. The organization chose a brand identity created by D&M Sophomore Jennifer Dickman, who is currently working as an independent study to complete the graphics package.

This past fall, D&M students worked with Mill Creek Community Partnership, an organization that serves as a catalyst in the artistic and cultural revitalization of the Mill Creek area. To capture the organization’s work in education, community-based initiatives, economic empowerment, collaborations, partnerships and accessible innovative programming, D&M sophomore Julia Pacitti created an artistic, colorful and polished look for the organization that maintained a connection to the grassroots nature of its mission. At the end of the term, Mill Creek Community Partnership selected Pacitti’s concept for all of its printed materials, including business cards, stationery, donor cards, invitations and a re-design of its website. Pacitti completed the work by the end of the winter term.

Dickman and classmates also worked with Jim Burnett, the executive director of Progressive Change's parent organization West Philadelphia Financial Services Institution, who visited Cassway’s class and engaged in a dialogue to reimagine its brand identity. “In creating a new visual look, it was really important to understand what drives the Progressive Change mission,” Dickman explains. “Meeting the client face-to-face really helps you decide which colors and styles are appropriate and accurately explain what the organization is trying to do.”