Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce has nothing on the creative teams involved in a collaborative project the City of Lowell embarked on with University of Massachusetts Lowell. The City of Lowell teamed up with UML around a grant from “Creative Economy Initiative Fund” to provide “real world” experience for a class of graphic design students lead by UML professor Karen Roehr. The class mounted a marketing campaign from inception, to design, to launch for the City of Lowell.
The class simulated an ad agency, with Professor Roehr as “Creative Director” and the students dividing into teams to “pitch” a campaign to the City of Lowell as client. The teams, with direction from the City’s Economic Development office, not only came up with a design concept and created story boards but also thought about what advertising mediums would be incorporated, contacted vendors and priced the campaign. The teams worked with photography students to capture the images use for the graphics.
Judges Theresa Park, Erin Findlen and City Manager Bernie Lynch were impressed by the thoughtfulness, creativity and professionalism that went into all the design pitches but were particularly taken with one campaign. The winning team lead by Jason Taylor ’13, Juliana DeSouza ’12 and Mike Noonan ’12 came up with a campaign around the concept of “Lowell by the numbers” offering Lowell as an urban alternative to Boston but uniquely its own place. ”The graphics are clean and eye catching,” praised City Manager Lynch,” and the clever tag line concept is adaptable to many different city amenities.” After showing their sample work to Beer Works and the Spinners both organizations gave permission to use their corporate name in the graphics.
The project was not just a theoretical exercise. Graphics from the campaign are now on display at the Dugan Gallery at Duggan Hall through October 11, 2012. More importantly, you can find their work in the Burlington Mall and at bus stops and bus tails around the Somerville area promoting the City of Lowell. The experience of working with these talented UML students on a project to promote the city illustrates the point made by Lowell Plan Breakfast keynote speaker Carol Colletta; the three factors determining the success of cities are quality of talent, quality of place, and quality of opportunity. The teams were certainly inspired by what Lowell has to offer and conversely the talent exhibited by these students is inspirational. Let’s hope these new graduates find opportunities here to keep their talent local!