Blog graphic: Design systems course brings real industry experience to RMCAD students.

Design Systems course brings real industry experience to RMCAD students

Heidi Landis, assistant professor at RMCAD and head of graphic design, teaches and oversees Design Systems, a class that partners with a local small business and evolves their brand. “We’re generating a new logo, a new color palette, fonts, vehicle wraps, signage, water bottles, ads, and many other design assets,” said Landis. She partnered with Bria’s Italian Fusion during the Spring A term of 2023 to bring real industry experience to students enrolled in her class. Brianna Butler, owner of Bria’s Italian Fusion, was excited to see what Landis’ students could create in the span of an eight-week term.

“I wanted to try and find a business that I felt could benefit from the services that the students do in this class,” Landis stated. To do this, she explored through the Small Business Administration in Denver to find local businesses that might be a perfect fit for her Design Systems class. Not long into her search, she discovered Bria’s Italian Fusion owned by Brianna Butler. After an initial conversation, Butler was on board with participating and provided a creative brief to the class.

As a minority-owned business, Butler appreciated the help from RMCAD students as they assisted with brand assets, marketing, and creative ideas. “Being a one-person business I have so much on my plate that I have to say, marketing and branding has been put to the side,” Butler stated. Students first transformed her brand with a new name, “Bria’s Kitchen” to better leverage her existing mix of classes, catering, private cooking, and future brick and mortar location. “Part of the concern with her brand name was that she was pigeonholing herself into exclusively Italian food,” said Landis. With her brand name change, Design System students created a unique selection of logos to choose from.

Butler's original logo (left) is transformed into a multipurpose logo (right).

Over the eight-week term, Butler met with RMCAD students bi-weekly for progress updates, where they shared with her a new website, sub-brands, a custom color palette, menus, and more. Students in the Design Systems class delivered an exceptional 100+ page brand guideline book with everything they worked on over the term. “As we look towards the future, we hand over a brand guideline that is designed for Brianna to be able to give to any designer she works with as she moves forward,” explained Landis. “They can look at the imagery, fonts, colors, and really use that as a jumping off point.”

To learn more about a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from RMCAD, check out our online and on-campus programs. We also recommend reading Illustrative design student shares his experience as a RMCAD senior for additional design-related stories.


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