RMCAD students use their design skills to help out a local business owner

1/27/2022 Update: The students who participated in this project was awarded a Student Advertising Award at the Ad Club of Colorado’s “The Fifty” Ad Awards Gala. You can learn more about the awards by checking out the winner’s book.

LAKEWOOD, Colo., – Graphic Design and Illustrative Design students teamed up to create a logo and marketing materials for a local company, Empire Gardens, which “exemplifies the power of growing food and medicinals through its gardening operations,” according to owner Zach Smith.

Smith says that he enjoyed the process of working with RMCAD students when it came to creating a brand identity. “To witness, over time, the students’ ability to grasp the true nature of Empire Gardens and then quickly move towards creating deliverables that reflect and present the true nature very effectively was awesome to be a part of,” Smith said. Smith went on to share how impressed he was with the turnaround time from this collaborative effort. “This project was awesome. Anytime students have the opportunity to go through a process that they will experience in real life while learning the craft can only help lead them to success. I feel blessed to be a part of such experiences,” Smith said.

This took place in our Design Systems class, taught by Shelby Huckabay, who was assisted by students Allison Heistand-Phelps, Ben Matthias, Oscar Ambriz, Josue Salto, and Falon Thrash. We asked Huckabay about how this experience will benefit our students:

How did each student contribute to making this project successful?
First, they each contributed by working really well as a team, and they also all produced really great work so that the whole project was strong. Allison completed Zine Brochures and Instagram Carousels. Ben created t-shirts and a website. Oscar created the business cards and an Event Poster. Josue created an Event Poster and Instagram Carousels. Falon created packaging for seeds and animations.

Tell us how an experience like this will help our students after they graduate.
This project is one of the projects that most closely reflects what it is like to work in the profession after graduation (with a team and with a client).

As a professor, what were you most proud of with this project?
How hard all the students worked and how strong all the work was that they created.

What was the biggest challenge with this project and how did the group overcome it?
The biggest challenge is having the students collaborate well with one another, as well as having them all on the same page with the visual style so that all the work reflects a single company vision, brand, and tone.

Tell us how this project exemplifies the RMCAD Graphic Design and Illustrative Design experience.
For this client, we created a wide spectrum of marketing materials that ranged from printed collateral to web and screen-based collateral. Illustration played a role as well as editorial design and motion graphics. RMCAD’s Graphic Design and Illustrative Design programs set the students up to be able to create that spectrum. 

What was the student feedback you received following the completion?
The students were pleased by the experience to take on a real-world, client-based project and work together to deliver on what the client needed. I think it gave them all a huge sense of accomplishment.

What was the client feedback you received following this project?
The client was very happy with the final outcome! For the final presentation, we created a final book for him to have. As he left the presentation, he told me that the final book was a piece of art. That’s about as big of a compliment one can get from a client following a presentation.

Smith shared that the first thing he is going to do with the new logo is label his small batch salsa, which will be distributed all across the country. You can see what Empire Gardens is up to by clicking here.


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