Providing Materials and Strategies for a Successful Event

Student engagement matters. Keeping current students satisfied and engaged supports their college experience, and it indirectly affects recruitment and development. But the campus is a noisy place. Students are exposed to events and advertisements continuously. How can you make your event stand out from the crowd?

ArtsUP faced exactly this problem. As an initiative to increase arts engagement among undergrads, it was already in a challenging spot, trying to pull non-arts students into arts events. We created materials to make the event stand out among the campus noise, and we supported these with strategic outreach plans to guarantee a good turnout.

Logo Credit: artsUP identity created by Emily Burns

Project Goals

1

Promotional activity to ensure attendance

What if no one shows up?! The ultimate fear of all event planners. We needed to put promotional plans in place to get the word out and encourage attendance.

2

Making a splash on campus

Campus is visually noisy. ArtsUP needed signage, promo materials, and digital assets that could stand out, all while following the university’s strict signage and advertising guidelines.

3

A great inaugural event for attendees

Ultimately, the goal was a transformative art experience for undergrads. The entire event was created to support and drive home the importance (and joy) of arts experiences. It had to be fun.

100%


According to the College of Arts and Architecture, 100% of people are creative and have the potential to impact the world in powerful ways. Our job was to make sure non-arts students realized that opportunities existed for them.

Discovery

For this project, we had a clear audience: undergrads, particularly those who weren’t already participating in the arts. And we had a clear goal: offer transformative arts experiences. What we didn’t have (yet!) was a sense of the best way to reach those students and pull them into an event. Our discovery process involved a deep dive into the university world as we learned how to promote to undergrads. What stories would resonate with them? Where could we reach them? And what would compel them to attend this event?

Strategy

Our discovery work laid the foundation for a strategy we’re still proud of today. Of course we used conventional forms of campus advertising–everything from social media to bulletin boards. But we also thought outside the box about what students see and interact with every day, and where our brand might stand out. This led to creative (and, frankly, fun) exploration of advertising opportunities ranging from cookies in the dining commons, to bathroom stall posters, to screen savers in computer labs. At the same time, we solved a similar set of problems for the signage and other assets we envisioned for the event itself. Operational rules prohibit signs staked into the grass? let’s experiment with sandbags until we find something that works!

Design

Finally, our favorite part of this project was the outstanding design work we got to develop and then implement across so many places. We leveraged an existing logo created by Emily Burns at Penn State and built it out with a true artistic flair. Ultimately, we designed a visual campaign and assets that managed to stay on-brand, while standing out from the noisy visual space of the campus. And, ultimately, showcasing the arts in a spectacular way.

Awards and Recognition
CP Squared logo

2016 CP2 Bracket Award

Category: Poster Series

Award: Best in Show

Any event needs to have engaging visuals, however, an art-centric celebration has heightened importance on visuals. Creating a design that did no feel over-designed while still staying appealing was a challenge our designers were up for. The result was a series of posters that were a hit not only with the client but also within the Central Pennsylvania Creative Professionals organization, winning best in show.

CP Squared logo

2016 CP2 Bracket Award

Category: Experiential Event

Some university campuses are bigger than others, and University Park at Penn State is certainly up there. On a campus so large it is difficult to stand out, especially while adhering to brand guidelines, brainstorming engaging signage, that adhered to brand guidelines is no small feat. Couple that with only certain designated areas for signage, you have a tough situation. Through some creativity and pushing a boundary or two, our team was able to make this art event pop that other events had not been able to do.

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