Graphic Design Incubator Project

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					       Educational Partnerships in Africa
University of East London • Durban University of Technology

           Graphic Design Incubator Project
            Funded By The British Council

Project Managers: Piers Carey (DUT) and Tony Hudson
     Presentation: Rowan Gatfield and Piers Carey
                        Draft Business Plan

    This project links the Department of Visual Communication
    Design at Durban University of Technology (DUT) with the
    “Continuum” unit for Widening Participation at the University of
    East London and the “ Creative Way” Lifelong Learning
    Network, which specialises in the Creative Industries in the
    Thames Gateway area in England. This presentation reports
    on the progress to date.

    The project intends to establish a working Graphic Design
    Studio within the Graphic Design Programme, at BTech level (
    = Honours), to provide Work Integrated Learning and real
    experience for students. The intention is to establish work in
    the studio as a successful educational element in the
    programme, which will enhance employability and
    entrepreneurial skills amongst our students. Secondarily we
    intend that it should provide third-stream income and stimulate
    research within the department.
The Context for Work-Integrated Learning
in South Africa

Work Integrated Learning (WIL) is now a requirement in all courses
at South African Universities of Technology (UoTs), in order to
enhance employability and promote entrepreneurship.

 These are of critical importance in a context of:
           the AIDS Pandemic and numerous health issues;
           declining aid flows and global recession;
           40% (?) unemployment;
           declining academic preparedness amongst school-
           financial hardship amongst potential and current students:
           ignorance and/or negative perceptions of the DUT and the

Widening participation in Graphic Design in the SA context
particularly depends on tackling at least the last three factors.
          The WIL Status Quo

Difficulties with the Standard Placement Model:
            Graphic Design Industry rejects Work Placement.
            Local Graphic Design businesses are small
                       (typically 1– 10 personnel).
            They cannot spare staff to mentor or supervise.
            Investment of time and energy in a short-term
placement is seen      as wasteful.

The Graphic Design Programme’s Response
          Industry simulation WIL model:
          Industry representatives set, mentor, and criticize
     projects in     collaboration with lecturing staff.
          Students work with practising Creative Directors.
          ± 80% of applied projects in Third Year.
          Partners include:
                     Garth Walker Design, Disturbance Design,
                     Amnesty International, the Sunday Tribune,
                     Mr. Price Stores and House and Leisure
Objectives of this Project


   To establish a work integrated learning environment
   for Graphic Design Education that attempts to replicate
   a real time/ real life, Graphic Design and Advertising
   business experience. This includes student engagement
   with all spheres of the business, including final
   production processes and day to day management,
   thereby increasing employability and facilitating

   To broaden relationships with employers through
   mentorship and design brief exchanges.

   To generate third stream income for the DUT and for


   To broaden relationships with industry suppliers and
   associated industries.

   To serve as a research and development testing
Objectives of this Project

   To preserve the integrity of the DUT and the
   Department of Visual Communication Design through
   sound business practice and conduct.

   To generate capital to sustain the studio beyond the 18
   month marker.

   To establish relationships with employers, the two
   target academic institutions, the DUT and UKZN, and
   clients by Dec 2009. This will be achieved through a
   series of launches and a promotion campaign.
Target Markets

    DUT faculties and departments requiring non-corporate
    visual communication and design, in strict adherence to
    the DUT’s Corporate Identity Specifications.

     University of KwaZulu Natal and Mangosuthu University
    of Technology: faculties and departments requiring non-
    corporate visual communication and design, again in
    strict adherence to Corporate Identity Specifications.

    NGOs and non-profit organizations,

    Advertising and Design Studios – mentored ‘agency brief’
    projects                          online logo, illustration
    and photography bank

    Strategically the target clientele is structured to
    circumvent conflicts with industry and the DUT’s Design
Studio role as a profit generating concern

    The studio will aim to offer quality visual
    communication design, servicing the greater Durban

    It will position its price point competitively in the
    marketplace. However profit margins will not equate to
    that of industry given the slower turn around times of

    Lecturers will continue to facilitate learning and
    assessment and to offer necessary tuition.

    The studio will also undertake to avoid conflicts of
    interest with employers and the Graphic Design and
    Advertising Industry wherever possible, and would
    prefer to take a ‘supportive’ position. This could
    include assisting on pitches, over-flow work, taking
Service Offering

    Primary: Below-the-Line Media including packaging.

    Secondary: advertising, online publishing, new media;
    ambient media, environmental design, information
    design, illustration and in-house photography.

    Possible: Digital video and editing, stop frame and
    Flash animation, and interactivity. Specialist skills and
    product development depending on student research

    Online logo, illustration and photography bank.

    Large format and A3 digital printing service for
    students and staff at the DUT, dependent on funding.
    The purchase of this equipment will not only remove
    the need to outsource digital proofing from the studio,
    but will serve as a very necessary source of income to
    build capital.
Business Philosophy

   First commitment is to education

   A generalist service offering.

   The Studio is well positioned to begin campaigning to assist in
   2010 Soccer World Cup pitchwork and related briefs as of
   January 2010.

   The studio will be situated within the BTech (Honours) Year
   framework. A combined wealth of knowledge concerning the
   running of a Graphic Design Business exists amongst DVCD
   staff. The staff are well placed to facilitate: research, product
   development and issues relating to the day to day supervision
   of the studio, regarding business, creative direction, print and
   video production.

   Low overheads and small accounts

   Protected working environment
Marketing Strategy

   Building the Studio’s brand in association with the DUT
   brand offers advantages and disadvantages.

   Recent negative publicity surrounding the DUT brand
   concerning safety and stability does pose some significant
   ‘perception’ hurdles.

   The DVCD has worked hard to raise its profile in the
   public eye and has achieved many recent accolades, being
   recognized as Institution of the Year for 2006 and 2007 at
   the South African Sappi Think Awards.

   The branding, marketing and communication, and service
   delivery of this fledgling brand will need to be that much
   more assertive and precise in order to sustain growth.

   A South African studio for a South African Market place.
Marketing Strategy Perceptions

   The Graphic Design and Advertising Industry Perception

   The studio positions itself in a supportive role.

   It should be perceived as supporting the industry; a potential
   source of fresh and innovative ideas; an opportunity to
   contribute to education; a welcome addition when work loads

   A mentorship programme could be developed to strengthen
   relationships between students and potential employers, and to
   encourage industry support and participation. The studio could
   also be seen to be providing a research and development
Marketing Strategy Positioning Platform

   A funky, young, distinctively South African, conceptually,
   strategically, craft driven, student focused, design and
   advertising studio that serves to close a longstanding gap in
   graphic design education at the DUT.

   Knowledgeable about both the Youth Market and previously
   marginalised cultures.
Marketing Strategy - Competition

   The immediate competition are those in DUT and UKZN that
   are producing visual material informally, i.e. outside the
   structure of the Corporate Identity programme, and not through
   internal design services or external design studios.

   Vega Brand Communication School – to a small extent given
   that many studios in Durban facilitate, internships and work
   integrated learning focussed projects, with Vega students.

   Internal design studios within NGOs and tertiary institutions

   Xerocopy Centre at UKZN
Marketing Strategy - Pricing

   The studio aims to match the lower end of
   professional/industry pricing structures, but understands that
   students will take longer to produce the same solutions. To this
   end prices quoted will not match time spent.

   Pricing does play an important role in this strategy but not at
   the expense of good education opportunities. Customers should
   ideally feel that they are receiving a quality solution for slightly
   more than they expected to pay. This position is based on a
   common perception by the public that student work is cheap.
Proposed Location

  After much consideration the Loft on the second floor of the
  City Campus has been chosen as the proposed location for the
  studio. The Interior Design Department has agreed to run a
  student project to offer interior design solutions to the studio
  layout and aesthetics. The space will need to fulfill key

  The work experience should be reflected in the space, true to
  those spaces in industry.

  Creative professionalism, a little intangible, yet professional.

  Earmarking a customer parking space on the south side of the

  The fact that the DUT’s Design Studio is on another campus
  assists in psychologically separating the two service offerings.
Role Players & Significant Milestones

   Role Players

   The Business Plan has been informed by engagement with
   various industry, legal, education, business and administration
   advisors both in South Africa and the UK.

   Significant Milestones

   1/07/09   FACE Conference

   20/07/09 Develop Brand Identity and Stationery - Student

   17/08/09 Interior Design - Rob Garrett’s Design Proposal

   31/11/09 Relationships with employers and clients established

   1/12/09   Launch to DUT

   05/01/09 Doors Open

   30/02/10 Launch to Industry
Marketing Strategy Primary Communications Message

   “Build graphic design education by giving us your advice,
   support, and business. The advertising and design industry,
   and the tertiary education fraternity in Durban have a key role
   to play in facilitating experiential learning.”

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