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Graphic and Service Design

The Department of Graphic Design has worked with many nonprofits in Morgantown, for the City at different times, and in partnership with other colleges at WVU who are interested in community engagement. 

Fran assembling signs
These partnerships garnered a group of interested faculty, city officials and community members willing to help plan the conference We wanted to borrow all of the best interactive experiences we had witnessed at professional conferences, and avoid all of the things that kept people from being engaged, including the improvisation theatre troop, t he Theatre of Public Policy. 

Speakers, lightning talk projects, and nine workshops from across the country formed the main structure of the conference, with a community dinner for all downtown, and a diptych banner competition that invited designers from across the nation and beyond to imagine ideas that could bridge divides without assigning blame. The City gave us all of the banner locations on the main street to exhibit the winning designs for two months. 

The challenge given to graphic design students was to propose and execute service design for the conference attendees to keep them feeling welcome, heard, engaged, delighted and connected, as well as directed to where they needed to go. 

This involved expected design tasks, such as adding animation to the talks, a web site and social media, useful giveaways that would not go into the landfill, as well as added value projects they proposed to keep our diverse audience feeling counted, wanted, having fun, and in conversation. Because we had street people and professionals at the conference, we made business cards for everyone without status, but allowing each one to put names and something they heard worth sharing on the card. We let people pick avatars for their nametags to give people something in common to discuss. We let people self-identify with six questions in colored yarn so that all could see the diversity attending the conference. We made boxes with prompt questions and button rewards to entice conversation at the community dinner that was accompanied by Sufi musicians. An interactive display of speakers and attendees flipped squares that were also equipped with QR codes that would allow you to hear from the portrait on the display in her own words. We also provided visualizing services to workshops, t-shirt and button designs. In anticipation of the conference, we designed group board game prototypes that might be played with the challenge of winning only by collaboration.