CCAD helps nonprofit Keep Ohio Beautiful

nolan presenting keep ohio beautiful

Keep Ohio Beautiful helps communities improve their waste-handling practices, litter prevention, recycling, beautification, and other community greening efforts. And when the nonprofit needed some help of its own, it turned to Columbus College of Art & Design students for assistance.

Four teams of Advertising & Graphic Design students in CCAD’s Advanced Typographic Communication class were tasked with developing concepts and designs for Keep Ohio Beautiful’s 2019 Annual Report, to be published in 2020. They presented their concepts for the book and page design to the client, who ultimately chose the winning submission. 

Experiential, real-world projects such as this are a key part of learning at CCAD. 

The students faced a number of challenges in their work for Keep Ohio Beautiful, whose complex content for its annual report included large volumes of text, statistical data, maps, quotations, testimonials, and name lists. For students, a project of this complexity provided an opportunity to hone their skills in areas such as page design as well as the typographic principles, strategies, and history necessary to ensure the report’s legibility and readability. And, of course, they also learned how to work in teams, make a professional presentation, research a client’s mission and goals, and develop an actual concept.

So, at the start of the fall 2019 semester, they embarked on a crash course led by Adjunct Faculty Oscar Fernández to prepare them for the task before the project kicked off in earnest in late October 2019. 

group of people in classroom

In developing their concepts, the students saw that there was a need for Keep Ohio Beautiful to improve its connection to younger audiences, says Fernández. They wanted to “better inform them about Keep Ohio Beautiful’s noble work and mission, to make the annual report more personalized, friendlier, and far more informative,” especially for those who were unfamiliar with the organization, he says. 

Fernández says working with professional clients on projects provides valuable learning experiences for design students. Students, he says, “become aware that they are not only working for a client, helping them meet their business or institutional goals, but that they are ultimately responsible to the audience. Style is important, but it is only passenger in a communication vehicle. It is not the engine.”

To that end, students discover that designing a solution for a client “is only half the battle,” he says. “Making the presentation is a design problem in itself. They have to convince, compel and inspire the client that this is the best solution for their problem. They need to learn how to speak in public, how to make rational, strategic points without speaking in “designerese.”

The students whose team submission was selected for the 2019 Keep Ohio Beautiful report are:  

Fredi Bockover, Jesus Garcia, Emma Stephens, Nolan Warren, and Stephanie Wott (all Advertising & Graphic Design, 2021).

“Working on a project for a real-world client gives great experience without as much of the pressure because our professor was able to help with a lot of the details,” says Warren.

The project helped her “learn the dos and don’ts of presenting to a client, how to communicate and share files effectively, and how to work to our team’s strengths based on the skill sets available,” she says. “It was a great experience.”


Learn more about Advertising & Graphic Design at CCAD or apply here.