Partnership with California winery gives students a taste of the real world
CCAD’s Advertising & Graphic Design program prepares students for careers as graphic designers, web designers, art directors, creative directors, and more. Graduates go on to work in design firms, large corporations—and just about every industry you can imagine. Since 2013 CCAD has partnered with California-based E. & J. Gallo Winery to provide students with real-world experience in the classroom and connections that lead to career opportunities.
The partnership, which now includes an elective packaging design course and internships at the winery, began with CCAD alum Corinne Corbett (Illustration, 2001), Creative Director for E. & J. Gallo.
“At Gallo, we have an internship program that is robust and offers wonderful learning and growth opportunities for designers starting their careers,” says Corbett. “I remembered just how important those programs were to me at CCAD, which inspired me to reach out to my alma mater.”
Joshua Bodman, Chair and Associate Professor of the Advertising & Graphic Design program at CCAD, says the college is always looking for partnerships that will benefit students.
“For many courses, we bring in outside clients in which the company gets to see our students in action as part of the course,” says Bodman. “For the packaging class, students collaborate on packaging, point of purchase, marketing, branding, and strategy. In turn, our students get recruited by Gallo as interns. For many, this has led to full-time employment with the company.”
In addition to the internships Corbett completed while at CCAD, she also remembers how valuable the class projects with outside companies were. “Those projects were especially important for career development, as we received feedback from professionals. My goal was to bring that kind of experience to CCAD.”
CCAD invited Gallo to an event held at the time called Directions, a reverse job fair during which students with portfolios and presentations set up tables and employers queued up to meet them. For Gallo, it was a convincing beginning. Since then, Gallo representatives have participated in both CCAD's Connections Career Fair and Recruiting on Campus (ROC Show) program annually.
“One of the reasons the recruiting partnership with E. & J. Gallo has been so successful is their investment in both CCAD as a school and in our alumni as employees,” says Tiffany Sperring, Director of Career Services at CCAD. “E. & J. Gallo representatives have spent countless hours on campus cultivating relationships with CCAD candidates, which has led to a deep level of mutual trust and commitment in the hiring and onboarding process.”
The relationship is a win-win, says E. & J. Gallo Design Director Jennie McGee. “On the student side, they receive our professional feedback as we guide them through the packaging design process in order for them to develop a portfolio piece at the end of the class. For Gallo, we get to know the students better as well as see their teamwork capabilities, which help us identify potential internship candidates.”
Nine students have gone on to complete internships at E. & J. Gallo in recent years; four went on to become full-time employees in various creative services roles. The company has also hired two CCAD graduates directly.
Despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the relationship was maintained, as senior Angela Guerra-Sapp (Advertising & Graphic Design, 2021) interned with the winery during the summer of 2020.
“I took the Packaging Design class in the fall of 2019, and at the end of the project a [Gallo] team member came out to watch our presentation and offer feedback,” recalls Guerra-Sapp. “It was for a class, but it offered a look at life outside of college, working with a real-life client.”
While the internship was done virtually because of the pandemic, Guerra-Sapp, who is minoring in Photography, says the experience was still beneficial.
“It felt like a full-time job,” Guerra-Sapp says. “The group of interns designed a whole campaign. Plus, we were able to sit in on a variety of meetings, to see all aspects of the approval process and to work on brand audits for a bunch of different brands. I definitely feel more prepared for job seeking and the marketplace.”
Bodman says packaging is just one of the areas where students can find employment after graduation. “Columbus is chock-full with packaging opportunities, but because our department is holistic we have students who have worked in branding, strategy, advertising, illustration, Web, UX, motion, packaging, content marketing, social media, and graphic design. Our job placement after graduation is through the roof. Our students are being positioned to get in the field and get to work right away.”
The partnership continues in the spring of 2021 with CCAD’s Packaging Design course led by CCAD Adjunct Faculty Aaron Searles, who says the new virtual collaboration will continue fostering the nine-year relationship between CCAD and Gallo and providing real-world design experience for students.
“Our objective is to conceive, develop, and execute brand/package campaigns based on a theme provided by Gallo,” says Searles. “A great benefit to the project is working in groups, with each student bringing core skills to support their campaign. We have students focused on brand/identity, graphics/media, copywriting, photography, illustration, and presentation. Forming the right groups is critical for a competitive balance. Strong groups encourage and push one another to deliver exemplary package designs to the client.”
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Stagecoach Vineyard is the largest contiguous vineyard in the Napa Valley, with elevations ranging between 1,200 and 1,750 feet. The 1,300+ acres of rocky, volcanic terroir extends from the southern edge of the Pritchard Hill Region, overlooking Oakville, to the westernmost regions of the Atlas Peak AVA.
Packaging Design presentation to Jennie McGee of E. & J. Gallo and CCAD Adjunct Instructor Aaron Searles.
Final designs presented by CCAD students as part of the fall 2019 Packaging Design course.