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 (UEL) Presentation: Rowan Gatfield and Piers Carey Draft Business Plan
Introduction 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-leavers; financial hardship amongst potential and current students: ignorance and/or negative perceptions of the DUT and the discipline 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, TBWA, • Amnesty International, the Sunday Tribune, • Mr. Price Stores and House and Leisure magazine.
Objectivesof this Project • Primary: • 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 entrepreneurship. • To broaden relationships with employers through mentorship and design brief exchanges. • To generate third stream income for the DUT and for students. • Secondary: • To broaden relationships with industry suppliers and associated industries. • To serve as a research and development testing ground and demonstrator for further DUT/WIL projects.
Objectivesof 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’ projectsonline logo, illustration and photography bank • Strategically the target clientele is structured to circumvent conflicts with industry and the DUT’s Design Studio.
Studiorole as a profit generating concern • The studio will aim to offer quality visual communication design, servicing the greater Durban area. • 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 jobs. • 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 over unwanted briefs or working with agencies and design studios on a research/project basis.
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 areas. • 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 overflow. • 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 service.
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 gapin 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 criteria: • 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 building. • 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 Project • 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.”