Green Mountain College • Fall 2011

Media Campaigns and Advocacy
Words + Pictures: Visual Communication Now
(ART 3057/CMJ 3020)

Location: Griswold Library Mac Lab 015
Times: Mondays and Thursdays, 4:00 – 5:30 pm
Dates: August 29th – November 21st
Instructor: Jonathan Taylor •
Office Hours by Appointment

Course Description: Students will explore and utilize graphic design and visual marketing across contemporary media channels: print, video, social, web, and locative. Student resources (Smartphones, cell phones, and digital cameras) will be combined with the professional tools of Adobe Creative Suite. Web 2.0 and 3.0 sites and technology will be discussed and explored. Using the class as a test market and social network, each student will complete a series of mini visual marketing projects that will introduce the essential constraints and possibilities of each channel: print, video, social, web, and locative. The class will engage in an on-going dialog about civility, identity, ethics, privacy rights, and intellectual property. Students will study and present on a current brand that is successfully marketing across media channels while building and maintaining a strong identity. Course will culminate with the design and execution of a comprehensive multi-channel visual marketing campaign. Cell phone and Facebook account required.

Four class hours plus eight to twelve hours of independent work per week.

Course Goals

  • Gain an in-depth understanding of today’s inter-connected media landscape for textual and visual marketing.
  • Learn to fluidly choose and use a wide-variety of visual, design, web, mobile, and locative tools depending individualized marketing needs.
  • Be familiar with and wary of the ethical, privacy, and intellectual property issues that pervade today’s media landscape.
  • Understand the essential problems and possibilities of maintaining a corporate or brand identity in a potentially fragmented media landscape.

Projects & Readings

Although the Message projects will be introduced to the class in the order listed, they may be completed in any order as the student chooses. This will allow advanced students greater flexibility in their explorations and projects while less experienced students can stick with a set structure. This excludes the Presentation and Final Projects that will have set due dates.

  • Weekly Article Blog and Forum

Read and respond to article posted to the class blog every week.

  • The Photo Message

Photo imagery is an all-pervasive part of our everyday lives. Increasing use of facial recognition technology and photo tagging allow images to connect us in an expanding web of relationships. Use cell-phone or digital camera images and possibly social networking to visually communicate something specific about a product, service, event, cause, brand, or not-for-profit to the class’s social network.

  • The Character Message

The last decades have seen rapid changes in the use of text-based communication. We now freely use our predominately phonetic alphabetic writing system in ways that are logographic or syllabic, for example a colon and parenthesis for a smiley face or the number glyph “8” to represent the sound syllable “ate.” Cell phone texting has only increased this trend. Explore and exploit the boundaries of text-based communication to craft a character-based marketing campaign using cell phone texting, chat, or Twitter.

  • The Video Message

Produce a YouTube video for the class’s test market group. Identify and execute three promotion strategies to drive your view rank.

  • The Mobile/Locative Message

Experiment with ways that Foursquare, Facebook Places, Gowalla, Booyah, and Yelp can affect local business traffic or event participation OR consider the possibility of mobile applications— would an app be a good way for your business to connect with customers?

  • Presentations: Multi-Channel Brand Study (Double Grade)

Identity 5 to 10 brands that interest you personally. Start to follow these brands over as many communications channels as possible. Eventually choose one brand that you think is doing the best job. Document and analyze their efforts with particular attention to how they maintain and strengthen their brand identity across media channels. Prepare a 20-minute visual and spoken presentation of your results and analysis to the class.

  • The Social Message

Use at least 3 Facebook features to promote a product, service, event, cause, brand, or not-for-profit.

  • The Web Message

Setup a weblog and post to it on a regular basis.

  • The Print Message

Use Adobe InDeisgn and your own images to design a simple printed promotional piece. Print 100 through, distribute, and analyze the results.

Final Project

Your job is to infect them… to make your thoughts into their obsessions, your whims into their rapacious desires.
—Chip Kidd, The Cheese Monkeys
A brand’s character is built through thousands of discrete and seemingly random encounters, each adding meaning.
—JDK, Manifesto: the Consciousness of Chaos
In this project you will design a series of connected “brand encounters” (ads, events, displays) that build the character of a product, service, event, cause, brand, or not-for-profit and motivate individuals to take specific intended actions.

Course Grading & Resubmission Policy

Design and marketing are a non-linear disciplines; in other words, break-throughs and achievement can happen in any order, at any time randomly. Following this principle, I will allow any assignment that was turned in complete and on time to be re-submitted for a better grade at any time during the semester. Please also include the original grade sheet with any resubmission!

Regular Assignment Average 80%
Final Project 20%

Late Work: 6 point initial penalty, 3 points per class meeting, with 30 point maximum


Each student is expected to make a commitment to attend all classes and be ON TIME. If you have a conflict that will make you late on regular basis— drop now. Always let me know if you are going to be absent or late before the start of class. If a student should miss more than three classes an attendance report will be filed with the Dean’s office and the instructor may opt to withdraw the student from the course. Arriving late for class will count as half an absence.


If you have a hidden or visible disability that may require classroom or test accommodations, please see me and register with the Calhoun Learning Center.


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