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Graphic Design Students Flex Branding Muscles, Craft Visual Identity for JW Marriott jdek Staff

Posted July 23, 2018 in StudentGraphic Design

In Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD) Graphic Design instructor John Koziatek’s Branding II: Integrated Branding Campaigns class, students don’t just study the ways in which layout, type, image, color, and messaging are used to bring brands to life throughout a variety of media; they actively learn by working directly with clients on branding projects with real-world implications.

Following a successful collaboration last year, Koziatek’s students were tapped again this spring by the JW Marriott hotel in downtown Grand Rapids to design new uniforms for staff at the hotel’s outdoor patio restaurant, jdek. The real challenge, however, was to capture the restaurant’s brand identity and essence: a careful blend of hip chic and farm-to-table regionalism.

 “While my Branding I class focuses on understanding the core fundamentals and nuances of brand identity design including developing brand strategy and concepts, Branding II emphasizes leveraging, adapting and integrating brand identity components and messaging (whether new or existing) throughout a variety of media,” says Koziatek. “The downtown Grand Rapids JW Marriott understands the necessity and value of brand identity integration, and we welcomed the opportunity to once again apply our in-class learning to a real-world outside experience.”

The project was again framed as a competition, with JW Marriott management and staff judging entries on originality, creativity, and brand compatibility.

Senior Cori Kromrei took 1st place and a $300 prize with a design reflecting jdek’s regional flavor and its location overlooking the Grand River while also evoking the JW Marriott’s cosmopolitan flair with an impressionist aesthetic inspired by Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.”

T-shirt designwinning design by Cori Kromrei (image courtesy of Cori Kromrei)

2nd place and a $150 prize went to senior Sarah Burch. Her wood print-inspired design highlighted the natural feel of jdek’s dining area, focusing on elements of sunshine, wind, flowing water, and the restaurant’s herb garden wall. 

T-shirt design2nd place design by Sarah Burch (image courtesy of Sarah Burch)

3rd place and a $75 prize was awarded to senior Tyler Wendling, whose design featured a cool, urban take on the Griffin symbol used in the JW Marriot logo.

T-shirt design3rd place design by Tyler Wendling (image courtesy of Tyler Wendling)

“It has been a wonderful experience working with this year’s KCAD students. These are some of the most professional students the JW Marriott Grand Rapids has ever worked with,” says JW Marriott Grand Rapids Assistant Manager Nicholas Reames. “The caliber of work is top notch, and we are honored to work with future leaders of the industry.”


Learn more about KCAD’s Graphic Design program.