Parking on campus can be, notoriously, a frustrating and anything-but-fun endeavor. And CampusParc is the first to admit it. That’s why the parking organization enlisted a group of 18 senior visual communication design students for help in making parking a better experience for visitors and permit holders.
“We considered turning to some local environmental design firms, but that didn’t seem very customer-driven,” explained Sarah Blouch, CampusParc president and CEO. “So we decided to take advantage of the resources at the university and contacted the Department of Design. We knew their students would take a fact-based approach, do the research and help us connect better with our customers.”
CampusParc enlisted the help of Peter Chan and Paul Nini, both design professors, and embarked on a process to determine how the CampusParc brand can contribute to a more positive experience in garages and surface lots. “This involved multiple discussion sessions between us, the CampusParc team and students in our summer workshop and fall semester advanced visual communication design studio course,” Chan said.
Students in the studio course were split into six teams and tasked with solving the design problem. They had ongoing meetings with their client, CampusParc, conducted research and developed insights to help enhance customer experiences. The teams presented their projects to their professors and CampusParc leaders in December.
Their solutions ranged from social media campaigns for relating better with clients to garage murals, way-finding systems, rewards and perks, and rebranding the organization.
Teams were judged on the clarity of their rationale, relevance of their applications, creativity and innovation, and overall solutions.
Students found the project of value.
“Working with clients is always a challenging opportunity for us as students, and working with a ‘real-life’ design challenge allowed us to flex our creative muscles, practice our design research principals and learn how to juggle the client’s desires with the users’ needs and our teachers’ advice to create a practical solution,” said Sky Carver.
Her group devised a comprehensive “social care” solution that used social media to provide in-depth and responsive customer service to people parking on campus. “Our solution encompassed a new social media brand, a guide to social care interactions with diagrammed examples and tutorial and promotional videos and posts for CampusParc to begin using right away,” she said. “By using social care, CampusParc will be able to better communicate with and offer help to their users in a timely, caring manner.”
That solution by Carver and her Group 5 teammates, Rachel Herman and Lucas Pacheco, was voted “best overall project” by the CampusParc leaders.
“We were very impressed with all of the student projects,” Blouch said. “Group 5’s presentation style was very engaging, and they really offered practical, relevant and manageable solutions for us. Their recommendations were not only creative, they made good business sense too. We’re already adopting some of their ideas.”