"Taking the Plunge" is a annual event hosted by the Kutztown University Communication Design program. Since 2011, the event has invited CD graduates back to Kutztown to share experiences of their post-grad life. Even though "Taking the Plunge" offers valuable experience for students year after year, hectic CD schedules often results in low attendance for the event. Already possessing a wonderful concept and spirit, this event just needed to remind students just how special it really is.
The brand of "Taking the Plunge" is always changing with every year, while consistently keeping some variation of a watery theme. As the event coordinator for a year, I decided that using bubblebaths and rubber ducks not only kept with tradition, but also felt fun and unique. "Taking the Plunge" is about a very stressful time in students' lives, so to portray "the plunge" as a rubber duck perched above a bathtub was my way of putting the situation into perspective. There might be a lot of worry and anxiety that comes with graduation, but in the end we're all going to survive the dive.
The poster and social media materials I created were all hand-drawn using micron pens. Even though this was an extra project on top of a heap of classwork, I still worked to fine-tune my design as much as possible. While hand-drawing my elements was a bit time-consuming, it allowed me to work in a media that I was very familiar with and proficient in. While I may've lost a little time, my poster's unique style gave it the ability to stand out among dozens of others in busy hallways.
Once the pieces of the poster were all inked, they were scanned into Illustrator where they were assembled and digitally colored. I chose a bright color scheme to reinforce the fun concept behind the theme. After some print tests I could tell my work was headed in the right direction; only a few extra highlights and shadows were added to finalize the poster for "Taking the Plunge."
To make sure that the seats at "Taking the Plunge" were absolutely packed on opening night, I went beyond my poster and organized a team of five AIGA student officers. Under my direction, we hid over 100 small rubber ducks in CD classrooms and hallways during the week before the big event; anyone who managed to find one and bring it to "Taking the Plunge" would receive a small prize from us. I coordinated our "duck raids" during times when CD spaces were vacant, with every hiding place recorded on a master list to keep track of the little yellow guys. A micro-campaign such as ours had never been executed before, leaving the student body and faculty buzzing over our hidden ducks. Not only that, but we were wildly successful: "Taking The Plunge" drew a full house and broke an event record in attendance.
All of the work put into this event was considered "extra work," and with a chaotic schedule of my own, it would've been easy to perform the bare minimum for the event promotion. However, I wasn't satisfied with that and took on the extra work, executing it all in a fun and unique way. That might've been much more demanding, but with my team behind me we were able to build something memorable and special together. In a way, we learned how to take the plunge ourselves: take on as much work as you can and do it all to the best of your abilities, and good things are sure to come.