When you want to draw attention, you create a poster. But when you want to draw a crowd, you create an experience. Along with hand-drawing a poster in a unique "rubber duck" theme, I lead a team of students to coordinate and hide a flock of small rubber ducks around classrooms and hallways for potential attendees to find, promising a prize to those that tracked them down and brought them to the event My team and I left the student body buzzing, drawing a record attendance in the process.
"Taking the Plunge" is a annual event hosted by the Kutztown University Communication Design program. Since 2011, the event has had former CD graduates back on campus to share experiences and advice from their post-grad life. Even though it offers valuable experience for students year after year, the event has seen low attendance as a result of packed student schedules. Already possessing a wonderful concept and spirit, "Taking the Plunge" just needed to remind students just how special an opportunity it offered.
TtP's look-and-feel always changes with every year, but always keeps some variation of a "watery" theme. As the event coordinator, I decided that using bubblebaths and rubber ducks not only kept with tradition, but also felt fun and unique. TtP focuses on a point of uncertainty and anxiety in students' lives, so to portray "the plunge" as a rubber duck perched above a bathtub helps to put the situation into perspective in a fresh visual way.
The poster and social media materials were all hand-drawn with micron pens. Although this technique took a bit more time to polish, the poster's unique style gave it the necessary ability to stand out among dozens of others in busy hallways.
Once the individual pieces were all inked, they were assembled and colored digitally. A bright color scheme was chosen to reinforce the fun concept behind the theme.
To make sure that seats were packed, I went beyond the poster and organized a small team of AIGA student officers. Under my direction, we hid over 100 small rubber ducks in design classrooms and hallways during the week before the big event; anyone who could find one and bring it to "Taking the Plunge" was promised a small reward. An interactive campaign had never been done before, and it left the student body and faculty buzzing over the hidden ducks. In the end, the event was a great success, drawing a full house of squeaking ducks and braking an event-record in attendance.