Digital Design Students Spark Action for Non-Profits

Commanding audience attention is not as easy as it might appear. That was the motivation behind a challenge he gave to four teams of Term 3 students: take all that knowledge, savvy, and talent you’re amassing during your year and focus it on increasing awareness for three great causes. The Interactive and Information Design course is a seven-week bullet train ride through the creative process. Students present information across multiple mediums to increase audience understanding, influence opinions, and encourage action. It was VFS students tackling real issues, providing real solutions, to get real results.

That’s a lot of reality. Digital Design makes it happen by working with actual not-for-profit organizations with very real design needs. Client Proxies act as intermediaries to facilitate the process and ensure that students are getting what they need out of the experience, from an educational point of view.

All of that means that students are experiencing the reality of the design world – in other words, it’s a lot more than just an academic exercise.

Here are the three causes:

Hope Air
Team: Kristina Lyne, Kim Oxlund, Charla Zapanta, Pedro Magalhaes
The Challenge: An organization dedicated to “getting Canadians to getting better,” Hope Air believes that everyone in Canada should have access to the healthcare they need, regardless of distance or cost of travel. Donations, awareness, and corporate sponsorship are all key to the success of this organization.


“I was very impressed with the team’s creativity and enthusiasm,” says this project’s Client Proxy, Gagan Diesh. “It was a pleasure to work with designers who do great creative work, and also follow a structured process. The team took the time to learn about Hope Air’s business, their target objectives, and audiences. The result is a beautifully visualized, informative interactive microsite.”

“As a designer myself, I was heartened to see the team’s professionalism, dedication and attention to detail, and look forward to working with them in the future.”

Cyber Bullying
Team: Paul Belen, Felipe Dos Santos, Luis Francisco Coutinho, Tamish Aswani
The Challenge: Today, bullying is a 24/7 problem. Social networks, email, text, and chat rooms have increased the exposure that children and young adults have with cyber bullies. Empowering and educating both parents and children is the first step in understanding and preventing cyber bullying.

Mission accomplished: this project has already seen real success, earning some serious press coverage.


“The team was able to carefully interweave education on a serious topic with a compelling story told through great video shots and innovative animated overlays,” says Client Proxy Tiffany Hamilton. “They definitely brought much more than I had expected by delivering a polished, well-thought-through design project that met the majority of the brief’s goals.”

“It was evident that this team was very committed from the beginning and presented themselves and their deliverables in a professional way.”

LOCO BC
Team 1: Aaron Traversy, Ricardo Torres, Erian Trotland, Thomas McKeen
Team 2: Teresa Chang, Robert Soo, Anita Kwan, Scott Strathern
The Challenge: “Own your Own” is a campaign to inspire awareness of what makes Vancouver innovative, unique, and fun. This organization is committed to supporting local businesses that strive to source local products and services. Creating a campaign that encourages Vancouverites to support local businesses will create employment, increase the number of boutique shops and reduce environmental impacts.


Two teams actually made projects for this cause. Team 1 developed a motion-based solution – that’s a still on the left. Team 2, meanwhile, created a project that combines print, interactive, and mobile elements – you can get an idea of how it works below.

“Overall, I was really impressed with the students and the work they produced,” says Client Proxy and LOCO internet strategist Katja Macura.

“Both teams presented design concepts that are creative and forward-thinking while delivering on the project objectives,” she says. “The quality of deliverables was extremely professional and clearly outlined a sophisticated thought process.”

“The students were confident and engaging in their presentations, as well as being a pleasure to work with. I’m excited to share both of these projects with the LOCO board!”

Three causes, four teams, happy clients all around. And, above all, the kind of firsthand experience these students wouldn’t get any other way. That’s the reality.

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