Big Ideas makes a Big Impact : Part 1

SHLF team

VFS Digital Design’s Big Ideas course gives students the opportunity to utilize their well-honed skills while working closely with local non-profit organizations to give back to communities in need. Big Ideas gives our students exposure to real clients, so as to apply innovative solutions, meant to be easily implemented, to their challenging problems. It provides them with the chance to create designs that effect real change in the world. Over an intense two-month period, students in teams fervently work to create awareness campaigns, branding concepts, and inspirational motion pieces.

The creative process for this term’s Big Ideas course was mentored by industry veterans Tiffany Hamilton (Director at Arista Investment Group Inc.) and Gagan Diesh (Creative Director at DesignStamp). The clients were the Strachan Hartley Legacy Foundation & the Vancouver Peak Oil Organization.

In this post, we look at the Strachan Hartley Legacy Foundation (SHLF) brief — in Part 2, we’ll look at the brief for Vancouver Peak Oil Organization.


SHLF is a local non-profit organization whose mission is “To provide youth the opportunity to achieve their full potential through sports and education. To make a difference.” Students broke out into 3 teams to develop distinct strategies for their brief, which were both broad and specific. Broadly, the aim was to help build greater community awareness and attract more sponsors using innovative, creative and cost-effective solutions. Specifically, there was an immediate need to address awareness about their upcoming 6th annual 5/10k run in North Vancouver (October 14, 2012).

SHLF t-shirt

Three complementary design pieces and marketing campaigns were developed:

1) A Pre-Run Event to promote the actual run in October, complete with a commemorative T-Shirt, a Facebook page featuring a motion design piece, an invitation to the special Pre-Run and a challenge to participants to arrange their own flash mob runs and receive the special SHLF T-shirts before the annual run on Oct 14. They also presented an idea for branding each annual run distinctively, beginning with “Run 2012: Keep Running – Make a Difference” for this year.

flash mob pre run

2) A Motion Design piece about how SHLF uses sponsor’s donations to make a difference in the lives of many local underprivileged students. It shows how partnering with local organizations that share their vision, such as Take a Hike and Streetfont, is integral to their success, and features interviews with participating youth who tell powerful stories of how being able to participate in outdoor events and alternative school changed their lives for the better. The team proposed situating the Motion Design piece in a sponsor microsite template, which could be customized to suite each prospective sponsor (logo, content), thus allowing for specific attention to particular clients that could be updated on an ongoing basis. This feature also has the added bonus of functioning for the sponsor as a direct share to their company, which could help SHLF win sponsorship support.

Increase awareness

3) An animated Motion Design Infographic focusing on SHLF’s mission and success. The team produced something that was both entertaining and informative, and ends with a call to action: Join the October run! They presented a unique distribution plan for the video, which involved circulating it, via email and/or Facebook, to volunteers and past run participants, who would be asked to share it with a note of thanks with people who have helped them in some way in their life. The best thank you message or story would be celebrated at the end of the SHLF annual run and an honorarium given in the form of a prize or other special recognition.

Swot Analysis

The teams’s three solutions were loved by SHLF, who decided to use them all! Here is what Anasabina Dys, SHLF Committee Member had to say about the efforts of students in Digital Design’s Big Ideas course:

“We were so thrilled and fortunate to have the opportunity of working with the students in the Digital Design class, and we have enjoyed every step along the way. After months of the students working hard, we were invited to view the campaigns three different groups created for SHLF. We were amazed at the quality of work the students had completed, all the groups were dead on to what we were hoping to achieve, and how we wanted to come across as a non-profit organization. They all took time to understand us, to present strategic campaigns, and to provide solutions that we could take and move forward with. We are excited to implement the campaigns, and to share the work with our supporters. We want to thank VFS for giving back to the community in such a special way, and a huge thank you to all the students that worked long hours to present us with real solutions. We have no doubt that with these tools, we will be able to create awareness for what we do and why we do it.”

Congratulations to the students for their amazing work!


Leave Comments