Branding On Demand: Graphic Design Students Create New Look For JW Marriott Jdek Staff
When the JW Marriott hotel in downtown Grand Rapids needed a new look for staff at its outdoor restaurant, jdek, it turned to the Graphic Design program at Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD).
Always on the lookout for opportunities to provide his students with real-world design experiences, Graphic Design instructor John Koziatek decided to turn the hotel’s request into a competition for his Branding: Identity and Promotion class.
“Opportunities like this help elevate student knowledge as well as provide good-spirited creative competition, networking, collaboration, and professional experience. As such, I believe the overall student experience far exceeds any recognition and reward they may receive from a client,” says Koziatek. “Although the potential benefits for a client are just as abundant, many are impressed with the quantity and quality of concepts they receive as well as enjoy understanding the unique perspectives that our students are capable of delivering.”
Graphic Design instructor John Koziatek (middle) and his students review their winning designs with JW Marriott Grand Rapids Assistant General Manager Nicholas Remes (bottom left)
Each student worked to translate the JW Marriott’s chic, hip brand identity into a new original design for a uniform for its outdoor jdek staff. Hotel management and several staff members evaluated all entries and selected winners based on brand alignment, originality, and creativity.
1st place and a $300 prize went to Mary Nowels, whose design spoke to the global reach of the JW Marriott. Nowels’ concept emphasized the five distinct sister city locations of the hotel and featured individual imprints of prominent streets, interpreted as the “veins” of their respective cities. Her design has already been put into production, and will be worn by jdek staff throughout the summer.
1st place design by Mary Nowels (image courtesy of the artist)
2nd place and a $150 prize went to Samantha Boudiab. Boudiab’s design was an abstraction based on the connection between the jdek and the Grand River while also bringing to life the hotel’s “eat local, feel global” mentality. Her design is currently being considered for production on aprons to be worn by jdek wait staff.
2nd place design by Samantha Boudiab (image courtesy of the artist)
3rd place and a $75 prize went to Veronica Peterson for her unique perspective of the hotel’s riverfront location. Peterson’s design transformed geometric shapes that appear throughout the hotel’s property into interesting organic and linear patterns.
3rd place design by Veronica Peterson (image courtesy of the artist)
All three students also received a complimentary dinner for two at jdek or the hotel’s six. one. six. restaurant.
“We appreciate what the KCAD students did and how sincere and engaged they were with us, our hotel, and the project,” says JW Marriott Grand Rapids Assistant General Manager Nicholas Remes. “We are excited to make this an annual opportunity and look forward to working more with KCAD students in coming semesters.”
Learn more about KCAD’s Graphic Design program at kcad.edu/graphicdesign.