Art, Design, and Theatre Faculty Presentations


The Experiential Classroom Working with Agencies, Clients, and Pseudo-clients Within a Structured Classroom Setting

Document Type

Conference Presentation

Event Date



University & College Designers Association Design Education Summit


Chattanooga, TN


How to best prepare students to step into an ever more competitive marketplace can be great challenge for educators. The elusive search for “real world experience” can be a desirable as well as difficult venture.

This paper examines lessons learned from three iterations of classroom experience in which students were able to engage with live clients in the production of design projects.

The first case study involves the interaction of students with a local, highly respected advertising and design agency. Students were engaged in a campaign to design materials for a product owned and housed within the agency’s corporate umbrella.

The second study involves the acquisition of a live, local client in which campaign materials were produced for the client to market and advertise their business.

The third iteration of the campaign required interaction of students and their small groups with chosen non-profit organizations. The non-profit groups were contacted and engaged for permissions and helpful interactions as well as materials. However, the groups were not engaged to actively participate in critique and feedback nor received materials produced.

This paper compares and contrasts the different experiences. There is an examination of the advantages, disadvantages of each. There is also a discussion of the mix of structured classroom instruction, theory and technique that was combined with the “live client” experience.