Major Project 1: “Customer” Portfolio

Congratulations! A small business owner has chosen you as the graphic designer who will be responsible for building the company’s brand. You will be responsible for coming up with a new look and a range of products that will suit that business and grow that business.

This year, if you’re in grade 12, you have a bit of a choice, but in future years, there will be a difference between grade 11 and grade 12.

Grade 11: You come up with a “business” yourself. It can be a real business that you are creating products for, or a made up one. My suggestion is to create a business that is YOU. What are you looking to do with your life? If you want to be a mechanic or a baker or a teacher (please reconsider) or a graphic designer, create a logo and a range of products that would promote your business! If there’s a business you’d like to work for eventually, consider impressing the owner/manager by walking in with a whole new design for their business and show off the skills that you have to offer!

Grade 12 option (not as optional next year): Actually connect with a real business and offer to work for them (yes, for free.) Work with an actual customer to develop something that a real business might be interested in using to build and promote its brand. Local, small businesses will definitely be easiest to work with/for. If you already have a job and want to work with/for your boss, great. If not, consider some of the suggestions below or consider a place where you’d like to work or at least in an industry where you’d ideally like to work and get in touch with the owner/manager! How could someone not want to hire you after you’ve already proven that you can be creative and dedicated?

Folks I know and can get you in touch with:

  • Robson Maintenance (sign & billboard installers)
  • Shorten Automotive (mechanics)
  • Original Pancake House
  • 1882 Fruit-Based Hot Sauce
  • Argy’s Records
  • Trout Forest Music Festival
  • Static Roots Festival
  • ToneToaster Records
  • Times Change(d) High & Lonesome Club (music venue)
  • Hamm-Tone Guitars & Mandolins
  • T & A Garage (house concerts)
  • The StuDome (house concerts)
  • Applied Technologies (software developers)
  • Elevation Woodworks & Signs
  • UMFM 101.5 fm
  • CKUW 95.9 fm
  • I also know or can at least get you in touch with a lot of local & independent musicians who would really appreciate your help!

Or, reach out to local businesses & teams! Make a new logo and promotional goods for one of our Westwood teams or a community team. Make something up for your church or community club. Get in touch with the Westwood Pharmacy, Sushi Terrace, D-Jay’s, King’s Restaurant, Activate, The Real Escape, Pawsh Dog, Burrito Splendido, Earl’s Automotive, Food Fare, a nearby dentist, chiropractor, or just about any small business!

Here’s a really good (but really quick) look at the process of designing or redesigning a brand:

This one is also very informative:

Whether you are working with a real customer or not, you’ll have to explain the business that you’re designing for and who their customers are.

You’ll have to figure out and explain what the customer wants. What are they hoping your designs will do? Will it attract new customers? A whole new audience? Will it change the way their existing brand is perceived, or just build off of an existing design/strategy?

You’ll have to figure out where your designs will be used. What kinds of products are they going to want? Keep in mind the kinds of things that we can make here: business cards, greeting cards, calendars, menus, magazines, advertisements, brochures, booklets, signs, stickers, buttons, shirts, hats, tote bags, toques, water bottles, mugs, ceramic tiles, mouse pads, and more!

Who are the main customers of the business? Are they young, old, male, female, rich, poor, etc.? Knowing that will help guide your design decisions.

What colours & fonts do you want to use to appeal to those customers? Does the owner/manager have colours or types of fonts that they want you to avoid or incorporate?

Once you know all of that, you want to come up with some design concepts!

Do a rough version of a few different ideas and present them to your customer (or me/the class) and get some feedback!

Revise! Then get feedback and revise again if necessary.

Then the fun stuff starts! You start making all of the products that will help the business!


This is a MAJOR PROJECT, so it’ll be worth A LOT more than the projects you’ve done so far! You’ll want to take your time and do the best job possible every step of the way. You’ll want to communicate, ask questions, and get feedback every step of the way!

The idea here is to show what you’ve learned throughout the semester. You’ll likely want to incorporate the three major programs we’ve used (InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop) because each one has a different role in production and design. If you’re only using one, you’re not showing a range of abilities.

You’ll need to produce, or at least prepare for production, some actual products. So you’ll actually print and cut out some business cards, perhaps, You don’t necessarily need to make shirts, hats, bags, mugs, etc., but follow the steps involved and make it so they could actually be made if we wanted to.

Your reflection will consist of the initial research/thinking you did before you started, some of the revision ideas and changes you incorporated, and some feedback in the end telling you how you did. You’ll tell me about what you learned, what you enjoyed about this, and the troubles you had along the way.

Tell Mr. Robson what's on your mind!