Strategy + Creative: Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration

Simulating the working relationship between strategists and creatives.

Kathy Mueller
Assistant Professor
Temple University

Jennifer Freeman
Assistant Professor of Instruction
Temple University

This presentation will provide case studies for design educators to imagine collaborative interdisciplinary projects with their colleagues in media, communication, and business. It will include an overview of project structure, process, and outcomes. The presentation will also examine the advantages and drawbacks to the variety of approaches the presenting professors have taken to this collaboration. It will illuminate the challenge of fulfilling the needs of two different student groups.

Examples will be pulled from seven years of collaboration between an Art Direction class and an Advertising Account Planning class. Projects were structured to simulate the working relationship between strategists and creatives—cultivating teamwork and mutual respect among students using experiential learning. Art Direction students learned the value of market research and strategy insights. Account Planning students gained an appreciation for the creative process.

The professors have experimented with modifications to the assignment, to varying degrees of success. In addition to discussing collaboration techniques, this presentation will examine the learnings from teaching with a variety of client approaches—theoretical client assignments; partnerships with student entrepreneur clients through a campus incubator; partnerships with external clients, such as Urban Outfitters Inc.; and most recently, in partnership with a design studio specialized in the non-profit sector.

This research was presented at the Design Incubation Colloquium 6.2: CAA 2020 Conference Chicago on February 14, 2020.