Certified Graphics & Web Professional
Nearly ten years ago, Design Principles was approached by a small private company to create a graphic and web design curriculum to fill a growing gap in a computer-centric training industry.
The Certified Graphic and Web Professional (CGWP) Program is an eight-month series of intense hands-on classes covering the fundamentals of graphic design, layout, web design and animation.
Two years later, the class was picked up by Bridgewater State College and made a permanent fixture in their continuing education curriculum.
Constantly updated and taught by instructors that work in the industry, the CGWP has evolved into a course designed to take motivated creatives through a rigorous and ambitious examination of the fundamentals of graphic design and web design with a focus on real-world projects.
For the first years after Bridgewater State’s adoption of the CGWP, the primary marketing vehicle for bringing students into the class were form letters mailed in sealed envelopes. Additionally, signups and pre-registration consultations were handled by a full-time contractor. In addition to salary, BSC had a marketing budget in excess of $60,000 available to fill the class.
Despite significant resources, qualified students were hard to come by. Seeking to increase registrations, student satisfaction and profits, BSC and Design Principles agreed to rework how the class was marketed and students were signed up.
Design Principles consults directly with all students, ensuring a qualified student and a good fit. Design Principles designs and handles the distribution of all marketing pieces. Switching to postcards ensured that recipients immediately saw the message, instead of needing to open an envelope. Further, we abandoned the old model of blanketing a geographic area with tens- and hundreds-of-thousands of postcards and switched to a targeted marketing strategy, mailing to people that had expressed interest via the new website and BSC’s recent graphic design graduates.
As mentioned, a new website was created, providing easy access to information about the course, curriculum, and the instructors, as well as a way for interested prospects to request more information.
In addition to these passive marketing techniques, Design Principles now schedules three or more Open House/Open Lab meetings during the summer, offering students the ability to meet the instructors, ask questions, see the lab, and also participate in a sample exercise pulled right from the curriculum.
Through these steps, Design Principles increased qualified applications, boosted the number of registrations, and significantly lowered the overall marketing budget, dropping a $60,000 expense down to only $2,000. The CGWP continues to thrive, turning out qualified graphic designers and web designers, and returning a sizable bang-for-the-buck for every dollar of marketing expense.