Visual marketing students create display at Hilldale


Clarion Staff Photo

A visual marketing class project blossoms at Madison’s Hilldale Mall.

Adrienne Oliva, Staff Writer

The “Life in Bloom” art installation by Madison College’s Visual Marketing students is officially open to the public at Hilldale Mall on Madison’s west-side.

Though it is obvious when looking at the beautiful display that a lot of effort went into the production, even more work went into the project than what meets the eyes.

Even though the semester had already started by the time Hilldale Mall contacted instructor Betty Hurd about creating a display for the mall, she knew she had to incorporate this incredible opportunity into her curriculum. The students were in charge of every aspect of the project while Hurd only acted as a facilitator for their ideas, and a coach during their challenges. This gave the students the chance to experience what it was like to truly be in visual marketing.

The first thing the class had to do was come up with the idea for the installation. The students were given only two guidelines; the theme had to incorporate the Pantone color of the year, Greenery, and the display had to represent the brand values of Hilldale Mall.
The class was broken up into three groups, and each developed their own ideas for the installation. Madison Ackley, a visual marketing student, helped come up with a plan that revolved around the concept of butterflies, earning herself the title “founder of the butterflies.”

After brainstorming, the groups proposed their ideas to the managers of Hilldale Mall. This was one of the more challenging aspects of the assignment. According to visual marketing student Rachael Martin it was nerve racking for the students to present to professionals in their field of interest. As it turned out, each group did so well that the Hilldale managers chose all three ideas.

This led to the class’s next challenge: collaboration. All three groups had to meld their ideas into one without losing any of the individuality that made each idea special. Though it could have been difficult to combine all the ideas together, the group managed to do it seamlessly. It was clear the group knew how to work as one when Hurd asked about the positing of an arch, and the whole group stood back, and as one came to the same decision: “it needs to shift a little left.” The class had really developed the ability to work as one, without compromising the unique skills each of the students brought to the table.

This was only one of many things the students had to accomplish in a limited amount of time. They were also in charge of thinking of a concept, creating the display, collaborating together, while managing deadlines, budget, and branding. Just as Hurd wanted, the students were basically in charge of the whole show. It was important to her to stress to the students that this project was theirs.

And part of the beauty of the installation is that it’s a pure display of what Madison College students can accomplish. In the end, it led to a wonderful and beautiful addition to the mall. Knowing this, Hilldale Mall is looking to extend the display of the installation throughout summer.