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News . Feature Stories . Interior Design Students Work with American Greetings

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June 07, 2011

Interior Design Students Work with American Greetings

Students spent eight weeks collaborating with professionals at Cleveland-based American Greetings on a challenging retail design project.

For the second consecutive year, Cleveland Institute of Art students taking a retail design course gained some real-world problem-solving experience by collaborating with Cleveland-based American Greetings Corporation.

Eleven students in a spring 2011 course offered by the interior design department spent eight weeks working with American Greetings’ Retail Design and Environment (RD&E) team, the professionals responsible for the presentation of American Greetings products in retail environments worldwide.

The sophomores and juniors were asked to come up with concepts that would blend the company’s three distinct brands—American Greetings, Recycled Greetings, and Papyrus—into one retail space in a cohesive manner. Their designs had to:

  • be scalable and adaptable to urban (small footprint) and traditional (large footprint) departments
  • accommodate a mix of 90% greeting cards, 10% non-card products
  • be appropriate for various retailer types, including drug stores, grocery stores, and “big box” retailers
  • include branding, signage and technology when appropriate

American Greetings team members hosted the students at the company’s world headquarters for a kick-off presentation on the company’s brands and products and a tour of the company’s Town Square Card Shop. The American Greetings professionals also visited CIA twice during the eight-week project to offer students assistance and mentoring.

“It was extremely rewarding to work with the students on this project,” said Cindy Sammon, one of the American Greetings team members. “They were eager and very receptive to the input and direction that was given.”

According to the company, the partnership was a win-win, with American Greetings team members getting “exposure to ideas from a younger demographic, and building a pool of possible future interns and associates for the company,” while the CIA students were challenged with a multi-dimensional project.

“I really enjoyed learning to work on a larger-scale project than I’m used to,” said Scott Dailey ’12, one of the students who participated. “The idea of creating a brand experience with an environment rather than a single product was a huge challenge and pushed me beyond my comfort zone.”

The American Greetings team leaders included 1988 CIA graduate Anthony Santarelli, principal industrial designer for the company. Megan Buettner, a 1998 CIA graduate, was involved as American Greetings’ director of retail experience.

Pictured above are, from left, Michael Gollini, interior design department head; Mackenzie Marinelli ’13; Patrick Finegan ’05, adjunct faculty member; Scott Dailey ’12*; John Prybor ’12*; Julianne Rodriguez ’13; Alexander Holland ’13*; Hannabeth Lagerlof ’13; Yeonwoo Kim ’13; Natalie Benos ’13; Jeff Poole ’13; Lawence Liptak ’13*; and Anthony Santarelli ’88, principal industrial designer, American Greetings.

* Denotes industrial design majors taking the interior design course as an elective; all other students are interior design majors.

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