Gilliam Center for Entrepreneurship Collaboration

Julianne Pullella, wrapped in her light blue Tongo, after winning the 2022 Techstars Start-up weekend in Harrisonburg

Project Overview

Students in SMAD 332: Visual Communication Design were given the task of developing a brand mark & brand guide for a JMU student entrepreneur through a multi-semester collaboration with the Gilliam Center for Entrepreneurship at the JMU College of Business. School of Media Arts & Design (SMAD) students were paired with a student entrepreneur, and worked with them to develop a brand mark and guide for a product or service that the entrepreneur had developed. I ran this collaboration from 2021–2022, and guided 70 SMAD students and 10 student entrepreneurs through this branding process. 

During the fall 2022 semester, SMAD students Katerina Moss and Alana Shapiro worked with student entrepreneur Julianne Pullella to create a brand mark and brand guide for Tongo—a plush sensory toy developed to help young children build their motor and sensory skills. Tongo gave children “a play structure that they can inhabit.” The brand mark for this product reflected its shape, texture, and function with playful, child-like designs, fun patterns, and eye-catching colors.

Press & Awards

This brand mark and brand guide was awarded finalist status in the AIGA 2023 Flux student design competition.

SMAD majors collaborate with student entrepreneurs for authentic professional experiences

“Branding for Business: A Cross-Campus Collaboration” presented at SECAC 2023

Project Images

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Other brand marks from this collaboration

The following brand marks were created by other SMAD students as part of this collaboration with the Gilliam Center for Entrepreneurship. 

Brand mark created for Malique Middleton for a line of natural skin care products. Work by Marley Guilfoyle and Amanda Nord. 
Brand mark created for Robert Aguillen for an ergonomic guitar company. Work by Carson Polk and Sophie Davis.
Brand mark created for Andrew Fialk for a web platform connecting cannabis users and retailers. Work by Zach Greenbaum.