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Ad It Up: Students Form “Firm” to Design Ads, Promotions for Campus Groups

Ad it up: A design student from UC’s School of Design and a business student joined to start an on-campus advertising and promotion group to serve student-group clients.

Date: 11/9/2006
By: M.B. Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824
Photos By: Andrew Higley
UC ingot The challenging curriculum of an internationally recognized design program along with paid, professional design jobs for the likes of consumer giant Procter & Gamble and international corporate identity consultants Lippincott Mercer weren’t quite enough to keep University of Cincinnati graphic design senior Steve Peck busy enough.

Steve Peck
Steve Peck

That’s why College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning student Peck – along with UC College of Business student Sean Cosgrove – founded their own on-campus advertising and promotion “firm” to serve the needs of student groups. They founded the group in 2003, were able to successfully assist any number of clients, and this fall, find the “firm” growing.

BANG – Bearcat Advertising & Networking Group – started out with a dedicated two-man crew, but this fall, the service firm stands at 25 “staffers” along with any number of design student “freelancers,” according to co-founder Peck, 22, of Montgomery.

Peck didn’t found the group because he needed the experience. Thanks to UC’s vaunted cooperative education program, he’ll graduate with about 18 months of paid, professional experience with internationally prominent consumer goods, consulting and, yes, national advertising agencies where he worked on setting brand goals and strategies, on interactive Web sites and on commercial and print ads.

“When I came to campus as a freshman,” explains Peck, “I looked with the eyes of a designer at what student groups were putting up around campus to promote their events and activities. Their marketing efforts, be they posters, fliers, give-away T-shirts or whatever, were amateur looking. Really, I just wanted to help groups promote themselves using good design. Nothing more than that.”

Steve Peck with fellow students
Steve Peck with fellow graphic design students Liz Bruemmer, left, and Jamie Clark, right.

It’s true, Peck and the growing membership of BANG doesn’t charge student group clients except to cover the cost of materials. Marketing solution projects have included  design of advertising and promotional give-aways for one-time service and entertainment events – designs like handbills, posters, cups and T-shirts. BANG also conducts branding and identity consulting for groups, as well as Web design and e-fliers. Clients have included

  • UC Student Government
  • Candidates running for student government
  • Men of Metro service group
  • Sigma Sigma Carnival annual event
  • Fraternities and sororities

BANG now includes graphic design, pre-med, finance/accounting, communication and marketing majors. For a small project, one student will serve as an account manager working with anywhere from two or more designers to meet client needs.

Priya Varma, a pre-med senior from Cleveland, joined BANG as a sophomore and has served the group as internal president (something akin to an account manager) where she served as the liaison with clients, handled project budgets and supervised the work of designers. (BANG also has an external president responsible for obtaining new business for the group.)

One of the reasons Varma, who previously majored in biology and then organizational leadership before switching to pre-med, said she joined the group was because “advertising and promotion affects all our lives every day. It’s part of the real world we live in. So, even for students who are not coming from a design or business background, it benefits them to learn about the basics of these promotional tools. I’ve learned so much about marketing the right message at the right place to the right target group.”

Steve Peck

Peck has been happy other students like Varma are joining the group, not least of which because doing most of the design work in the first year meant a “lot of late nights for me where four hours sleep was common.” He’s also happy to see the group’s work around campus, even when no one else know it’s their work. “It’s awesome to look around campus and see items you’ve designed,” Peck says

Any student group interested in working with BANG should e-mail Megan Knight at


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