Design Team Case Study: Diplomás

Project Summary
In an 11 week course called Design Team at the Art Institute of San Antonio, students were introduced to collaborative work for a non-profit in which an identity system was created and presented to the non-profit organization. Phases included initial meetings with the client in order to fully understand their objectives, a research and objectives phase, and a strategy phase. Final execution was presented to a client committee.

Client: Diplomás, a subsidiary non-profit organization of SA2020
Design Team: The Art Institute of San Antonio: Faculty: Doris Palmeros. Students: Anthony Felan, Gerardo Hernandez, Kelly Leyerla, Jacob Hernandez and Sarah Padron.

Project Brief: The mission of the Diplomás collaborative is to increase post-secondary education credentials and to improve earning potential for Hispanics in San Antonio. The goal of the Design Team was to create a successful logo & tagline to communicate the message of “education” & the potential for “more”/ “mas”. The aim was to create materials (a poster, stationary and info graphics) to help promote the idea that a better future is within reach through education and skill development.

Target Audience: Decision-Makers and implementers, and Laitno students and families

Project Goals:
To increase post-secondary credentials and improve wage earnings for Hispanics in San Antonio
– To advance Latino student success through economic and workforce development
Client quotes:
“We’re not selling college, we’re selling what college gets you.”
“Post-secondary credentials include college degrees and certification programs.”
“People with a college degree make approximately 84% more than those without.”

Research Sources: Design students researched a variety of resources ranging from books, and websites relating to the education and non-profit sectors, as well as articles about identity design. Recommended resources include AIGA Design for Good, information about naming non-profits from the Red Rooster Group, and the texts Designing for the Greater Good by Jonathan Cleveland and Peleg Top, and Branding for Nonprofits by DK Holland.



Students were introduced to collaborative work through working for a non-profit client in a course titled “Design Team” at The Art Institute of San Antonio. A full identity system was created and presented to a non-profit organization in need of a new identity. Creative phases included initial meetings with client to understand and research objective and strategy. Design implementation was expanded to logo, stationery, poster, direct mail and info-graphic. Final comps and Powerpoint were presented to the client committee.

Challenges in the project included the bilingual component of the name and the diverse target audience. The design had to appeal to a young Hispanic market as well as to academic institutions who would support and donate to the program.

Diplomás is a small collaborative of the bigger SA2020 initiative in San Antonio Texas . SA2020 is a movement started in 2010 to nurture civic participation and achieve a collective vision with specific goals by the year 2020. These goals involve “causes” in arts and culture, civic engagement,downtown development, education, sustainability, and transportation.


The Diplomas project was a success, and the Design Team students were ultimately honored by the mayor of San Antonio, Julian Castro, and by the higher education community, in a public unveiling of the new identity design for the Diplomás program.

Doris Palmeros is currently teaching as Assistant Professor at The University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio Texas Assistant Professor in Graphic Design (

By Doris Palmeros
Published March 2, 2014
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