Co-designers: Emmy Brooks, Nicki Dlugash, Joshua Duyan, Patricia Hwang, Isabel Lizardi, Diego Rodriguez, Rebecca Silver. An offshoot of the Alumni Relations office, Penn Traditions was established to encourage among students a sense of pride in the history and legacy of the University of Pennsylvania. When Penn Traditions wanted to create some kind of giveaway for the incoming freshman class, its director sought help from its own community: a group of graduate and undergraduate students operating under the aegis of Penn Praxis.
Some research among the student population convinced us that the client's initial request – posters – would lead to more waste than goodwill. (After all, how many students hang the same posters as their roommates?) Students liked giveaways they could actually use, which led us to the idea of tins – large enough to store writing implements (and whatever other promotional swag students pick up at orientation), but small enough to earn a place on a desk.
Embossing the Penn Traditions logo on the tin's lid went some way toward promoting the Penn Traditions brand, but we felt the product needed something more than pencil storage to earn its place in every dorm room. We scoured the campus for history and trivia – from the most commonly forgotten lyrics of the school anthem to the reason everybody throws toast on the field at home games – and for each bit of campus trivia we learned, we created a flash card for a playful, colorful deck to be packaged in our commemorative tins. The client and incoming students loved the tins and cards so much that Penn Traditions produced more to offer not only to future incoming classes, but to alumni and parents.