Designmatters in the Virtual World: Brandmatters + Kids Ocean Day

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Sherry Hoffman, Faculty Director, Designmatters May 21, 2020

Our Brandmatters class taught by Designmatters Faculty Director Sherry Hoffman, engaged virtually on a real world challenge with a local Los Angeles based organization, Kids Ocean Day.

The class partnered on a pressing real world challenge with Michael Klubock, social entrepreneur and founder of Kids Ocean Day, a project of the Malibu Foundation for Environmental Education that specializes in school outreach and coastal quality issues.

How might we educate and motivate young people through a personal moment of discovery to care about the beaches and oceans and create a social movement that engages them as lifetime supporters?

The Brandmatters class spent the first half of the term focusing on branding through the lens of social movements, giving students the chance to work on issues that they care about and create opportunities for change. In our collaboration with Kids Ocean Day, the multi-disciplinary teams developed strategies for distilling the essence and values of its founder to create a sense of passion and call to action for the next generation.

“I love that Kids Ocean Day literally introduces the ocean to local young people who may have never seen it in person. As a resident and business owner that lives, works, and currently teaches from home in Ocean Park – and has experienced the recent closing of our beaches – I have gained a new appreciation for our coastal environment and gratitude for the work of organizations like this.”

Just two weeks from our initial meeting, the teams presented (via Zoom) their brand strategy and design concepts to our partner, providing creative solutions in line with the spirit of the Kids Ocean Day and its founder’s brand.

Kid’s Ocean Day founder, Michael Klubock and ArtCenter students, Penny Lin and Stephan Uecker reflect on their experiences of our brief but powerful engagement, below in their words.


“The students heard our story and gave it back through their creative lens. The ideas were both out-of-the-box and practical. I was on a high the whole day after connecting with the ArtCenter students. Creativity does that!”

– Michael Kloback, Social Entrepreneur + Founder Kids Ocean Day

“From this experience, I learned a lot about how branding works in the real environment. By communicating with our partner, I started to think about how to associate their brand’s personality with our design direction; and how our designs can help them to promote their program better. Brandmatters gave me an opportunity to learn and practice, and I’ll carry this experience with me throughout my studies and future career.”

– Penny Lin, Student, Interaction Design + Designmatters Minor

“Branding strategy can be used in so many different aspects of design and it can be applied in ways that can benefit our world. The KOD project that I was apart of, with the help of my talented group, showed me this first hand how this idea of branding can positively affect people the younger generation, and change the world for the better.”

– Stephan Uecker, Student, Product Design