Ryan Legaspi and Ryan Ormsby have more in common than their first names. It turns out the pair of graphic design students at City College of San Francisco (CCSF) are just what the school needed to kick off a city-wide advertising campaign to boost spring enrollment.
Legaspi, 21, and Ormsby, 23, came up with the first billboard design for the campaign. While they were at it, the duo also took on the front cover of the spring 2014 CCSF course catalog.
“We wanted to connect City [CCSF] with the greater community,” Ormsby said. “We are all in this together. We are a
community from different walks of life.”
The billboards went up in December—shortly after class registration began—in eight locations throughout San Francisco
including Nob Hill, Bayview-Hunters Point and the Financial District.
“Hopefully the campaign helps push enrollment and keeps CCSF open,” Legaspi said.
Since CCSF’s accreditation debacle in 2012, enrollment has plummeted. Last month, CCSF only had 62 percent of its enrollment goal of 80-90,000 students, said Peter Anning, the newly appointed director of Communications and Marketing at the college.
“Enrollment dropped as soon as the debate came up,” Anning said. “We want to let people know that we are here and that reaccreditation will occur.”
The final design of the billboard and course catalog includes several portraits of CCSF students next to a slogan that two design students came up with: “We are City College.”
A combination of the school’s colors was also used in the billboard and cover designs — hints of gold, white lettering and a cardinal colored background. A reminder that CCSF is open and accredited is at the forefront of the billboard design.
While the billboards and catalog are focused on increasing enrollment, the designs display the skills Legaspi and Ormsby gained at CCSF.
The design students paired up during their in-house design and production internship class at CCSF’s Emerge Studio — part of the Visual Media Design Department.
As an assignment, students were asked to partner up and come up with a billboard design and catalog cover to pitch to CCSF’s Marketing and Public Relations team.
“I took on the layout and he [Legaspi] took on the photography,” Ormsby said. “We were actively going around [campus] talking to students and finding students to photograph throughout the whole project.”
After competing against their classmates, the duo’s design was chosen. Ormsby and Legaspi went on to complete the catalog cover for class and were contracted for the billboard design.
“When I first saw them [the billboards] I was really stoked,” Legaspi said. The young designer was just as enthusiastic about the course catalogs as he was about the billboards.
“As I walked around campus I saw people holding something that I created,” Legaspi said. “This was a high profile job. This is one of my biggest accomplishments.”
While their graphic design work can be seen all around San Francisco, Legaspi and Ormsby are not from the city. Both students came to CCSF specifically to pursue graphic design.
“I don’t consider myself a San Franciscan, but I wanted to convey that CCSF is a giant community,” Ormsby said. The
idea of using portraits in the designs was chosen by the two to show the diverse range of students at CCSF.
Ormsby, from Pacifica, first gave college a shot in the South Bay.
“I started at San Jose State, but I wasn’t doing well in school,” Ormsby said. “I started going to CCSF and it helped me come together as a student and as a designer.”
Legaspi traveled a bit further, from Los Angeles, to attend CCSF. “I came up here to go to City College after high
school,” Legaspi said. “I have a semester to go before I get my degree. I’m pretty excited to get my degree.”
The up-and-coming designers have taken full advantage of their graphic design classes and opportunities through CCSF.
“I wouldn’t have been able to land the jobs that I’ve had,” Legaspi said when referring to his experience at CCSF.
Both Legaspi and Ormsby have designed ads for SF Weekly. Without this institution I couldn’t afford another program
without taking out loans. It has helped make me a professional and developed my design work,” Legaspi said.
While it is too early to determine whether the student designs helped increase enrollment, CCSF will launch several other ads by external contractors until February, including cable TV, radio, and interior bus ads as well as digital billboards with different designs.
CCSF is also reaching out to community members, small businesses, high school students and current students to conduct focus groups and telephone surveys in several languages—Spanish, Mandarin and Cantonese. The goal is to determine the public’s perception of CCSF’s role in the community.
Anning said every design will be different and will have a different message. Messages include slogans such as: “Still Strong. Still Committed. Still City College” and “Our City. Our College.”
CCSF’s future accreditation is uncertain, but the campaign is in full gear and has given Legaspi and Ormsby a head
start in their careers by exposing their work throughout San Francisco.
Legaspi is currently working to finish his degree and take on freelance graphic design work while he decides the next step in his career.
As for Ormsby, the young graphic designer is currently interning at Public Works in San Francisco, where he does graphic design work. He is proud of his time at CCSF.
“I’ve had a really good experience [at CCSF]. I am one of many.”
Story by: Gabriela Arvizu