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Ever wonder what's the value of pursuing a Liberal Arts degree?

A specific challenge seen from the public is that a liberal arts education is seen as a gateway to a wide variety of disciplines. It’s difficult to communicate a specific “end goal” to a market of students that are increasingly interested in understanding what specific career paths will be available to them with completion of the program. With our campaign implemented into the recruitment timeline, we can help change that!


3 months – 2021 University of Waterloo


Graphic Designer

UX/UI Designer




Google Workspace



Spark AR


Meet the team

The Brief 3, Group 2 team is comprised of 4 students in University of Waterloo's Information Design course who worked together to create non-traditional strategies for our given campaign. Although we are in different majors and have various strengths in different fields, with regular meetings on FB Messenger, we were able to work together to create a high quality campaign for 'Sherpa University'.

Angela Nguyen (thats me!)

Global Business & Digital Arts

  • Designed, wireframed, and prototyped the Liberal Arts Program Wizard and worked closely with Joanne to ensure accurate and high quality work

  • Created logo and assisted members with Figma prototyping

  • Researched and designed an infographic poster with Michelle

Anthea Lai

Social Development & Business, CogSci & Digital Arts Minors

  • Researched and developed the 'Most Likely To..' Liberal Arts AR Instagram filter using the Spark AR program

  • Designed and created a cohesive website landing page layout with Michelle

  • Created pitch presentation layout and marketing strategy

Michelle Nguyen

Global Business & Digital Arts

  • Designed and created a cohesive website landing page layout with Anthea

  • Wireframed large poster

  • Researched and designed an infographic poster alongside Angela

Olivia Terenzio

Speech Communication, Medical Physiology & Digital Arts Minors

  • Researched and gathered insight from high school students and those with Liberal Arts degrees

  • Produced three high quality campaign videos in promotion to social media and campaigning

  • Designed and created messaging for SMS Chat bot with Joanne

Joanne Szeto

English & Business, Digital Arts Minor

  • Created content for the Liberal Arts Program Wizard and worked closely with Angela to ensure accurate and high quality work

  • Created a user flow and match results for the Wizard Program

  • Designed and created messaging for SMS Chat bot with Olivia




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Why don't students and parents see the value of a Liberal Arts degree?

In a society that is highly focused on results-based, high income careers, liberal arts programs are currently faced with the challenge of communicating the value of an education that is not centred around STEM. Like most of us, when thinking about post-secondary education, our parents and support circle influence us tremendously in our decision making process. Many question, "What tangible outcomes can we get with this degree?" Will you get a quality paying job out of graduation and will you be able to satisfy your interests? Whether it's for university or college, students and parents are finding it difficult to see the value of Liberal Arts.

Project Constraints

Our team had to work completely remote and all communication was through FB Messenger and email. We had specific guidelines to follow and had to reconnect our artefacts back to course lecture material.




Research findings on high school students

Surrounding the topic of high school students. We starting thinking about what concepts would grasp their attention. To start, we begin thinking of questions and asking ourselves, "What are students thinking?"


How do students make decisions?


How can we approach the value of liberal arts?


Most powerful influences?


How will we reach the best of the best?


When should our strategies be implemented? Younger than Gr.12?


Could we incorporate strategies to target males?

Our Solution

Creating 6 non-traditional recruitment strategies that target virtual and offline markets.




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Jumping on to Miro, we began planning what artefacts we should create and how our messaging will influence our target audience.

Things to consider:

  • How will we get their attention?

  • How can we help paint a picture of tangible outcomes?

  • When will the artefacts be released?

Scenario Mapping

Using a scenario map, we were able to visually represent how the audience will interact with all our artefacts and how we can connect our tactics together.

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How might we develop non-traditional strategies to attract high-quality applicants to Liberal Arts programs in Ontario?

*Liberal Arts is defined as including: English, Languages, History, Philosophy, Political Science, Economics, Psychology and Sociology

User & Audience

High-achieving students in grade 10, grade 11, and grade 12

Parents and guardians with children in high school

We wanted to start as early as Grade 10 because at that age, students are starting to explore their interests and are taking a variety of courses to see what they like. In Grades 11 and 12, students are refining their options and narrowing down their program and university options. That being said, we also identified the parents/guardians as an important target group because they can be very influential in the child’s decision to choose a program.


Stakeholders: our Professor, Gordon Slethaug, and resource mentors from Sherpa Marketing, Denna and Brian

Marketing Strategy


Website: Holds all deliverables including additional stats on the Liberal Arts program for prospective students and their parents


Poster: Distributed in target classrooms and career fairs, physically posted around, and can be shared on social media to drive traffic to the website


Wizard: Interactive user interface that will present users with a sequence of dialog boxes comprised of questions to paint a picture of a tangible outcome in liberal arts for users


SMS Chatbot: Active way to draw people back to the website while maintaining constant awareness and engagement with the Liberal Arts program and university initiatives


Video: A set of short videos that have a mixture of stats and real life examples 


Instagram AR game: Grow awareness to LibArts pathways and the University (Sherpa U in our case)





  • An infographic poster that will help paint a picture for students to see what enrolling in the program entails

  • Displays the types of entry-level jobs there are after graduation and statistics


  • Helps target audience see there are tangible outcomes to a Liberal Arts degree with data to support



  • A PDF poster that can be shared with prospective students immediately 


Feedback from mentors: 

  • Wireframe is a little busy, remember hierarchy and whitespace

  • The overarching design we are using is a 5-column one, we need to break it up  so everything isn't exactly vertical

  • Don't pack everything together to avoid blockiness


  • Sherpa University’s Arts Undergrad homepage containing:

    • Video, Wizard, Messaging Bot Sign-Up, Faculty News, Program Info, Alumni Stories, Infographic-Style Facts


  • Content: emphasize the opportunities available to prospective students and pathways that real students have taken.

  • Strategy: leverage analytics to optimize keywords and SEO; want LibArts page to be visible in search engine, and resonate with leads so they are more likely to convert (apply to the program)

Messaging Themes

  • “Find a career you’re truly passionate about.”

  • “Enjoy the flexibility to pursue different majors, minors, and certificates according to your multidisciplinary interests!”

  • “Enrich your learning and solidify your career path with internships, experiential courses, and exchange programs.”


  • A hi-fidelity mockup of the homepage

  • A clickable prototype illustrating some of its interactive components 

  • A short supporting document outlining our proposed website marketing strategy to support the artifact


Feedback from mentors: 

  • Liked the complexity and what we are intending to include

  • Liked the layout but said we have to remember who's going to be looking at the page take out graduates program section since Grade 10-12 students won't find that information useful

  • Wireframe showed good use of space, remember to be careful when actually building the features on the website


  • Seek audience attention and connection through video representations of liberal arts stats and real life examples

  • Video to include:

    • Student Testimonials

    • Alumni Quotes and/or in person statements

    • High profile professionals with Bachelor of Arts Degrees

    • Faculty Statistics  i.e. % of liberal arts majors employed after graduation 



  • Playable video accessible to all viewers with closed-captioning features

​Target Audience

  • Parents and students


  • Including video marketing has the ability to boost conversion rates by 80% 

  • Builds trust and credibility 

  • Encourages social shares


  • Liberal Arts Undergraduate Homepage

  • Social Media​


Feedback from mentors: 

  • Makes sense and is very creative with your mix of student testimonials, alumni quotes, high-profile performers in Arts, and employment statistics for Liberal Arts students

  • Recommended that these be 30-second clips distributed across the platforms, so they’ll have to be quick and engaging

  • Video is a wonderful idea and so are the Program Wizard, Augmented Reality Game, and Chatbot


Feedback from mentors: 

  • Looked really interesting and useful both for the prospective student’s registration, successful pathways, as well as jobs frequently linked to subject areas and certain kinds of personality

Liberal Arts Program Wizard

  • An introspective questionnaire focusing on one’s personality and interests

  • Matching them with suitable majors/careers within Liberal Arts based on their preferences


  • Help paint a picture of the tangible outcomes of pursuing a Liberal Arts degree

  • Provide resources to explore different minors, recognized certificates related to major, and experiential learning opportunities

Example Prompts

     Answer                                    Potential Match

I am interested in learning about different cultures


I'm drawn to art, and have an interest in design

Fine Arts

Digital Arts

I enjoy literature and how it has impacted different societies


Features & Specs

  • Progress bar & multiple choice answers

  • Avatars with a description of strengths & weaknesses

  • Present & future specs of given career


  • Will allow students to carefully consider their interests and passions, showing them a potential career from studying in the arts


  • A clickable prototype illustrating some of its interactive components

Instagram AR Game

  • “Most Likely To…” generator that prospective students can either play on their own or with a friend


  • Awareness and engagement tool for Arts pathway possibilities

  • Illustrate “real” career choices and the pathways that can get them there

  • Social sharing the video of themselves either directly on “stories” or sent
    as a direct message to friends

Travel the world teaching English

International Development

  • TESL Certificate

Most likely to...                       By studying...

Become the next Natalie Portman


  • Minor in Theatre & Performance


  • 76% of Canadian teens use Instagram — the second most used social media platform after Snapchat

  • Instagram is where teens are most likely to follow brands & influencers


  • The filter can be shared through university accounts and infiltrate the student network virally


  • A live product (developed with Spark AR) or a hi-fidelity prototype


Feedback from mentors: ​​

  • Sounds promising for Instagram has really replaced Facebook for most young people, but are there other social media platforms that could be used?

  • How might we tailor this for different grade levels when thinking of goals and benefits?

  • Would there be a different set of questions and outcomes for someone in grade 10 as opposed to graduating seniors? 

SMS Chatbot

  • SMS chatbot is a software tool that automatically responds and sends text messages to users

  • Develops an interactive marketing channel improving customer communication and awareness


  • Create a software that delivers personalized content and updates to prospective students and their parents

  • Maintain continuous engagement and communication with parents & students


Opting in for SMS Messages

  • Signing up for messages will be available on the website, after completion of wizard, on digital and physical creative

  • Incentives may be used to help gain user participation (ex. Contest participation, promo codes, exclusive offers)

Message Frequency

  • Peak university interest and attention (Fall/Winter)

  • September-April bot to send 2-3 messages per month

  • May-August: 1 automated reminder per month


Feedback from mentors: ​​

  • Suggestions about incentivized tools for high achievers and frequently asked questions

  • Indicating our ways of targeting different grade levels on this chatbot is very promising




Gathering all the feedback our team received during our first iterations, we worked together to implement them into our designs. Our next steps were to take our wireframes and turn them into high-fidelity prototypes. We also needed to conduct further research into our target audience. Interviewing current primary sources, consulting secondary sources, and validating messaging themes that resonate with our audience was a top priority.

Website Iterations

Poster Iterations

Wizard Iterations

Instagram AR Filter Iterations

SMS Chat Planning & User Flow





Thats a wrap! After adding finishing touches to our artefacts and prototypes, we successfully created the Sherpa University Liberal Arts Campaign!

Designing six different strategies for a specific audience was definitely a challenge. With feedback from our stakeholders and multiple iterations, we were able to learn more about the value of information design and marketing.

See all our final artefacts below!

Explore and click around the Wizard prototype

Explore and click around the Website prototype

View our Video directed to alumni 

View our Video directed to parents 

View our Video directed to students 

Watch our AR demo 

Use the filter ↗

View our Poster 

Explore and click around our SMS chatbot



Key Takeaways


Always keep improving!

Since over the three months we had two iteration periods and presentations, we learned that we must always keep learning and improving our designs. We went through so many versions of different artefacts and with more and more feedback coming to us, we were able to make the best possible versions of each.

Consistency is key

Brand consistency is key for the campaign to be cohesive. Having all our strategies having the same colour palette and graphical elements help strengthen our brand identity.

We learned that even if putting our slogan on everything might seem repetitive, we must view our artefacts as standalone pieces too.

Information design is an important tool

Since we had 10 weeks of lecture material in this course, we learned that when we are designing there are tips and tricks we can implement into the design to make the overall flow smoother and increase engagement. Learning about the use of white space, way-finding, and other principles definitely helped in the planning stages.

Next Steps

Continuing development

With only 3 months to develop everything, we certainly did not make our campaigns the most perfect they could be. In the future, we hope to continue working on our prototypes and make fully functional assets for the campaign.

Implementing artefacts

Our next step would be to implement these artefacts into the incoming recruitment cycle for students looking to apply to post-secondary. How can we convert a group of students to the Liberal Arts and sticking with it?

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