Katie Heideman


My senior project is a marketing plan for Return Design to increase recognition of, and funding for, their work and mission. Return Design is a student-populated studio, creating design solutions for non-profit organizations. Specific aspects of the project include writing an internal positioning statement, exploring the possibility of procuring grants, creating systems for on-brand internet presence, advising communications standards for various audiences, and recommending marketing outlets for on and off-campus audiences. The plan will be informed by primary and secondary research and will be characterized by clarity, feasibility, and responsible use of resources.


At its worst, marketing is a thoughtless means to an end. At its best, it is an end of its own—for both the author and audience. It is widely accessible art—with the capability of strengthening community and prompting thoughtfulness by telling stories amidst the mundane. The best marketing is done within real-world restraints, necessitating creative, thrifty, and intelligent marketing plans. Therefore, a marketing plan should be both practical and visionary—it should meet a client where they are and give them the tools to reach their goals; it should not be a document to be filed, but rather a regular reference point and strategy guide. As an internal document, its primary audience is limited—but it serves as the funding skeleton of all communications and thus its secondary audience is exponentially larger.

It is my hope that Return Design’s marketing plan serves both Return Design and its clients. My work presents organized systems towards achievable benchmarks, reducing frustration and streamlining efforts. It is accessibly rooted in current practices but casts a vision for increased success. I desire that audiences reached by extension of the Return Design marketing plans feel respected, engaged, and connected because they have encountered communications that affirm their personhood before consumerhood.