October 2, 2020 Students use Typography to Support Local Charities        

This semester, students in Christopher Cote’s second-year Graphic Design typography class are using their skills and ingenuity to support the community. While learning about communicating with type, the students created variations of typographic statements for t-shirts for the United Way of Greater Knoxville, and now the t-shirts are available for community members to purchase. Part of the proceeds from the sale of the shirts supports United Way agencies in our community.

The group began by collaborating with Asst. Professor Annika Abell at the UT Haslam College of Business. Each year, Abell leads students in her strategic digital marketing class in related projects for, an online merchandising site maintained by her students and operated by United Way. One half of the proceeds from sales of items on the site supports the advertising budget of the marketing class, and the other half goes directly to local charities in the Knoxville area through United Way.

During the project, the Graphic Design students met with Abell as well as Matthew Ryerson, chief executive officer for United Way of Greater Knoxville.

Ryerson and others at United Way selected student Ashleigh Williams’s design as the best. It encourages Knoxville to “Live, Grow, Thrive.”

“I believe it is very important to support and be involved in the community, especially now,” said Williams. “These past months have been challenging for most everyone, and I believe the best way we can get through this is together.”

In all, students designed 36 t-shirt concepts that range from simple to colorful and inspiring to clever, and currently 15 have been chosen to be featured in the online store. Others will be released later in the semester.

The United Way of Greater Knoxville works to help the people in Knoxville and surrounding areas by funding programs that focus on providing health, education and financial stability.

Photo credit: Photos are courtesy of the website.