Student-designed tote bags for sale in the Madison College Bookstore

Student-designed tote bags are currently sold through the Madison College Bookstore. The bags were made by students in the Graphic Design program, as part of a project for the Design Project Management class. The purpose of this activity was to allow students to practice through all the stages of creating a product.

“We wanted a project where students design a product and work towards its delivery, so that they can experience all phases of the project management process,” said Carol Moretti, graphic design teacher at Madison College.

The process of creating the tote bags was quite complex. Students started by brainstorming six different design ideas. They didn’t have any major guidelines to follow, but they were told to keep their audience, the students and staff at Madison College in mind when designing the designs. Then they had the choice of sketching their ideas by hand and digitizing them, or they could draw them directly into the computer.

After that, the class narrowed each student’s designs to two, and then posted the finals on Madison College Graphic Design’s Facebook page, where the public could vote for each student’s winning design. Then the advisory board narrowed the winners down to six final designs. These designs range from Madison and Wisconsin themed illustrations to various other designs inspired by things that were of interest to students.

Next, Nick Loveland, coordinator of Madison College’s printing lab, printed the last six designs on tote bags, which became the ones now available for purchase.

“Normally, students would print their own products, but due to COVID-19, we adjusted the project,” Moretti said.

All proceeds from the sale of the tote bags will go to the Center for Printing Arts at Madison College.

“The proceeds from sales are used to purchase all of the supplies and materials needed during the next semester to work on their projects for sale. This includes paper, inks, and any bulk substrates to print on, such as blank tote bags, T-shirts and tea towels, ”Loveland said.

This is not the first time that this project has been carried out at Madison College. According to Moretti, the graphic design program has been using similar versions of it for eight years. And each year, around 22 to 30 students participate. Moretti also explained that before the pandemic, items were sold at pop-up sales run by the Center for Printing Arts, rather than online.

The program plans to continue to hold this project for years to come.

“We plan to continue running this project every semester, as it gives students the ability to create a product from start to finish,” Moretti said.

There are also opportunities for all students interested in participating in a project like this, regardless of what program they are participating in.

“The introductory typography and screen printing electives offered in the Printing Lab – where these projects are created – are open to any student at Madison College, with no prerequisites,” Loveland said.

You can support Madison College’s Graphic Design Program and the Center for Printing Arts by purchasing a tote bag at You can find them by clicking on “shop” then “backpacks and bags”. Each bag costs just $ 5.25 and you have the option of picking it up at a selected Madison College location or having it shipped directly to your doorstep.

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