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MIAD Innovation Center students combine technology and creativity to design solutions for Milwaukee startups and entrepreneurs

Feb 21, 2019

MILWAUKEE (February 21, 2019) … Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) students are working on projects for Milwaukee business and nonprofit organizations, including an entrepreneurial venture ink360 and startup Ginger Guard, as part of the college’s new MIAD Innovation Center.

MIAD students are quickly acquiring a reputation for applying emerging technologies differently than other professionals to develop solutions for corporate and nonprofit clients.

360-degree bottle design

One of the 360-degree bottle designs by MIAD students for ink360

During a project last summer for ink360, MIAD students created illustrations for the company’s unique 360-degree printing technology. The company recently launched its new website

“Our work with students at the MIAD Innovation Center was an incredible experience. Students were full of energy and certainly not afraid to venture into new territories that our path took,” said Ken Matthews, owner of ink360. “I was most impressed with … how diverse their finished projects were from one another.”

Emily Verbeten ’19, Illustration major, who worked on the ink360 project, said the MIAD Innovation Center offers an invaluable opportunity for students to experience firsthand what it’s like to work with professional clients and encourages learning through critique and advice of teachers and clients. “It serves as a jumping off point for any young artist to work professionally before graduation or to get started on projects of their own outside of coursework,” Verbeten added.

MIAD Innovation Center project

Illustration students Kati Treu and Joanna Garcia presenting their concepts to Ginger Guard founder Garett Laugavitz

In a current project with Milwaukee startup Ginger Guard sunscreen, Illustration students Joanna Garcia ’19 and Kati Treu ’19 are helping entrepreneur Garett Laugavitz establish his brand through logo design, animation, characters and a web presence. MIAD staff also have introduced Laugavitz to new potential marketing opportunities for his product – a “pretty dang natural” mineral-based sunscreen – that could use augmented reality technology.

I’m really impressed not only with the creative process, but the approach and questions the students ask. Their questions are helping me to figure out my brand voice,” said Laugavitz, who launched his startup with a mission of helping to prevent skin cancer.

About the MIAD Innovation Center

During their collaborations with corporate and nonprofit clients, students gain additional professional experience working with clients through paid work. Clients mentor students and students deliver solutions that meet, or exceed, their expectations. In addition to these collaborations, the MIAD Innovation Center serves as an incubator for students of all majors to experiment and generate creative ideas. The Center also engages students and the community in ongoing educational programming on topics such as innovative methodologies, entrepreneurship, legal issues, market understanding and social and cultural diversity.

The professional experiences students receive throughout the curriculum and via the MIAD Innovation Center are a vital part of their MIAD education, leading to national accolades for the college. MIAD is among the top three art and design colleges nationwide for helping students from low-income backgrounds attain upper-middle-class jobs, according to Money Magazine’s 2018 Best Colleges for Your Money. The college also has been named a Top Design College by Graphic Design USA for four consecutive years.

Media contact: Dana McCullough, MIAD Communications Manager,, 414.847.3236