Profile: Graphic designer promotes Union activities

February 15, 2010

David Haan

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On the second floor of the Purdue Memorial Union, not far from the Great Hall, is the office of graphic designer David Haan. Inside Haan is likely busy working on any number of marketing or communication projects in which he is involved. As part of the Union's marketing team which is itself part of the central Housing and Food Services marketing and communications office, Haan is in charge of art direction and design for all of its promotional materials.

Collaborating with each and every entity that makes up the Union, on a typical day Haan will be busy designing the latest campaign, attending a meeting, or working with student employees to brainstorm or finalize an idea. He sums it up easily; his day is spent "working in some capacity to communicate the great things going on at the Union."

So, just what is "marketing for the Union"? People walk by Haan's work every day. From Starbucks and Lemongrass to the Union Club Hotel and the Purdue Student Union Board, the marketing office works to communicate and promote their respective messages. Some of Haan's favorite projects include BGR UnionFest, Breakfast with Santa, and a recent wrap campaign for CityBus -- his biggest design project to date and the first that was mobile.

Haan's passion for design was born of an early love for photography. "I started taking pictures when I was 11 years old. I bought my first camera -- a Pentax K-1000 -- with money I earned from my paper route," he says. 

After receiving his B.A. from Calvin College, he knew he wanted to pursue something in the communication and design fields. "The fact that [Calvin] is a small liberal arts school gave me the opportunity to learn and understand the field of communication from many different angles," he says. 

Internships in marketing and television production, as well as work for a Fortune 500 company followed college. For Haan, each of these helped prepare him for the variety of work and audience types he experiences on the job at Purdue.

When asked what keeps him coming to work every day, Haan doesn't hesitate. It's the students. "Being a part of and working in the Union reminds you every day what the University is about," he says. "The events and excitement in this building energize your workday."

The work produced by Haan and the students he supervises has not gone unnoticed. "We have had great success with communicating with our audiences," he states. The evidence? More than 15 local and regional design awards in the last four years.