School of Visual and Performing Arts


Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design (MFA)


Stacy Cannon


Branding, Customer Experience, Gifts, Maker, Packaging, Paper Goods


Art and Design | Book and Paper | Business | Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations


The following thesis investigates the saturated conditions of the paper goods and gift industry, while addressing how the problem of competition discourages start-up brands. Targeted towards rising creative entrepreneurs with ambition to enter the marketplace, the thesis affirms opportunity for breakthrough created by the Maker Movement and identifies strategies for success through attention to customer experience. Based on the trending demand for experience, suggested strategies highlight the primary areas with opportunity for visual application, including brand, product, packaging, social media, and point of purchase. Scholarly research employs primary and secondary resources, along with case studies of successful brands in a variety of saturated industries, non-exclusive to paper goods and gifts alone. The final visual deliverables exemplify how creative entrepreneurs may increase impact in the five areas of experience, as demonstrated in the development and launch of a start-up paper goods and gift e-commerce brand. In conclusion, the thesis affirms continued opportunity, asserting that entrepreneurs who remain attentive to curating memorable customer experiences will increase brand value and potential for success in the saturated marketplace of paper goods and gifts.