Monday, December 8, 2008


In working with Austin Texas Goodwill Industries, we analyzed and researched their systems, clientele, visual displays, advertisements, and ultimate mission, in order to identify an opportunity in which to educate, promote, and better the Goodwill identity.

We began our research by interviewing employees, managers, customers, and non-Goodwill shoppers. In these interviews, we asked them a list of set questions. For example one of the questions was, “Are you familiar with Goodwill’s mission statement?” Goodwill’s mission is to “enhance the dignity and quality of life by eliminating barriers to opportunity and helping people in need reach their fullest potential though the power of work”. It became apparent that the people who were unaware or had less of an understanding of this mission were young adults and teenagers. Many of the people interviewed were also unaware that unlike Salvation Army and other charity thrift stores, Goodwill’s money and job opportunities stay local and within the Austin community rather than working on a national level. We believed this to be an attractive quality of Goodwill and believed that if the community were aware they too would agree. We took note of these two issues, knowing we wanted to address both of them in our proposal.

Next we did a visual analysis of Goodwill, this consisted of looking at the exterior and interior store layouts, signage, color, and advertisements. Many of the Goodwill signs and advertisements were very informative, but were visually cluttered and verbose in content. This discourages viewers from reading and attaining the information. Also, the signs and advertisements had no consistent branding or reoccurring elements such as typeface, color, and/or imagery. However, we did like the use of vibrant colors used in the Goodwill’s store signage. We hoped to extend these vibrant, exciting colors in our designs used for our proposal.
With help from Kevin McCown and Joel King, the transportation manager and assistant manager, we created a flow chart that gives a visual understanding of Goodwill’s circulation system. There are three types of donations- individual donations, commercial donations, and events donations. The items are then taken to the store where they are sorted and are either priced and placed in store to be sold, salvaged (immediately given to the outlet), recycled, or in the worst case thrown away. The items put in store are then sold or auctioned and after three weeks if they have not been purchased they are sent to the outlet (known as Blue Hanger). Once items reach the outlets, they are either sold or auctioned. From there hard-line items (such as lamps, stereos, shoes, etc) are placed in gaylords and sold. Clothes are compacted into bales where they are sold to bulk-buyers by the ton. It was vital for us to have a good understanding of this system in order to figure out how and where our proposal would adjust the circulation.

Also after speaking with Kevin and Joel, we discovered that originally Goodwill had purchased several trucks to complete delivery routes. Since then, Goodwill has designed a more efficient route, leaving seven box trucks unused and taking up space in the parking lot of the Blue Hanger Outlet Store in Springdale. Presently, these box trucks are wasted resources.
We took the main issues from all of research and analyses and have created “Goodwheels”. Goodwheels is a mobile Goodwill that travels to local Austin events, both large and small. Goodwheels objective is to “efficiently utilize Goodwill’s resources in order to strengthen community presence and mission awareness”. Events we have considered for Goodwheels to be present are Austin City Limits, First Thursdays on Congress, Fun Fun Fun Fest, and Youth sports fields. Austin City Limits is an annual local music festival held at Zilker Park, this would be a chance for Goodwheels to become a linked part of Austin, the music capital of world. First Thursdays on Congress is an event held every first Thursday of each month where several vendors line the streets of Congress Ave. and act as hosts to an array of events and activities. In participating in an event such as First Thursdays, it would allow the public to anticipate Goodwheels consistent presence at the event and perhaps encourage them to collect and bring donations once a month. The theory behind Fun Fun Fun Fest is to create a fall festival that supports emerging artists, creativity, LOCAL BUSINESS, and bands. This would be another chance for Goodwill to begin to be viewed more as a local vendor. Goodwheel’s regular presence at Youth Sports Fields would create a strong community bond and allow families to contribute to the mission of Goodwill whether through donations or purchases. These are a plethora of events, all of which emphasize Austin’s strong, creative, and exciting community that are targeted towards educating younger generations.

We photographed, documented, and measured the unused box trucks. The cargo space of each truck measures to be 24 feet long, 8 feet in height, and 7 feet in width. The box truck holds a driver and two passengers. In redesigning the exterior, we used vibrant colors inspired by the existing Goodwill signage and made the formal design playful, dynamic, and visually engaging. We saw the exterior as an opportunity to educate and excite the public on the Goodwill mission; therefore we shortened the original mission statement into a concise tagline that reinforces Goodwheel’s purpose, “Goodwheels, delivering opportunity to your community”. The original design of the rear of the truck is another example of the visual clutter often found in Goodwill’s graphics. The new rear redesign continues the visually engaging theme from the side, while including Goodwill’s contact information in a clear way. We also plan to have the recognizable Goodwill Smiling “G” placed on the exterior of the truck, in order to allow the viewer to draw back to the familiar roots of Goodwill. In the trucks interior space, we wanted to utilize existing systems within the cargo space. Specifically, the metal tracking used to tie-down duratainers. The straps have a metal piece that securely attaches to the tracking. We propose to use this metal tracking to create a clothes display that will be modular—in that it can be placed in any truck with the tracking. This allows the display to be interchangeable in size and location. Also, by using the tracking it avoids having to drill holes into the truck walls and having to have to make the renovation permanent. The interior will also include lighting, boxes for storage, a dressing area, a mirror display (in order to expand the space), and a donation box. The color theme already seen on the outside of the truck is also maintained in the interior. Another unique feature is the Donate Your Story Board. The board is an interactive medium that unites the individual with goodwill and its community by allowing individuals the opportunity to share a story of their own or to read a story of someone else's. We also propose that this storyboard include or feature stories from people who have had Goodwill provide and help them in getting jobs and an education. This way people will feel more compelled to purchase and will know that there purchases are directly making a difference in their own community.

When the Goodwheels truck is operating at an event, the cashier counter and donation box will be positioned outside of the truck. Also, for an event with not enough space for a truck clothes racks can be set up outside of the truck. The outside of the truck will be illuminated with removable lights. These will be put in place by Goodwheels employees after the truck is parked for the event. Power will be provided by a generator. In fact, this year at Fun Fun Fun Fest several vendors ran off of solar powered generators, which would be ideal for Goodwheels. Clothes and other items to be sold in the truck will be selected by a Goodwheels employee from items already priced and on the floor of a Goodwill store. The merchandise selected can vary and be tailored to the specific event.

In order to promote the Goodwheels campaign, we have designed two simple yet unique examples of advertising to distribute within the community- door hangers and small business-like cards. Both forms depict the Goodwill logo on one side and on the other they have a calendar of the event’s Goodwheels will be located. This will allow the public to anticipate donations or even just shopping the Goodwheel low prices while enjoying a fun community event. The door hangers can be distributed to the neighborhoods near the location of which the Goodwheel’s truck next event will be located. The cards can be placed near registers at several businesses in order to make people aware, for example the several stores that participate in First Thursdays as mentioned prior. These cards could also be distributed at the ocation where tickets for the events are being sold.

Goodwheels easily fits into Goodwill’s existing circulation system. It acts as another filter. The sellable items sent to the store are selected and are attempted to sell in the Goodwheel’s truck and then after the event the merchandise will go back to the floor of the store, where they will be reentered into the existing system. The cost towards redesigning and promoting the truck would be low. The highest cost would be in employing a driver and running a generator, but in the end would be worth it in recruiting a larger amount of goodwill supporters and contributors through raising awareness. The trucks not only will serve their purpose in being a venue for selling and donating, but will also work as movable billboards all around Austin. Goodwheels would be an effective entity within the Goodwill system in boosting community presence, mission awareness (especially amongst the youth), donations, revenue, and ultimately in providing more opportunity for Goodwill to provide work for those in need.

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