Master of Fine Arts (MFA)



Document Type



Harlan, Veni S, B.F.A., Louisiana State University, 1981 Master of Fine Arts, Fall Commencement, 2010 Major: Graphic Design Branding the Bear Dissertation directed by Professor Rod Parker Pages in dissertation, 64. Words in abstract, 350. ABSTRACT Currently due to successful restoration efforts, the Louisiana Black Bear sub-species is rebounding. Correspondingly this increase in numbers accompanies the rise of human-bear conflict. Fiction, misinformation, resentment, and devaluation of the bear as a valuable asset stand to undermine the tremendous strides made by multiple public and private agencies over the course of twenty years. Discovery revealed a lack of knowledge by the public not only of the very existence of bears but also their remarkable recovery. An overwhelming number of the 400 Louisiana citizens polled expressed interest in the bear and interest in supporting its restoration. I learned that central to the success of bears in this region is the Black Bear Conservation Coalition, a non-profit organization whose mission includes education, research, and habitat management. The problem is that few people outside conservation circles know of this organization’s existence or the role they play. The focus of the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries is primarily on enforcement and licensing with a primary goal of delisting the bear for hunting. There is concern that science-based decision making will fall victim to public and political whims. Based on these and other findings it’s clear that key to bear conservation from this point forward must focus on public perceptions. An integrated branding program is the best solution to accomplish this goal with its ability to inform and engage the public. The Coalition is ideally suited to expand their role and serve as an independent voice for bear and habitat conservation. However, upon a thorough audit of communications I found many obstacle to the Coalition serving in this expanded role. Despite these challenges, the organization has a strong knowledge base, cooperative network, is receptive to recommendations, and eager to employ new tools to support their objectives. “Branding the Bear” utilizes graphic design and creative communication as tools in cultivating a positive and informed image of the Louisiana Black Bear to citizens of Louisiana and the greater region. It’s my hope that branding strategies utilizing the Coalition will bridge the gap between the historic conservation of the bear and citizen tolerance and appreciation.



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Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Parker, Rod



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Fine Arts Commons