Venture Design, UI Design, Web Development, Founder
Develop a business plan and secure pledged funding. Design the brand identity and develop the website. Build a founding team to continue the venture
Senior Honors Thesis combining Entrepreneurship, Computer Science, and Design
For my senior honors thesis, I wanted to do something that combined my coursework with my passion for food & sustainability. I came up with the idea of starting a food truck my sophomore year. This was the perfect opportunity to make it a reality.
I founded Blue’s, a student-run food truck on a greater mission to promote sustainability, collaboration, and community engagement at Tufts University. As a fully student-founded, student-run business, Blue’s provides student founders and employees hands-on management & work experience, by granting them full responsibility of business operation. Over the course of one year, I built a founding team of twelve students and three faculty advisors and secured 60K in pledged funding from university leaders. The culmination of my thesis was a 50-page business plan, website prototype, and brand identity for the business.
The idea to start a student-run food truck at Tufts University was born my sophomore year, in passing conversation with a friend. Through a shared passion for food, we bonded to the concept of a space where students could cook while gaining real-world business & management experience, skills not inherent in a liberal-arts education.
Recognizing the lack of diverse, affordable food options on campus, we sought to explore avenues of food service that could fit the task. The idea came to us amidst the mobile food service trend hitting Boston, and the timing was just right. Mobile, adaptable, fun, and relatively affordabile, a food truck has vast benefits that outweigh those of brick-and-mortar restaurants.
To further understand the Tufts student body, gauge their interest, and test assumptions, I conducted three surveys over the course of three semesters.
BY THE NUMBERS
31% Freshmen, 32% Sophomores, 21% Juniors, 2% Others
When analyzing survey results, the desire for a food truck was evident. What was more interesting was learning why. Students were interested in having sustainable food options and cared about affordability and access. Some were excited about getting involved. Here is a snippet from one survey response:
“I would love to learn about the practical applications of starting a business, as well as all the intricacies involved. I also love to cook and think having a sustainable options for students to support with their dining dollars would be great.” - Sophomore
Collaborating with my founding team, we landed on a three-fold mission for the business:
Before designing, I always look for inspiration. I had a few brand qualities in mind: young, warm, and lively. I created this mood board to illustrate the feeling and aesthetic I was going for.
After landing on a name for the business, Blue’s (an ode to Tufts' school color), I sketched out hundreds of logo ideas. After many revisions and refinements, I brought my sketches to life in Adobe Illustrator, ultimately landing on a hand-drawn logo.
While doing research for the food truck, I stumbled upon a photo in the school archives of a working farm previously on Tufts land. This became the perfect backdrop for the logo and a key part of the brand identity.
Once I created the brand, I looked for trends in layout and structure of food establishment websites. I noticed that the content of these websites focused on three things: the story, the food, and where to find us.
I felt that the story and mission are central parts to Blue’s Identity and I wanted to convey this fluidly, just like reading a book. I made the design decision to use infinite scroll, placing content sequentially but leaving the option for users to jump to where they want at any point.
One of the final steps in the process was prototyping the food truck and designing the wrap. I wanted to keep the design simple, allowing it to grow and evolve with additional touches over time. This is the final design: