Title page for ETD etd-11192010-122754

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Harlan, Veni
Author's Email Address veniharlan@mac.com
URN etd-11192010-122754
Title Branding the Bear
Degree Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
Department Art
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Parker, Rod Committee Chair
Barr, Courtney Committee Member
Bower, Gerald Committee Member
Dean, Paul Committee Member
Malveto, John Committee Member
  • Louisiana Black Bear
  • Black Bear Conservation Coalition
  • Threatened Species
  • Branding
  • Graphic Design
Date of Defense 2010-11-11
Availability unrestricted
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.


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 organizationís 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 itís 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.

ďBranding the BearĒ 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. Itís 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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