The Collaboratory


The Collaboratory

Connecting enterprises and cutting-edge creatives.

Professional design challenges require innovative design solutions. That’s why The Collaboratory exists – to bring together forward-thinking businesses and emerging creative talent from Ringling College of Art and Design.

The Collaboratory is an opportunity for Ringling College students to put their skills to work in a professional setting, while also providing businesses and brands with innovative, relevant design solutions from some of the nation's most talented young artists and designers. Whether you're a student or a client participating in the Collaboratory, you can choose to engage in a number of ways, from a one-day workshop charrette to a long-term, multi-semester engagement. 

FInd out how you can participate!

The Collaboratory is a partnership between Ringling College of Art and Design and The Patterson Foundation. 

Ringling College of Art and Design
The Collaboratory
2700 N Tamiami Trail
Sarasota, FL 34234



Why Get Involved?

Whether you're a client or a student, participating in the Collaboratory will grant you incomparable access and a fresh perspective.


For Collaboratory Clients

Organizations partnering with the Collaboratory gain access to fresh perspectives on their new and existing design challenges from some of the world's most talented young artists and designers. You will collaborate with the emerging creative leaders of tomorrow and upon completion of your project, you will:

  • Discover new, effective ways to approach existing design challenges
  • Enhance your understanding of millenial audiences and creatives
  • Network with soon-to-be leaders in an array of creative disciplines
  • Tap into the minds of the world's most inventive, passionate new artists and designers

You will collaborate with the best and brightest at Ringling College to break new ground and stay ahead of the curve. Collaboratory students and faculty have employed their expertise in diverse industries such as hospitality & tourism, law enforcement, healthcare and biomedical, and e-commerce. 


A happy client

"We were absolutely thrilled with the creativity and quality of the design concepts we received. Investing in this charrette was one of the wisest business decisions we’ve made for our new restaurant and bar."

- Jill Ramsey, Sanctuary Holdings

For Collaboratory Students

Students participating in the Collaboratory quickly acquire the skills needed to thrive in our fast-paced professional work environment. As a Collaboratory student, you will work on faculty-led teams and collaborate with clients to tackle exciting design challenges. Through the process, you will:

  • Strengthen confidence and familiarity with professional work demands
  • Test drive your emerging technical and conceptual skills
  • Network with the most innovative companies in the world
  • Build a comprehensive, competitive portfolio
  • Be eligible for scholarship opportunities

By partnering with The Collaboratory, organizations provide our students with priceless experiential learning opportunities. Working with client organizations fosters a greater understanding of a business’ specific challenges, imparts knowledge about and interest in the industry, and can yield new relationships that will last a professional lifetime.  


A happy student

"Working with real clients while still being a student is priceless; it’s low-risk but has the high pressure and countless possible outcomes of a real job setting. These experiences have resulted in me understanding several industries and how they work and given me insight into my own future."

- Keith Nelson, Business of Art and Design student



Inside The Collaboratory Commitment



Collaboratory Project Types

The Collaboratory offers businesses, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations three flexible options for engagement:


Build quick, creative solutions.

A charrette is an intense, collaborative session in which a group of designers will draft a solution to a design problem. The Collaboratory’s Charrette program is one of our most popular offerings. In 72 hours or less, our student teams have performed minor miracles for clients—transforming their brands and businesses over the course of a weekend.

Case Study: Sanctuary Holdings (PDF)

Class Projects

Collaborate on a comprehensive campaign.

Over the course of 16 weeks, faculty-led student teams will take a deep dive into an organization, working with leadership and staff of the organization in need of innovative business solutions. Applying theoretical classroom learning and professional design practices, the student teams conduct vigorous research and ideation, and develop a variety of design approaches to come up with the most effective solutions for an organization’s specific needs. Typical engagements involve weekly meetings, multiple rounds of prototyping and comps, and comprehensive strategies that range from branding to merchandising to traditional and social media campaigns.

Case Study: Paris Baguette Cafe (PDF)

Long-Term Projects

Keep a winning team together.

When you’ve got a good thing going, it’s hard to say good-bye. That’s exactly how the Sarasota Police Department felt after the completion of an initial Class Project with The Collaboratory. What began as a new logo and website design project has evolved into a multi-year engagement that includes long term community relations and internal design initiatives. Long-term projects can range from several semesters to several years in length and are customized based on the clients’ needs and priorities.

Case Study: Sarasota Police Dept (PDF)



The Collaboratory in the News

See what people are saying about us!


The art college payoff, Tampa Bay Times, 9/8/14

Collaboration Nation, Business Observer, 6/5/14

Ringling students' designs winners for Virgin Islands, Sarasota Herald Tribune, 5/12/14

Sarasota Police Chief offers new image for the force, Sarasota Herald Tribune, 5/5/14

Police collaborate with college students to re-brand their social media image, ABC News, WWSB, 4/25/14





We’d love to hear from you! Please contact us at or call 941.359.7522.


Request Info