College students at the Rhode Island School of Design are being asked to create a retirement message that resonates with young people by MassMutual's Retirement Services Division. The students are working to develop ways to reach members of Gen Y, those in their 20s and early 30s, to show them the importance of saving for retirement even early in their careers.

The effort is part of the school's Corporate Sponsored Studio: Designing Today For Tomorrow, in which students work with companies to develop graphics and communication materials that appeal to young people.

The graphics and other materials will be reviewed at the end of the summer class and could be used for a public or in-house MassMutual campaign to reach Gen Y members, said Jessica Barry, marketing consultant for MassMutual Retirement Services Division.

The class of 12 students is working on the project and the results will be announced at the end of the course.

"We came to RISD because these young thinkers aren't hampered by old 20th Century ways of thinking, and will come up with new and innovative ways to reach 20-somethings beyond what MassMutual alone can imagine," said Kris Gates, assistant vice president of participant and interactive marketing with MassMutual's Retirement Services Division.

"By developing action-inspired messaging that speaks directly to those just starting, we can help ensure they are better prepared for retirement than those generations before them," he added.

The design effort is part of a campaign by MassMutual to reach young people that also includes seminars and other projects that encourage Gen Y to think about retirement as they are starting their careers, says Barry.

-Karen DeMasters