Ok, this isn’t really about how to high five because everyone knows how to do that correctly, right? What I do want to tell you about is how we worked with Five College Consortium (FCC) to create a stronger brand for them.
Five College Consortium is the hub of the five colleges in the Amherst area of Western Massachusetts: Smith, Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke and UMASS Amherst. FCC works as a connector of services, conduit for course/faculty sharing and facilitator of shared opportunities (shows, presentations, etc.). Being the center of these five amazing schools is wonderful but makes it easy to get lost in the shuffle and allows for a number of accidental brands to spring up. They brought us in to pull all of their components under an integrated brand visually and to set up guidelines for how to maintain that brand going forward.
With programs that are as diverse as Native American and Indigenous Studies, World Language Studies, and Queer and Sexuality Studies, the challenge was honoring that diversity while also making it clear that everything was part of the same family. We started by interviewing different stakeholders including department heads, faculty, administrators, and staff to get a sense of how they’re perceptions and needs differed as well as how they were similar. This worked well for them, especially in the sometimes politically-charged environment of academics and finite resources.
We took what we learned to build a style guide for their brand that would allow for baseline brand consistency. This included which logo to use, where to place it on materials, how to display the five-school names, a universal color palette, branded fonts, and header protocols. We then took those guidelines and used them ourselves to develop different materials across a number of individual programs and for the organization itself.
From our work, FCC has gotten kudos and recognition across the five colleges it serves about the branding consistency and updated look. But, even more importantly, such a rebranding creates an energy and ownership of a school’s experience just as it does for a nonprofit, business or agency. Take a look at a couple of examples on our Work Page.