Educational institutions make up a relatively untapped market for LinkedIn. As such, they are expanding their marketing efforts to promote themselves as the best platform by which schools can build relationships with students. LinkedIn is able to provide universities with data that will strengthen their own marketing strategies. But proving their value has required them to personalize their message and brand.
LinkedIn had to make tactical decisions to appeal to a very specific audience; they needed to create a sub-brand that showed an understanding of university life and values. The new brand and marketing materials were to look friendly, smart and aspirational.
We started creating the sub-brand for LinkedIn EDU like we would any other branding project: defining a set of core assets. We thought through the details of color, font, imagery, etc and developed a look and feel that would reflect the energy and optimism of a university environment.
Typography was bold, yet playful. We created a specialized style for headlines that features a thoughtful combination of typefaces (both a slab serif and subtle script) and elsewhere, incorporated LinkedIn’s standard fonts to ensure consistency.
We chose a color palette that has a similar personality — light, bright and energetic. We also defined a specific style for photography and built out a library to be used in subsequent marketing materials. The photos offered snapshots of college life, both from a student’s perspective and from an administrative lens. Like LinkedIn’s existing photo style, the new library consisted of images that looked authentic, rather than stock-like. They were perhaps the most crucial element in setting right the tone.
After the new look & feel was established, we began applying it to a range of marketing materials. It has continued to evolve, but has been used with consistency on large presentation decks, eBooks, display banners and social ads, as well as specialized infographics and sales tools.
The new marketing materials have fueled LinkedIn’s efforts in targeting educational institutions. They have been received well and have ignited interest both internally and amongst their first university clients. LinkedIn anticipates a lot of growth and potential revenue and given their early success, have increased the resources dedicated to the educational market. The have filled the calendar with projects and deadlines that span the next year and we look forward to continuing this partnership and further defining the affect of this new brand.
Physical Education Rebrand
Cal Berkeley’s Physical Education Department wanted to rebrand itself and create a distinct identity that stood out from the university’s overarching brand. Their goal in doing so was to boost enrollment in their classes and encourage more donations. But challenging the process was Berkeley’s existing set of brand guidelines. It restricted the use of colors, fonts and graphics to a very specific set.
We created the logo first and used it to inspire the deliverables to follow: postcards, promotional banners, apparel, and eventually, a new website.
The branding initiative started with the creation of the department’s logo. We delivered several concepts—all typographical and appropriately sporty. They included pieces of the university’s existing “Cal” and “Berkeley” logos, and utilized the navy and gold color palette specified in the guidelines. The fonts we used were strong and bold, yet simple and by the time the logo was finalized, it looked both pronounced and undecorated.
Building out the rest of the deliverables required the invention of new design elements while also pulling graphics from their existing materials. Most significantly, we decided to make photography a primary focus. The photos added visual interest and advertised the department’s programs without the need for additional messaging. Of course, the quality of the images was critical; we provided guidance in using both stock photography and images from their library.
The department was thrilled with their new brand. They immediately produced a slew of swag—tshirts, tote bags, notebooks, frisbees, etc.—and used the items to generate excitement for the current enrollment period. The website is currently in development with a plan to launch before the New Year.
The Inspire event grows larger every year, and with it, so must the spectacle. This year’s theme was the “Math of Success.” The goal was to celebrate the numbers—or more accurately, the dollars—that customers have saved as a result of their partnership with Coupa. The goal was to make a statement.
While the event was in production, Coupa was in the midst of updating their brand identity and styleguide. The project required a great deal of communication and flexibility.
Given the event’s logo and theme, we came up with multiple visual concepts. All revolved around the use of numbers and monetary symbols, but each took a different approach. The concept they chose featured numbers arranged in a dynamic pattern. The pattern was applied at different scales, alternating between being used as the primary graphic or merely a subtle texture. The company’s core color palette was emphasized throughout the space, and photographs of real Coupa clients gave the event a personal touch.
To really make a statement, we even researched experiential design installations. We found a number of vendors to help and managed the production of two giant stacks of money (fake money, of course).
In the weeks leading up to the event, we worked around the clock prepping each piece for print. This included all signage and a range of event materials like name badges, stickers, booklets, table tents, etc. When the conference started, everything looked beautiful.
2015 generated the most hype and largest attendance in the event’s history. It was given multiple mentions in the press and the buzz around the design was very exciting.
We helped brand the after-party, and redesigned the event’s financial theme with an urban twist. The numerical pattern looked a little grunge, a little graffiti and we had a lot of fun. In the end, we celebrated right along with them and jumped on board for Coupa Inspire 2016.
Symantec needed to update their website in less than a week. The existing design and structure were outdated and required a refresh that aligned the company’s look and feel with its cutting-edge technologies. They wanted to look modern, vibrant and exciting, while still retaining an image of invincibility.
All hands on deck! We dove in and dedicated our whole team to the project. Collaboration internally and with the Symantec team was important. We proposed a new direction that was clean, bold and open. The new structure minimized content and lead users through a longer, scrolling page. Images filled the screen, no longer contained to the bounds of a small box, and there was a clear focus on screenshots to provide an important preview of Symantec’s UI.
Our strategy came down to one thing: user experience. Every detail contributed to providing an easy path to the right information. Every page was lined with CTAs that eliminated the need to hunt and guided users through a quick-but-thorough tour of Symantec’s solutions.
With the help of Symantec’s development team, we were able to give their site a major refresh in five days flat. The new design was a drastic and exciting change. It set the tone for the rest of the site and pushed their brand forward. Most importantly, it established an ongoing partnership with the company. The CEO, CMO and entire Symantec team were thrilled by our efforts and look forward to working together to further strengthen their brand and online presence.