Be Essential. Stay Essential.

Elizabethtown College was at a turning point. The opportunity: Fresh off the inauguration of an innovative and forward-thinking college president, the community was poised to reenergize Etown’s brand and redefine their place in higher education. The challenge? They’d been through this before… repeatedly, recently, and unsuccessfully. While we had the full support of an enthusiastic and motivated client, we were faced with the task of earning the endorsement of a justifiably branding-fatigued campus.

So we started the way we always do: By listening. We knew that a brand simply couldn’t be foisted on a community like this. We had to be empathetic. We had to be students of their experience. We had to ensure that everyone we met with—from incoming freshmen and senior staff, to faculty and the baker who holds the coveted recipe for the traditional Etown carrot cake—were active participants in the branding process. It was one-third strategic plan, one-third creative concept, one-third townhall meeting.

We didn’t aim to produce work that was clever or flashy. We produced work that was honest. We stripped the brand down to the frame and kept only those elements which felt true to what we had heard from the community itself. We looked to the history and traditions of Etown and produced a brand system which unified once disparate elements. Rather than invent, we updated. Rather than embellish, we edited. In the end, it wasn’t about dressing up the college for public display. It was about stepping back, removing distractions, and letting the world see Etown for the exciting, empowering, essential institution that it has always been.

We’re Listening. Let’s Talk.