Building a campus and Denver destination unlike any other.

Colorado State University System

Branding, Website Design & Development

Crafting A Brand

In the summer of 2019, CSU System partnered with AOR to start the process of building a brand identity for their campus that would be unlike any other in Colorado. Destined to be a beacon for lifelong learning, curious residents, and thought leaders from around the world, this campus needed a brand to reflect that.

rendering of a csu spur building

Finding Inspiration & Creating Energy

But with two years to go before the project was set to complete, our team had to do a lot of digging to uncover the brand’s true essence. In addition to the challenge of branding something that did not yet exist, we needed to make sure the brand was energetic, spoke to many partners and target audiences, showcased the innovation, and was reflective and respectful of the diverse history of the University and the site in North Denver—all without feeling stodgy or overly academic.

Developing A Campus to Inspire Learners and Engage Visitors

Since the new CSU System’s campus was yet to be developed, our team had to gather in-depth information from our robust Discovery workshop and interviews, a few exciting renderings, and a whole lot of research and imagination.

rendering of a csu spur building


Our First Step? Finding The Perfect Name.

Instead of limiting this process to just the AOR creative department, we opened it up to an agency-wide collaboration. Finally, we landed on ‘CSU Spur’ — finding inspiration in the word’s definition of “promoting excitement, energy, and innovation” as well as its implicit tie to western heritage due to the campus’s proximity to the National Western complex. In addition to designating the overall campus, we named the three on-campus buildings focusing on water, food, and health Hydro, Terra, and Vida, respectively.

csu spur banner with paint lines on it

csu spur banner with water on it

The Brand Comes Alive

From there we developed brand messaging and a highly flexible design system for the visual identity. The logo represents the idea of a railroad spur (did you know that Denver was once a railroad spur?) and also contains the letters ‘CSU’ hidden within it. This logo design came with a vibrant color palette that evoked the energy and innovation of the campus and could translate the brand essence across all touchpoints, including the newly designed and developed website AOR created.


An Innovative Addition to the Denver Landscape

Armed with an impactful campus and building names, strong brand messaging, visuals, and a new website, the CSU System team has been able to hit the ground running promoting the new CSU System’s Spur campus. As a result of that PR, there has been incredible support and positive feedback for the new campus.