Building an Energetic Brand
From the Ground Up
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.
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.
Creating a Campus To Inspire Learners
and Engage Visitors
Since the new CSU System’s Spur campus was yet to be developed, all our team had to go on was the in-depth information we gathered from our robust Discovery session and interviews, a few exciting renderings, and a whole lot of research and imagination.
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. By conducting multiple in-person exercises with the CSU System team, we came up with a name that broke the tradition of a conventional title for an educational campus and that everyone involved could be proud of. In addition to designating the overall campus, we also named the three on-campus buildings that focus on water, food, and health as Hydro, Terra, and Vida, respectively.
From there we developed brand messaging and a highly-flexible design system for the visual identity. This 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 name (and names for each of the three buildings), 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 an incredible amount of support and positive feedback for the new campus and AOR is looking forward to continuing to assist the CSU System team in any way we can.