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  • Nancy Soulliard

Rebranding and redesigning to tell the stories of students’ experiences

Messiah University’s magazine is one of the primary recruitment tools for our prospective students to learn about campus life.

Visual storytelling.

My design career grew out of editorial design and visually telling stories. Bringing a story to life through the right photography, illustrations and compelling infographics has always been well-rooted in my design purpose. For projects at Messiah University, I work to shape the story by building assets throughout the year–art directing photo shoots and scheduling photographers for events and experiences we plan to feature in our marketing pieces. While we have many smaller pieces that speak to specific student populations at different points in time, this admissions magazine tells the broad story of the Messiah University experience. Our goal is that prospective students can visualize themselves in the Messiah University community. Distributed to students at college fairs, through mailings and on-campus visits, this piece reaches close to 50,0000 potential students and their families a year. Throughout this piece, we connect to multimedia as often as possible with friendly URLS to our website and videos for a deeper dive into the information.

Redesign. Rework. Refine.

When this magazine originated in 2012, it was to bring together a variety of brochures and marketing materials that were previously given out separately at college fairs and campus visits. We purposefully planned the organization to build the story of Messiah College and encourage prospective students to join the community. This created a single cohesive piece that told the story of the Messiah College experience and ends with the call to action– submit an application. The back of the magazine has always featured the newest list of majors since that’s a primary focal point for prospective students. Admissions counselors could now sit down with families and talk through the Messiah experience working through the pages of this piece.

While it’s maintained most of the strong structure created in 2012, it’s been redesigned and reimagined yearly. We’ve changed cover styles, infographics, added a full location map and a fold out back cover that really highlights photos of our beautiful campus. It grows and changes as the styles, trends and needs change for the higher ed market.

Rebranding In 2020, Messiah College became Messiah University and we redesigned the magazine, too. It features more vibrant colors, trendy infographics and colors overlaid on photos to visually connect and help unpack our stained glass marketing metaphor. The photography gives a strong sense of place so prospective students can feel comfortable in the environment they will be living and learning in. The 2020 edition also features sidebars on how Messiah quickly pivoted in response to the pandemic and will continue to educate students amid this unusual time.

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