This brand identity project was easily one of our most arduous and successful examples of applied design thinking. At nearly 64,000 enrolled students, the University of Minnesota is the 19th largest University in the United States, and the 12th largest public University. The College of Design (CDES) was a new College created to integrate the internationally recognized departments that all had a core design relevance. The nine individual programs and the nine individual minors that now make up CDES had previously lived under a galaxy of different departments and categories. In order for the U of M to compete nationally and internationally for talented design students, staff, and faculty the CDES brand had to completely reinvent itself. Department Dean, Tom Fisher had the visionary restricting mission to realign these departments that all focus on design in a college named design.

The Style Guide

The Design Process

Phase 1

We began by conducting extensive interviews with faculty, staff and students and had deep dialog with the stake holders in the brand. Replace authored the launch motto “What if” to center the design thinking around the shared “Tranformational” value of all design disciplines.

Phase 2

Further directions were developed to find one that could successfully envelop all of the disciplines in the school.