York University School of Continuing Studies

A rebrand that centres personal ambition within professional growth

In 2020, we led a full rebranding effort for York University School of Continuing Studies. We worked with the School to develop a uniquely competitive market position, key messages and a visual refresh of the brand. Once in place, we designed all of their core marketing materials, a digital advertising campaign, led company-wide brand training and redesigned and developed their website.

Over a four month period, we gained deep exposure to the York University School of Continuing Studies, and examined the messaging and positioning of a range of competitors across the globe.

Through these efforts, we came to understand that continuing professional education programs have moved in step to position themselves as solutions to employer concerns, advances in technology, and changing market forces. While these pressures are real and central to the role of continuing education, our work revealed a significant brand opportunity for the School. By advancing a higher value, student-centred point of view, designed to inspire, challenge, and connect audiences to their personal aspirations and professional interests, the School would connect at the level of personal ambition. In short, while competitors frame student goals in ways that are defined by others, the School would promote individual freedom and the ability to pursue meaningful personal and professional growth, while studying in the context of programs that are current, relevant, and actionable.

The School’s new story would be about their students as individuals and the things they seek to achieve. The new School brand promise became: Accelerate the change you want to make.

A New Visual Language

Building on a new brand story and working within the constraints of the larger York University brand, we developed a new visual language for the School of Continuing Studies brand, including introducing a rich aubergine colour that served to counterbalance the youthful red of the York brand. We also built an entirely new photo library that featured highly diverse, confident and striking individuals who expressed a strong sense of purpose. 

Bringing the Brand to Life

Working collaboratively, we developed a training program to align the more than 70 staff members with the newly-minted brand story and market position.

We designed a full range of market assets. In addition, we developed the first digital ad campaign assets for the new brand — a campaign that delivered a 100% increase in engagement over the previous year.

The New School of Continuing Studies Website

As an integral aspect of launching the new brand, we fully redesigned and developed the School of Continuing Studies website.

Balancing design and technical priorities from the University rebrand, we consulted with stakeholders within the school and York U as a whole to understand the range of users and scenarios. We then fully reimagined the digital presence for the school with a design system that puts the program offerings at the centre of the user experience. This included a powerful program search feature, drastically improved content management with flexible content modules, more usable program navigation, and conversion-oriented marketing landing pages.

Our Work

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