A Catholic university in the Franciscan tradition, Cardinal Stritch University was founded in Milwaukee, Wis., in 1937 as a four-year teaching college for the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi. The institution has evolved greatly since then. Stritch now serves 4,600 undergraduate and graduate students in four colleges – arts and sciences, business and management, education and leadership, and nursing – on a 40-acre main campus as well as at multiple sites in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois. The school opens its doors to a culturally diverse student body of all faith backgrounds. It serves students traditional and non-traditional, residential and commuter.
This complex institution needed a straightforward brand narrative. The question was how to create one that would appeal to all segments of the Stritch community.
Enter Neustadt Creative Marketing.
Midway through a website redesign project with Fastspot, Cardinal Stritch University reached out to NCM to help define a brand platform that would advance the institution and support new directions for growth.
We started with research that focused on student needs, alumni giving potential, and the place of its multi-campus system in Wisconsin’s educational landscape. After analyzing the research and drawing our conclusions, we constructed a brand platform. Undergirding that platform was our mindfulness about its past and the hopes for its future. We sought to articulate the school’s priorities and values in ways that would prove appealing to young people today.
Upon completing the brand strategy and building consensus among the school’s deans and top administrators, we moved onto the development of a new identity system. The existing logo, featuring the lamp of St. Clare, was deemed to be an impediment with new audiences not schooled in Franciscan iconography. We replaced it with a circular mark inspired by the rose window in the Basilica of St. Clare of Assisi. The graphic standards manual provides internal staff with a summary of the brand strategy and explicit guidelines for its implementation in online and print contexts. (Read Fastspot’s case study for Cardinal Stritch to see how the logo and brand recommendations came to life on the Web.)
In addition to delivering the identity manual, NCM developed a series of templates and brochure designs for application across the institution. Equipped with a set of tools that were true to its guiding spirit, Cardinal Stritch University was better able to achieve its educational goals.