Enhancing Campus Identity: The Power of Environmental Graphics in Higher Ed

Enhancing Campus Identity: The Power of Environmental Graphics in Higher Ed
by
Shelby Moquin
on
June 7, 2024
Higher Ed Marketing & Communications

About the Blog

In episode 54 of the Confessions of a Higher Ed CMO, Jaime Hunt converses with Adrienne King, Associate Vice President of Marketing at Indiana University, about the transformative power of environmental graphics on university campuses. This discussion highlights how the strategic use of environmental graphics can create a sense of community, enhance brand visibility, and foster school pride.

Building a Sense of Belonging Through Environmental Graphics

Adrienne King's journey in higher education marketing began early, inspired by her college professor mother and a deep-seated belief in the transformative power of education. With degrees in graphic design, public relations, and marketing communications, and a doctorate in educational leadership, Adrienne has seen firsthand the impact of well-designed campus environments.

At Indiana University, environmental graphics play a crucial role in activating their comprehensive brand strategy across nine campuses. These graphics aren't merely decorative; they are integral to creating a sense of home and belonging for students, faculty, and staff. By reflecting each campus's unique culture and community, these visuals help solidify the university's identity and foster a strong connection among its members.

The Strategic Role of Environmental Graphics in Branding

Adrienne emphasizes that environmental graphics are more than just advertising spaces. They are powerful tools for branding and creating memorable experiences. For example, at IU Indianapolis, the transition from IUPUI to IU Indianapolis involved significant environmental graphic changes to establish a new identity. Large, illuminated tridents on campus serve as beacons, symbolizing pride and unity, and reinforcing the university's presence in the city.

These graphics help prospective students visualize their future at the university, aligning with the overall branding and marketing strategy. By strategically placing graphics in high-traffic areas, the university can enhance the campus tour experience, making it more engaging and memorable.

Designing for Impact: Practical Considerations

When conceptualizing environmental graphics, Adrienne and her team consider the space's usage and desired emotional impact. They observe where students and faculty naturally congregate and design graphics that enhance these areas. For instance, at IU Indianapolis, the team focused on the visit space where campus tours start, creating graphics that highlight the campus's urban environment and vibrant community.

The creative process involves both internal talent and external partnerships. Indiana University's in-house creative team takes pride in designing impactful graphics, sometimes engaging in friendly competition to produce the best concepts. This collaborative approach ensures the graphics resonate with the campus community and reflect the university's brand values.

Leveraging Technology and Innovation

Adrienne also explores innovative ways to integrate light and sound into environmental graphics. For example, a collaboration with a local artist resulted in a large, illuminated trident statue in the Indianapolis airport, becoming a popular spot for selfies and reinforcing the university's brand presence. Such creative use of technology can significantly enhance the visual and emotional impact of environmental graphics.

Additionally, involving community partners and utilizing local talent can provide cost-effective solutions while enriching the storytelling aspect of these projects. Adrienne mentions leveraging relationships with local businesses and alumni to bring unique, budget-friendly ideas to life.

Key Takeaways

  • Environmental graphics create a sense of community: They help build a strong campus identity and foster a sense of belonging among students, faculty, and staff.
  • Strategic placement enhances branding: Placing graphics in high-traffic areas and tour routes can significantly improve the campus experience for prospective students.
  • Innovative use of technology: Integrating light and sound into graphics can create memorable and impactful experiences.
  • Collaborative design process: Engaging internal talent and external partners ensures the graphics are creative, relevant, and reflective of the university's brand values.
  • Cost-effective solutions: Partnering with local businesses and leveraging alumni talent can help create impactful graphics on a budget.

Listen + Learn More

For a deeper dive into the transformative power of environmental graphics in higher education, listen to the full episode on the Enrollify Podcast Network. Gain insights from Adrienne King and explore innovative strategies to enhance your campus branding.

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