Alumni Marketing

UCSC: Return to the Redwoods Alumni Campaign

We created the visual branding for this alumni event, along with custom web design and development.

The Challenge

University of California Santa Cruz has no traditional Homecoming event to serve as a focal point for alumni to reconnect with their alma mater. In lieu of this, they host an Alumni Week celebration.

Attendance for the Alumni Week festivities had been waning over the years, especially since the pandemic forced them to cancel in-person gatherings. Like other universities they held virtual events as an alternative, but with one of the biggest selling points about the school being its proximity to the gorgeous Redwood forests of California, a screen just did not capture the unique essence of the campus. As in-person events returned, the alumni office envisioned a new way to help their graduates reconnect with the university, and asked us to create the branding for it.

The Solution

When branding a program or event where your target audience is alumni, it’s important to not just create something that looks new and attention-grabbing, it should also evoke a sense of nostalgia, and familiarity so your audience feels like this is a genuine reflection of the school.

We started with a brand exercise to get a feel for the desired attendee experience for the event. The following phrases surfaced as key descriptors:

  • In awe of nature, otherworldly, feels like it’s not a real place
  • “Magical”
  • Rugged
  • Socially-conscious

This helped us narrow the scope for inspiration, where we settled on the aesthetic of vintage camping and national park badges along with a muted woodsy color palette. After a few iterations, where we played with fonts and included a nod to their school mascot, we landed on a distinctive mark that would be the cornerstone for the entire campaign, which included promotional collateral and a microsite to house all the event details.

The microsite we created for the event was the primary resource for attendees to get information and register. We worked closely with the client to prioritize key information and wrapped the right wording and graphics around it to evoke that nostalgic feel they were after. As the event drew nearer we supported the client team as they expanded the site with developing announcements around deadlines around registration, accommodations and programs.

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