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A Thoughtmark™

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Introducing the core concept behind a new branding initiative for Kalamazoo Valley Community College. A Thoughtmark™.

This comprehensive effort was undertaken by a synergistic, internal College Branding Initiative Team consisting of; Karen Visser, Marketing Director, Karen Matson, Design Instructor, Michael Keller, Honors English Instructor (and former Principal of the Keller/Moleski Advertising Agency), Steve Walman, Business Law/Accounting Instructor, Thomas Mills, President of MillsIdeas, llc and Advanced Graphic Design Instructor and Thomas Wrench, recent Kalamazoo Valley design graduate. Matson and Keller functioned as co-creative directors, Walman as a business advisor. I am the acting lead for both design and ideation aspects of the project. Wrench was hired for his skills as a junior designer and nationally-recognized young, collegiate photographer. Collectively, senior team members applied more than 150 years of industry-related marketing, design, branding, advertising and identity-development experience to the project.

A logo is not a brand. And, .edyou™ is not a logo, at least, in the traditional sense…it’s a visual manifestation of the Kalamazoo valley brand experience. I conceptualized .edyou™ and defined this new visual approach to branding as a ThoughtMark™ (a creative aspect) that, combined with two, traditional graphic elements, was created to form a new, three-part Branding Identity Toolkit for Kalamazoo Valley Community College. “Dot” edyou™ is beautifully simple and, at the same time, interestingly complex in an evocative, multi-faceted way. It assumes multiple roles, in that, each observer can appreciate and assimilate the nature of this ThoughtMark™ from their personal perspective.
What was it intended to represent? The answer differs and is unique to each and every one of us. It depends somewhat on our relationship to the school.

As a student, it’s an invitation to contemplate and engage in your education; on your terms, at your own pace, on your time frame, at a price you can afford. It’s also a reminder that the application of your education is dependent largely upon you, and what you ultimately make of it. The interrupted speak-bubble layout itself, in close proximity to .edyou™ is suggestive of people speaking “with” each other–in conversation, not just us, the school, talking “at you.” Two way communication. And, it infers the that you may return to the community college repeatedly throughout your life to benefit from perpetual learning, relevant, topical workforce preparatory studies and the acquisition of new skills.

As a faculty member, .edyou™ is part call to action. It’s a reminder that you work for and are an essential part of a very adaptive, innovative educational enterprise and that research has underscored just how approachable and committed you are to the future success of each and every Kalamazoo Valley student. It also represents the personal focus you bring to the classroom and your willingness to make sure each student is recognized individually and not as a number.

Research conducted to support the re-branding of Kalamazoo Valley, indicated the school to be a very student-centric organization. This means that administrators and staff at Kalamazoo Valley are essential, as are all of us in the KVCC community, for the ultimate long-term success, viability and strength of the school’s brand “engaging students.” Kalamazoo Valley is, in reality, a service brand and can be strengthened or weakened at every point of contact. .edyou™ is a steadfast reminder that we all must lead by example and “live the brand,” every day, all the time.

206 Responses to “A Thoughtmark™”

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