DePaul University

An integrated marketing campaign for DePaul’s prospective graduate-level students.

With approximately 16,000 undergraduate and 7,600 graduate/law students at its campuses in Chicago’s Lincoln Park and Loop neighborhoods, DePaul University is the 13th largest private university in the United States, the largest private university in Illinois, and the largest Catholic university in the United States.

In 2011 DePaul’s Division of Enrollment Management and Marketing challenged us to extend its brand communication to prospective graduate-level students.

Acquiring an Education

Students who choose DePaul tend to seek opportunities to expand their view of their surroundings, to develop the ability to see beyond the obvious, to have a broader grounding from which to think, to solve, to lead, and to live. A highly respected educational institution, DePaul University has had a solid grasp on its brand since first conducting brand research in 2003.

In order to get our arms around the challenge and identify unique story-telling opportunities, we began our process by reviewing and synthesizing results of the university’s own research—insights gained through qualitative interviews, focus groups, and quantitative surveys conducted among students, parents, alumni, employers, and government and civic leaders.

What emerged from the data? A clear set of consistent strengths attributed to DePaul and areas of focus that ultimately became part of the university’s modified brand equities:

  • DePaul faculty’s wealth of real-­world experience
  • Its emphasis on high-­quality teaching
  • Its infusion of global and multicultural perspectives into its curriculum
  • Its focus on a balanced education both in and out of the classroom

It was also clear that students who choose DePaul embody similar mindsets and desires:

  • To seek opportunities to expand their worldview
  • To develop the ability to see beyond the obvious
  • To gain a broader foundation from which to think, solve, lead and live

With a solid foundation on which to build and a mandate to move beyond the pure recruitment focus of the university’s previous ‘Become’ campaign—to connect not only with prospective graduate and adult students but with the community, government and corporate leaders who help shape the university’s public perception—we worked closely with DePaul’s marketing communications director and her key team members to frame up the objectives for a new branding initiative:

  • Build and reinforce the updated DePaul brand
  • Increase DePaul’s visibility
  • Improve its position among key audiences
  • Elevate its overall image of academic quality

Articulation and Execution

Focusing on the practical benefits of DePaul’s unique attributes and the mindsets and desires of its students to learn and think broadly, we established a brand strategy centered on their new aspirational brand awareness advertising campaign: ‘Greater Perspective,’ then worked to translate it into a thematic umbrella—carefully differentiated but closely related messaging variations that would be effective across the spectrum of awareness and recruiting (lead conversion) efforts.

That thematic umbrella—See the World Differently—expressed through a unified, distinctive, and authentic aesthetic and applied across the spectrum of graduate college recruitment and awareness communications, from advertising and viewbooks to event promotions, email campaigns, roadpieces, and admitted student packages, provides a flexible communication platform that allows for audience-specific messaging.


An authentic, benefit-oriented, integrated campaign that builds on DePaul’s existing brand and seamlessly bridges the gap between public awareness and student-specific ‘point of purchase’ communications.

Unified but differentiated viewbook covers carry the theme.

The thematic umbrella 'See Differently' invites prospective students to begin that process immediately, while reinforcing DePaul's unique program approach.

A distinctive color palette and consistent typographic styles were established to help communication flow.

Documentary photography delivers a realistic representation of the DePaul experience to prospective students.
The multi-channel campaign included extensive collateral and digital support for each of the graduate schools.

Viewbook and program inserts.

Roadpiece / mini-viewbook collateral.

Admission kit.

First contact collateral and email templates.

Micro-advertising campaign.

Scope of Services


Research, analysis, campaign strategy


Copywriting, photography


Positioning, messaging, brand application


Integrated campaigns
Take a Hike Youth at Risk Foundation
Branding / Identity Digital / Web Marketing / Campaigns Print / Packaging