CU in Chennai
Since the 1980s, a private educational institution based in Chennai in the south of India had gained a strong position as a reputed engineering college under the name Cresent University.
Fueled by this success, the institution developed a strong focus on creating an active, project-based learning environment and added new faculties of Architecture, Law, Islamic studies and Pharma to their offerings.
To honour their founder, they changed the institutions name to B.S.Abdur Rahman Crescent Institute of Science & Technology, and developed the campus area into a lush, green and sustainable oasis.
Yet, the institution faced several challenges. In the highly competitive field of private education in India there was low recognition of the institutions strong heritage behind their new name and – and little awareness of the institution’s green agenda, its focus on project-based learning and its close collaboration with industry and society.
Stereo Associates created a strong brand and visual identity around the original name, Crescent University and the unique USPs offered by the institution. With a strong track record of working with project-based learning institutions in both India and Denmark – among others Roskilde University, Chaman Bhartiya School and Roskilde Tekniske Skole – Stereo Associates started out getting a deep understanding of the private educational market in India, and the dreams and ambitions of young prospective students and their parents.
In India, education and the choice of career is one of the most important decisions facing a young person. And it is usually not one taken lightly or individually. Most parents are equally involved, as they finance the cost of education and provide for the young until the first paid job. The future income potential therefore has enormous consequences, not just for young men and women, but for their entire families too, as they will contribute financially to the meet the needs of many. The choice of education is therefore often a compromise where parents expectations of academic excellence and the dreams of the young must merge.
Through observations and photographic documentation, on-site mappings, workshops and interviews with staff, parents and students, Stereo Associates gained invaluable insights which set the direction for the key project deliverables: visual identity and campus signage system, revitalized brand narrative, rebranding campaigns, photography and videos.
Key findings of the study showed that the choice of education is a compromise where parents and students expectations of academic excellence and a vibrant and young environment of possibilities must merge. Cresent’s focus on project-based learning and close ties with businesses and society proved to be a central point, uniting the young students change-making ambitions with the prospect of future financial security sought after by most parents.
Project based learning has a strong relevance and resonance in today’s India but is often not a part of college curriculums. Cresent university’s strong tradition for academic excellence combined with student’s hands-on experience of solving real world problems faced by businesses and society therefore became an essential part of the new brand narrative. The green and inviting campus environment and attention to women’s safety coupled with sustainable solutions like rainwater harvesting and modern facilities resonated strongly with both faculty, parents and students. Stereos therefore built the communication strategy around the following brand promise:
Crescent University is the ambitious choice for anyone who wants to make a difference. From our green campus in Chennai, we inspire students to deliver impactful, sustainable solutions for businesses and society.
The institutions traditional symbols of a crescent, a star and waves were used to create a new visual identity; signage system, logo and emblem that tied to the brands heritage but signaled a new beginning, still true to its academic roots. The original colour scheme of blue, red and white was kept to built on the existing reputation and goodwill, but adjusted to a more contemporary and youthful palette.
With the abbreviation CU for Crescent University, Stereo delivered a campaign that draws on university abbreviation traditions – think of UCLA, LSE and MIT – with an inviting, fun and young . The CU campaign was then added icons and emojis for use as main internal communication, campaigning and way finding.
Quote: Madhav Maheswaran, Managing Director India, was deeply involved in the project: “I know how much emphasis parents put into the choice of education for their daughters and sons – not least so in Tamil Nadu. I am happy that we succeeded in creating a great compelling story and visual design for Crescent.”
Outcome: Visual identity across platforms, signage system, revitalized narrative, rebranding, campaigns, photography and videos.
Tone of Voice
Visual Identity Design