Princeton University: A Year of Forward Thinking

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Princeton University: A Year of Forward Thinking

The Challenge

Our team was working with Princeton University on a high-level branding project when the COVID-19 quarantine hit. The university’s faculty and staff began to work remotely, dispersing the vibrant Princeton community and throwing campus life into uncertainty. But the university’s response was emblematic of their expertise as problem-solvers. They asked us to dive into something entirely new: a brand and site to pull Princeton together and energize the community around forward-thinking ideas and working toward the common good.

We had to act fast. We had just a few weeks to develop a brand, site and an ‘anthem’ video to advance A Year of Forward Thinking—a call to the Princeton community to share work, make connections and engage around the complex issues that present themselves in our world. 

The messaging, during a pandemic, had to strike the right tone. The brand had to unify the university and inspire it to engage deeply around racial injustice, disease, climate change and more, without over-simplifying any of the issues or their potential solutions. 

Princeton’s mission was to create cohesive, energizing and authentic connections. Our job was to pivot proactively from a global branding project to an urgent new effort to create a branded online platform to foster this new effort. 

The Solution

Our solution took a phased approach. In three weeks we provided Princeton with a flexible, beautiful site that introduced the brand with a compelling centerpiece: a video that sets the tone for the brand and promotes Forward Fest, an ongoing event series that brings Princeton’s world-class talent together to discuss research and streams of thought around key themes.

Phase two built out the event system and included aggregated social media and article templates that allow Princeton to share and discuss ideas. The site organizes and links out to forward thinking content across Princeton channels, exploring pressing issues related to equity, sustainability and health.

The Result

Princeton responded nimbly to the moment. We responded nimbly to our client’s needs. Our phased strategy allowed Princeton to launch its new initiative promptly and generate awareness. Our video is engaging. It positions the initiative fittingly and demonstrates the brand’s strength. Responsive and relevant, in short order.


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