NC Central University has been a Durham institution since 1910. Generations of families have come through the University, and it has positively impacted thousands of lives. Unfortunately the main branding had become dated, and was not reflective of what NCCU is or where it wants to go overall. New leadership sought a new look and feel, and we were asked to help.
The trick to designing a logo for a university is to evoke a sense of place and history without descending into the usual trope of depicting a beloved bell tower, cupola, building, or other hallowed landmark. Our solution was to take a little-known but important architectural element from NC Central’s historically significant administration building: the quoin. By stylizing these quoins, we were able to create a bold, elegant logo that echoed the wings of an eagle, the University’s revered mascot.
The Strategy Behind The Work
NC Central’s main strategic problem was the same as other historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs): the need to attract more diversity in the student body. With more educational opportunities available to their traditional student base than had been the case throughout most of the institution’s history, NC Central needed to both update the look and to make it more appealing to more people. All while retaining that which makes it special and unique as an HBCU. Quite a trick.
The key is, as it almost always is, in mindset. What KIND of student are we looking for? We talked to dozens of people, as we always do – students, faculty, staff, administration, alumni, and found that…
We were looking for adventurous learners.
People are actually not looking for an “ordinary” college experience; rather a fusion of different people, situations, techniques and perspectives. Just the kind of things NCCU is chock full of.
NC Central has been transforming lives since its inception, and the next generation of students will be no different, even as the student body grows more diverse.