Behind the Pace Brand
After nearly two years of research and input and feedback from Pace students, faculty, and staff, Pace has debuted a new look. To better understand the process and how faculty and staff can continue to support our core mission, we chatted with members of the branding agency Mindpower, who the University worked with to develop its forward-thinking vision.
As you have certainly seen, Pace is in the midst of an exciting rebranding process, that was created in partnership with branding agency, Mindpower. To better understand the work behind this initiative, we sat down with Mindpower's Director of Creative Strategy Hadley Higginson and Senior Art Director Bo Uzzle, who shared some insights about the process—much of which was conducted in unexpected circumstances as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Below, Higginson and Uzzle discuss the concepts behind our new brand drivers, some ways that Pace notably stands out from the pack, and much more!
The new brand strategy is largely centered around Pace University as an institution for "Go-Getters." How was this idea initially conceptualized?
Hadley: It began with the NYC campus, just feeling that energy, and then when we visited Pleasantville, we had to back up for a moment — because it was such a different vibe. Peaceful, lots of greenspace, very calm. But the more time we spent there, the more we realized there was a similar sense of purpose, of focusing on goals. And what was really interesting, when we got the results of our quantitative research, was that Pleasantville students actually scored higher than New York City students in terms of being career-oriented and end-game focused. So, that was a crystallizing moment; we knew it really was a common denominator. Whichever environment you choose, wherever you are in your life, wherever you want to go, Pace is the place that will move you forward.
And to clarify, we don’t mean Go-Getters in the sense of, “I’m going to make lots of money and be really successful and get all this recognition”— of course it’s wonderful when that happens, and plenty of Pace students are successful in that way — but we were also thinking about SOE students and health sciences students, and the fact that a big part of their end game, their goals, is going to be about serving their communities. And they’re going to do that with the same amount of drive as someone in Lubin, or Seidenberg, or the law school, or the performing arts program. Go-Getters acts as an umbrella for all those different goals and dreams.
During the rebranding process, did anything surprise you or particularly stick out, relative to other institutions you’ve worked with?
Hadley: During the quantitative research phase, one thing we really noticed was that “optimistic” stood out as an institutional trait. Our senior researcher brought that to our attention—it’s not a trait that typically rises to the top. She pulled it out for her report, and that influenced the concept as well, because it signaled a sense of positivity behind the energy. It’s not just about straight-up ambition!
Bo: The ethos that’s reflected in the students, it begins with the faculty. They really shepherd the process. They’re committed to seeing students connect with careers, as well as opportunities that further their goals and allow them to explore their interests. We deal with hundreds of institutions across the country, and Pace is unique in the extent that they do this. They stand head and shoulders above other universities, in my view, in that sense.
Can you tell us about the idea and concept behind the new Pace wordmark?
Bo: The new wordmark comes from a feeling of substance. A feeling of, “let’s get down to business.” What happens at Pace has impact.
We wanted something really bold that had a directional feel to it. The A is particularly pointed in the very center of the wordmark, and it functions like an arrow. The rest of the letters look tooled—not as in sharply crafted, but in the sense of something that you could use as a tool, possibly. So, we worked to find things that would pair with that.
Uniform typeface is a very modern, geometric sans serif that has a great range of weights and degrees of condensation. The choice of using condensed type—tall, skinny, letter forms—is directly reflective of the Manhattan skyline. We really placed an emphasis on that, and when we used the more regular setting, where it’s rounder, as a solid block, that goes back to the hard work ethos.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Hadley: We’re so excited to get into the execution phase. We’ve loved working with our Pace partners, and we can’t wait to see this come to life!
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