Remaking the World

The University of Montana is the jewel of the Treasure State, but its reputation as such was in need of a renewal. In 2021, enrollment numbers were down, and setbacks in the media had dealt a blow to campus pride. The university needed nothing less than a daring new approach to set it apart both in the state and across the region.

"What we really needed as an institution was a story and a narrative that provided hope and healing for us."
— JENNY PETTY, VP OF Marketing


The University of Montana


Visual identity



The Objective

The University of Montana, and its hometown of Missoula, is nothing short of spectacular.
From any vantage, the beauty of the landscape is arresting, whether you’re rafting on the Clark Fork River or hiking the school’s own Mount Sentinel. This beauty alone, however, is not what sets the university apart from its competition in the surrounding region.

Through in-depth discovery and research, we found that UM’s key differentiator was the symbiotic relationship between the state and the university. For the campus community, Montana is not just a playground of outdoor recreation — it is a laboratory for the nations foremost researchers, a launching pad for sustainable initiatives, a spark point for creativity, and so much more.

Montana is the university, and the university is Montana.

And from this foundation UM is able to make an impact both in the state and across the globe.

The Process

“The team took the time to find out what this place is and who we are. There was a willingness to understand the environment we were working with, good and bad. It wasn’t about a marketing campaign. It was working within the psyche of the school.”

— JENNY PETTY, VP OF Marketing

The Launch

The first time I saw the concept, it scared me. The second time I saw it, I fell in love. And I watched as everyone at UM went on that same journey.”
— JENNY PETTY, VP OF Marketing
The brand’s look and feel is not typical for Higher Ed branding, but UM is not a typical school. It had to be fearless in order to claim its place as Montana’s flagship university.

Both the medium and the message had to communicate a sense of what it was like to be on campus, particularly in a time when in-person experiences were tenuous. Through immersive digital experiences and ad campaigns, the work was able to both community the personality of the institution while relaying valuable information to prospective students.

The Results

“The adaption process was appreciated because our community felt like they could give feedback and have a tangible effect on what the end product would be. Internally, that was a huge win for everyone involved."
— ANDY CHAPMAN, director of strategy
Following the launch of the brand, the university has seen a 24% rise in submitted applications. In Fall 2022, UM welcomed its largest first-year class in six years. To date, the landing page has been viewed over 250,000 times with 198,000 total users.

More so, the campus community has embraced the new brand and upheld its integrity.

Special thanks to:

Mike Roe,
Jason Shough,
Katie Schwendeman,
AD/UI Designer
Nik William,
Sr. Designer
Jae Ahn,

Let's make something great together.

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