Higher education is changing: students are seeking personalized, real-world experiences for their future careers, and schools are struggling to differentiate themselves. Small, private schools like Philadelphia University (PhilaU) were getting lost in the clamor of the city’s many institutions, and health sciences universities like Thomas Jefferson (TJU) were pushing for national recognition. As a result, the universities merged, and turned to us to help future-proof their combined program.
TJU is a health sciences university, while PhilaU focus ranges from engineering to design. We had to leverage individual strengths to create a single, holistic offering. Plus, there was a possibility that one set of stakeholders—students, faculty, alumni, and donors—would lose their school’s name. They couldn’t feel like they were losing their school, too. It would be necessary to deliver an identity these diverse audiences could rally around, representing where they had been, and where they were going.
Market research revealed the name with the strongest brand equity and most national/international growth potential was Jefferson. Even so, we ensured both schools saw themselves in the new university, visually and organizationally, beginning with the logo we created. The ‘J’ forms a shield, emblematic of a legacy institution and academic excellence. The space within the ‘J’ forms a ‘P’, designed to cue Philadelphia University, at the heart of the new Jefferson. This shows Jefferson as a union of two great universities.
Jefferson unveiled its new name in May, with plans to continue its structural rollout over the next three years. As medicine and engineering become more interconnected, the new school is uniquely positioned to contribute on an increasingly large stage, with President Dr. Stephen Klasko sharing Jefferson “will re-imagine education and discovery to create unparalleled value.”