Not all makeovers are created equal. Some redesigns
aren’t directed at addressing the shortcomings of a
prior design. Areas of emphasis change, identity systems
change, people change … and design work has
to change to reflect the new realities.
The advantages that a fresh point of view can
bring are apparent in a recent makeover of admission
materials for the University of Southern California
(USC) in Los Angeles.
The university’s Enrollment Services Department—
better known as the admission department—
had previously worked with Pentagram’s
San Francisco office to create its suite of marketing
and information materials. Pentagram partner and
creative director Kit Hinrichs developed an awardwinning
design approach that was startlingly original
in the world of admissions materials. His design was
so effective, in fact, that USC reprinted it virtually
unchanged for five years—a long time in the world
of college communications.
But after half a decade and the arrival of a new
vice provost for Enrollment Services, J. Michael
Thompson, USC was ready for a rebranding of its
materials. Southern California-based AdamsMorioka,
Inc. (www.adamsmorioka.com), was selected to
develop the new tools.
AdamsMorioka approached the project by
exploring the essence of USC. Partners Sean Adams
and Noreen Morioka met with admission staff, heads
of the university’s various schools and departments,
alumni, and students to identify the factors that
would determine their design decisions.