University of New Haven

A comprehensive brand engagement to support a comprehensive university strategy

Founded on the Yale campus in 1920, the University of New Haven is a diverse and vibrant community of more than 6,800 students, with campuses across the country and around the world.

Under the leadership of current President Steve Kaplan, the University has experienced a “renaissance”—as noted in the Daily Nutmeg. But President Kaplan’s hard work to strengthen the University’s financial position, reinvigorate academic programs, and attract dynamic new faculty members had outpaced the school’s brand—which had historically been left unattended.

While the University offers a broad range of arts, science, engineering, criminal justice, and business graduate and undergraduate degrees through its six colleges, some schools and programs were much better known than others—and some perhaps even better known than the University itself. The University needed to elevate the threads that ran through each program—and build the brand of a comprehensive university—but not at the expense of their magnet programs.

Sametz Blackstone and University of New Haven collaborated to develop a distinctive, yet flexible verbal and visual brand system that elevates each school / department so prospective students can truly see the depth and breadth within each college and program, while simultaneously promoting an authentic, overarching institutional identity that adds value to each one.

Our comprehensive brand-building initiative was in the service of:

  • increasing enrollment (and, to get there, increasing visibility, comprehension, applications, and acceptances);
  • continuing to increase the quality of applicants (and attendant selectivity);
  • bolstering contributed income; and
  • realizing President Kaplan’s vision of becoming, and being known as, a comprehensive University.

Leveraging insights gained through interviews with leadership, faculty, students, and alumni, we devised and executed a brand strategy focused on increasing—and promoting—the University’s value as a university, which encompasses a portfolio of colleges, all while elevating the offerings within each school.

In print application this came to life in a strategic system of viewbooks we created that centered around a high-level, overview piece, complemented by more tactical, college-specific “mini viewbook” pieces that communicated both the breadth and the depth of the University of New Haven offering to prospective undergraduate applicants—as well as a strong sense of the experience through first-person narrative.

As perhaps the University’s most important brand touchpoint, we reimagined the school’s website into a dynamic, story-telling platform that juxtaposes compelling imagery with critical information. In doing so, we created a site that meets the needs of an increasingly sophisticated set of users who visit with specific tasks in mind.

We also focused our attention on the recruitment of graduate students with a comprehensive campaign to support the University’s Executive MBA program that included messaging on the local NPR station, as well as a print piece. Still a work in progress are a series of graduate-level mini-viewbooks for each of the colleges, starting with the Tagliatela College of Engineering.

While it’s been a lot of fun creating these materials, we’re even more proud of the work that the University’s marketing and communications team has done with the brand system we devised. What we produced for the University of New Haven has become an asset for the school: one that has made communications easier, faster, and, therefore, less expensive to produce—as well as more creative, compelling, and cohesive.


In a very competitive enrollment marketplace, Sametz Blackstone understood the challenges our brand was up against. Moreover, they were able to work with stakeholders across campus to effect change.

Sue Pranulis, Executive Director of Marketing & Communications

Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences Mini Viewbook

College of Arts and Sciences Mini Viewbook

We are all thrilled with the result: a brand system that has positioned the University for success.

Sue Pranulis, Executive Director of Marketing & Communications


Executive MBA Program