is a community & technical college located in northwest Minnesota. We designed and launched their new visual identity system.

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Northland contacted us to refresh their visual brand presence for both the academics and athletics programs. Our approach was to identify current challenges and clearly define areas of opportunity to either evolve the brand or completely redesign it. The Northland marketing team had clearly defined areas of concern with the brand – lack of consistency and a lack of guidance with the absence of a style guide. To view the work we created for their athletic's program, check out the Pioneer's project page.


We conducted surveys, focus groups and held several discovery sessions with: students, faculty, community members and alumni. The discovery sessions were informative to what the current sentiment of the brand was. Overwhelmingly, what we heard was that people wanted change. There was little affiliation with the existing logo & wordmark and there was an appetite for something innovative and expressive. Our challenge was to reimagine the brand with a new logo and holistic design language.

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The old brand (FIG. 5.0 see below) had issues with consistency partly due to the fact that there was no existing brand guidelines to help advise agencies, vendor partners and marketing team members. Various typefaces and colors were used and there wasn't a design system to connect the pieces. Our goal was to create a robust set of guidelines and create templates to increase uniformity without sacrificing flexibility.

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We used a simple triangle based off the letter "N" from the wordmark as the graphic motif for the brand. The triangle is a nod to the logo and also represents looking upward to the north. The triangle is used in various ways – a pattern on photography, a mask for imagery and expressive color usage.

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We helped Northland create a campaign promoting Z-Degree, a pathway for students to earn an AA degree without paying anything for textbooks. Our campaign needed to educate what a Z-Degree is, as awareness was very low. Secondly, we needed to show what the benefit was. Our campaign theme was "Zero textbook costs. One less obstacle." This immediately speaks to what a Z-Degree is and shows empathy by reducing pain points in cost. We also created a website to help drive awareness, educate, and drive information requests. Visit the Z-Degree website.

  • Brand Strategy
  • Discovery & Research
  • Visual Identity System
  • Brand Guidelines
  • Advertising
  • Campaign Development
  • Iconography & Illustration
  • Brand Launch & Rollout
  • Garrick Willhite
  • Bryn Bundlie
  • Anders Holine (Motion Graphics)
  • Northland Community & Technical College
  • Rebrand & Visual Identity System
  • Underconsideration: Brand New, The Minneapolis Egotist, AdFed Show
  • 2019