For the past year, Colorado College’s Office of Communications has been promoting the school’s new brand. Adorning letter heads, t-shirts, admission brochures, and transportation vehicles, the striped, block-shaped logo has completely replaced the intertwining Cs. Rooted in “our program, our place, and our people,” the new logo incorporates CC’s Block Plan, the Rocky Mountains, and the CC community itself.
Identified in the college’s July 2013 strategic planning meeting, CC’s new brand emerged as part of the Communications Master Plan. “In my first year here, I did a year of learning, and one of the most common things I heard was that people wanted CC to be known for its distinctive qualities. They wanted us to extend our reach,” said President Jill Tiefenthaler. “The new logo and rebranding is part of that extension. It’s about telling our story better.”
Aimed toward the college’s students, faculty, alumni, and donors, CC’s new logo represents the college’s investment in providing a “clear and unified message to the campus community, alumni, and visitors… that reflects the nuances of CC’s distinctive curricula and programs and our special place, signifying who we are as an intellectual community.” When asked about the intent of the rebranding campaign, VP of Finance Robert Moore said that he hopes the college’s physical representation will “portray a powerful, integrated presence.”
However, the college’s tradition of excellence and innovation is neither confined to a logo nor a campaign slogan. Behind the admissions strategy, bookstore trinkets, and posters lies a community with a history of innovation and curiosity.
“College branding is an intriguing subject,” said longtime Professor Susan Ashley of the History Department. “On one level you have the actual branding, and on a deeper level you have the who and the why. The difficulty lies in the discrepancy between who we are as a college and how we want to be perceived.”
Over the years, CC has undergone a number of changes. Between adopting the Block Plan, placing a greater emphasis on academics, and rising in national prestige, CC has grown both in size and scope, spreading its influence across the nation. However, the college’s expansion doesn’t mean it has lost sight of its core values. Professor Dick Hilt, who has been a physics professor at CC for 50 years, said that despite the college’s internal growth, CC remains a place where students and faculty alike “learn something new while teaching something they know.” Hilt attributes this value of an intellectual community to the interdisciplinary courses that help define CC as a liberal arts institution. “We have a different way of doing things here,” he said, “and I think that’s what keeps us asking questions.”
As for the students, Professor Ashley, who joined the History Department in 1970 and served as Dean of the College from 2005 to 2012, still remains in awe of the student body. “As long as I’ve been here, CC has attracted extraordinary, imaginative, risk-takers who thrive under the flexibility and intensity of the Block Plan… and I believe that the faculty here nurtures students’ creativity and takes pride in cultivating unique, independent thinkers.”
Now preparing for its 143rd academic year, the college has extended its reach farther than ever before. Although just one of 550 liberal arts colleges in the U.S., President Tiefenthaler is optimistic about the future. “What sets us apart is not that we are a liberal arts school; it’s how we do liberal arts,” she said. With record high application submissions and an ever-growing presence in the Colorado Springs community, the Communications Master Plan appears to be headed in the right direction with a brand new logo at the helm.