Standing Out in a Crowd

Center for Middle Eastern Studies Rebrand

Standing Out in a Crowd

We all know that college bulletin boards are packed with posters and flyers alerting communities about campus events. Programs struggle to distinguish themselves among the clutter and capture the attention of busy students. Harvard is no exception.

When we started work with Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES), one of the goals was to showcase the center’s work and relevance. In order for CMES to increase awareness and engagement at Harvard, it needed to stand out.

Founded in 1954, the center’s goal is to foster knowledge of Middle Eastern and Islamic societies and cultures. Unfortunately, the research being done by members of CMES was not always as topical as that of other centers at Harvard. To make sure CMES stood out, we needed to ensure its research was deemed relevant.

Consistent visual branding helps make you stand-out in a crowded market.

Our work began with an audit of existing CMES materials, including their website, brochures, posters, and stationery system. Through this exercise, we gained an understanding of how CMES was perceived by external and internal audiences. Although most people referred to the Center for Middle Eastern Studies as CMES, there was no formal identity developed for this naming.

The identity guidelines included unique pattern design inspired by Middle Eastern art and typography.

We created an identity system for CMES that included a graphic pattern inspired by Hebrew, Arabic, and Turkish script and art. The new identity was applied to the newsletter, brochures, and posters, giving the center a modern look and feel that was cohesive across all media.

The website was customized within the Harvard CMS system to ensure that it was unique.

Additionally, we developed the new website using OpenScholar; this Harvard Web Publishing platform offered the community a CMS supported by the school publishing team. The new CMES identity allowed the center to stand out in a saturated digital world.

From print to digital, the rebrand gave CMES a unique identity that met project goals and got a cluttered Harvard campus to take notice.

Recognition: AAF/Capital Region Silver Award

“Working with 2communiqué on our rebranding effort was a fantastic experience. We love, love, love the identity they developed for CMES, which captures the spirit and strength of the center better than we could have hoped. From our website to our printed newsletter, each piece they work on is just gorgeous!”

—Johanna Bodnyk, Web Editor & Communication Coordinator, Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University

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