– Amy M. Baier, M.Ed
Director, Strategic Communications + Marketing, University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies
In 2016, the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies (SCS) tasked SOS to transform a 244-page, corporate-feeling course calendar into two distinct calendars with streamlined content to help focus audience messages while introducing multiple ways to drive registration.
The final product needed to position SCS as a dynamic, groundbreaking global leader in line with other global peers. It also needed to revitalize the SCS story to align with the brand’s major principle: learners first. In addition, to consider the ability to cross-promote editorial content through other digital channels.
For the last three years, we created a magazine-style calendar based on their two key audiences: Business & Professional Studies, and Arts, Science & Humanities. Challenged with bringing each year’s theme to life, our objectives were to: create compelling and consistent visuals that drew in learners from a distance where distributed in transit stations, libraries and other public meeting points; convey the year’s theme in an ownable and easily understood solution; utilize editorial style to differentiate within the continuing education market; promote engaging content; and adhere to SCS brand standards.
We developed distinct interior content through custom portrait photography, infographics, editorial headlines, illustration, sidebars and unexpected creative to stand out among other school calendars. We conducted interviews and used hero stories to demonstrate the impact of personal and professional transformatio
Through focus-group testing and market research, we discovered that many SCS learners are focused and goal-oriented. We wanted to communicate that SCS can help achieve those goals in a supportive, approachable, measurable way, and showcase SCS’s depth and breadth of programming.
Research & Strategy
Two complementary course calendars
Out-of-home traditional advertising
SOS conveyed the first year’s theme, “Be Unlimited”. through the language used throughout the books and through a bold, outdoor and print advertising campaign.
A multiple-subject, five-location and studio photo shoot achieved the desired editorial look. The books include a repeated call to action to drive to the website for a more granular dive into the programs.
We created a refresher winter campaign to boost spring enrolment. Our visuals and copywriting continued the Be Unlimited theme, and compelling, market-disrupting visual language.
SOS Design further differientiated SCS in the market by commisioning custom illustration for the following year’s books and advertising. The theme of “Dreams to Action” needed to capture the aspirational nature of post-secondary learning while offering tangible steps, milestones and solutions. The content expanded and included a 30-subject, 7-day photoshoot. The illustrations were brought to life through animation in our digital campaign, radio and out-of-home focused campaign.
Tasked with communicating the theme “See your future of continuing education with 20/20 vision”, we utilized a familiar eye-chart tool to convey the notion of vision, and photographed a futuristic holographic background. The cover is enhanced in print by using spot gloss and matte UV varnishes. We carried the holographic texture throughout, utilized vision-related icons, imagery, and blurred/focus juxtapositions in surprising ways to strengthen our delivery.
Our Future U vision theme extended to a radio, digital, print and out-of-home ad campaign.
UofT SCS hosted its first ever SCS Celebrates event at Convocation Hall. 470 certificate-earners received their certificates, on stage, in a formal ceremony. Award-winning learners and instructors were honoured.
SOS designed a sustainable wordmark and on-brand look which can be utilized in future years, and applied it across collateral and giveaways. In addition, a custom interview-style video was produced which was played during the event and captured instructors answering questions about the program. The video acted as intermezzo pauses during the announcement of graduate names.
Applications included: tote bags, event program, Powerpoint presentation, engraved power charger giveaway, etched Toronto glass tumblers, a voucher card and a gift-card holder.