Stevens Institute of Business & Arts is a small, vibrant college in downtown St. Louis. With five degree programs in one four-story building, Siba has believed in the power of small since its doors opened in 1947.
Though the atmosphere at Siba is personal and friendly, it isn’t for the student who wants a social experience and an education while they’re at it. There are no sports programs and Greek societies at Siba. There’s no quad or union.
For students who gravitate toward intimate environments and focused degree programs, Siba has much to offer. But for decades, the school struggled to be seen and heard amidst fierce and better-funded competition. When we first met Siba’s leadership in 2014, they wanted to generate more interactions with prospective students, increase enrollment and cultivate a more diverse student body. But they weren’t sure how or where to start.
Scope Brand Strategy Naming Visual Identity Copywriting Art Direction Print Collateral Environment Signage Website
Contributors Copywriting: Anna Stalker Design: Ben Proell, Ariana Schopp, Jason Tasso Photography & Video: Brett Crow & Matt Seilback Web Development: Alex Agatstein
All of this work took place during Matt’s tenure as a partner and creative director at Grain, and it was a full-team effort over the course of a year.
Siba had a lot going for them, but they were a hidden gem. The difference between online and in-person impressions was stark. To solve these problems, we led a complete overhaul of Siba’s brand identity, website and core collateral.
Rarely does an organization have an acronym that’s not only legible as a pronoun but also pleasant to the ear. Rather than a coat of arms or monogram, we designed a compact and dynamic logotype to serve as Siba’s primary graphic signature. We knew its stenciled letterforms would feel right at home in downtown St. Louis.
The building is a second-tier element with two versions. The seal functions as a mark of authenticity or a last impression. A large-scale version invites clicks and scribbles.
The resulting cocktail is a flexible brand identity that isn’t so much about a logo as a system of interdependent elements. The new system as a whole is confident and collegiate yet bright, contemporary, and a little offbeat.
We created an all-new website that immediately gives visitors a sense of the school’s physical space. A video at the top of the homepage walks you down a hallway toward the cafeteria. Visitors can immediately apply or watch a full-length video about the school.
It was critical to quickly and prominently highlight what sets Siba apart. For example, all graduates receive lifetime placement assistance. And, once accepted, first-time students have 30 days to attend classes, risk-free. Several of these stats appear below the intro video in playful thought bubbles that invite investigation.
Following the style established by the building seal and illustration, we created a series of playful illustrations for each program.
Whether you’re on a laptop or a phone, the application process is a breeze. You can subscribe to Siba’s email newsletter from anywhere on the website. And a revamped blogging schedule invites subscribers to return, learn and find inspiration.
The disconnect between online and in-person impressions is gone. Siba remains a gem, though no longer hidden. Most importantly, our work is helping them increase enrollment and foster engagement with current students and alumni.