Community-Based and Student-Focused: CU Denver’s Refreshed Brand Launches

Inspired by community input and driven by your feedback, CU Denver’s Meet Your Moment brand showcases how education can work for all.

April 16, 2024

What makes CU Denver unique?  

That was one of the fundamental questions, which fueled a two-year long brand refresh that the university launched in January. And to answer that question, we turned to you: our community.  

You responded with answers that define us, showcase our strengths, and inspire our future by centering on each learner’s individual educational journeys. In dozens of feedback sessions, you shared what CU Denver’s brand should represent: 

  • There are patterns in life’s journey and we need to recognize that decisions may not be about one thing.  
  • We’re optimistic.  
  • There’s an individual focus, but we’re part of something.  
  • We need to emphasize that education can work for all.  

As we developed concepts, your feedback helped inspire and direct us when you said things like:  

  • These images align with the people we serve and who I work with.  
  • The intersection lines were a great addition. 
  • The colors! 
  • Love the representation of students.  
  • This concept evokes our equity-serving goals in the deepest and most nuanced way.  

Along the way, you introduced us to members of the Lynx community that exemplified your sense of community, including:  

  • Audrey Whitesell, an electrical engineering student who transferred to CU Denver, said: “CU Denver helped me meet my moment by giving me so many opportunities to have them.” 
  • Will Mundo, a first-generation student who grew up in an underserved community in the mountains, said that CU Denver’s education and supportive community help him fulfill his dream of becoming a doctor. “My journey exemplifies the power of embracing your roots, while aiming for your future,” Mundo said.  
  • Matias Gutknecht used a business plan created as a class project to launch a restaurant business and said: “I knew I loved entrepreneurship, but after getting my MBA, I was empowered to leverage new skills with experience to bring my company to life.”

Through these voices we heard a common thread: CU Denver helps learners meet their moment. And that became the basis for a vibrant brand refresh that is much more than a tagline. It is a visual language infused with human-centered storytelling for our diverse community that establishes CU Denver as a top-ranked university with flexible and unique opportunities for learners. 

“The concept of Meet Your Moment was inspired by our campus community, who described to us how CU Denver facilitates many important milestones for our students, as well as for our faculty and staff,” said Marie Williams, vice chancellor for marketing and communications. “A CU Denver education is extremely meaningful for our learners, and we see them meeting their moment again and again. I am incredibly proud of the care that our in-house team took in developing our brand messaging and visual identity, which honors the past and our sense of place while also looking toward the future and inspiring a tradition of lifelong learning.” 

Where We Started:  

As part of the 2030 Strategic Plan, the University Communications team partnered with stakeholders across campus to create an inclusive, interactive project that was based on community feedback.  

The initiative focused on aligning the CU Denver brand with our ambitions and conveying why CU Denver is uniquely equipped to make education work for all. During the process, the project aimed to define the following elements of brand, including:   

  • Brand promise (what we stand for)  
  • Messaging pillars (what we say, including our new tagline)  
  • Creative expression (how we look and feel)  

And we had an opportunity to expand on what the CU in the City brand—which served the university well for a decade—had built to create an environment for our community to share more about why students choose CU Denver. 

What Came Next:  

Thanks to dozens of community feedback sessions with students, faculty, staff, community members, and leadership, we spent time listening to the things that make CU Denver unique.  

Shaped by those conversations, we shared three creative concepts with our community, including “Meet Your Moment,” which immediately resonated with audiences. “There’s something special about the way that this idea of ‘meeting your moment’ connects with people,” said Ian Scott, University Communications Senior Creative Director. “People immediately start thinking about the big moments and small moments that define their lives. And they make connections between the people and the places that support them. It creates a vibrant tapestry of memories that inspired our creative process.”  

Motivated to share that energy, we worked with the University of Colorado System, stakeholders, and community to develop a Brand Standards book, which supports our visual identity within the CU System, outlines our refreshed brand, and creates a roadmap for our community to put it into use.  

In January, we launched ads within the community, created a microsite that shares stories of students and alums who’ve met their moment, and redesigned our brand website. We introduced new tools, including PowerPoint templates and email signature generators, to support our university. We refreshed signage across the campus, including highly visible wall coverings in Denver’s downtown corridor. We also held in-person and virtual training courses with hundreds of community members across the campus. And we’re just getting started. 

What Now?  

The community has rapidly embraced the brand refresh. “It’s exciting to see how quickly our community has connected with the energy and authentic vibe behind the Meet Your Moment brand,” said Antonio Farias, CU Denver’s Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. “People see themselves, their friends, their mentors—and their futures in the commonality and unifying stories we’re sharing. This is vital because it not only supports the equity-serving goals we have as university, but it also helps prospective students and prospective employees see how they belong and are part of the change happening at CU Denver. That’s powerful.” 

This month, we’re hosting a campus-wide scavenger hunt on Thursday, April 18. Registered teams will receive a series of clues to campus locations closely tied to our refreshed brand. At each spot, there will be a task for the team to complete, which will unlock the next clue. Everyone who completes the scavenger hunt will be entered into a raffle for a grand prize, and all participants will receive swag. 

Thirty-two banners are also hanging across the Larimer Square to celebrate Admitted Students Day, our scavenger hunt, and our end-of-year festivities. Make sure to stop by, snap a picture under the flags, and tag UCOMM on social media for a chance to snag some branded giveaways.  

And we will continue to find opportunities to showcase the incredible ways that our students, faculty, staff, and community are meeting their moment. This will be on full display on May 11, when more than 1,000 learners cross the stage during spring commencement. As they celebrate the big and small things that prepared them for that day, we’ll be there to cheer them on. Because CU Denver makes education work for all.