CU Denver Student Commons and Detour Mural
CU Denver Student Commons and Detour Mural

CU Denver’s New Meet Your Moment Community-Driven Brand Helps Create Sense of Belonging

January 29, 2024

Millions of moments start at CU Denver

DENVER—At every stage of life and career, it’s the right time to join the CU Denver community—that is the message the University of Colorado Denver hopes to spread with a refreshed brand that launched this January. Meet your moment at CU Denver.

Because a brand is so much more than photos, graphics, or a tagline, the Meet Your Moment brand refresh ensures that every CU Denver experience clearly expresses who and what we are—and how we help our students meet their educational, career, and life goals. All the brand elements are rooted in our community—the colors, textures, and sounds all come from our campus. In addition to our traditional CU Black and Gold, every color in our palette is pulled from and named for something from our campus and history—the stone and brick façades of our buildings, the bright trim paint on the historic Centennial House, acclaimed artist and two-time CU Denver alumnus Detour’s vibrant murals of alums, and finally the chokecherries found along the banks of Cherry Creek, which inspired the name of the waterway that flows through campus and was named by the Arapaho. 

Moments made possible by CU Denver

One of the reasons why the CU Denver Meet Your Moment concept resonates is that it allows people to focus on the big and small moments that have defined their lives. 

For Andrea Albo—a first-generation student from the Denver Valverde neighborhood—those moments helped her become a public servant and to carry on her family legacy in public advocacy, neighborhood engagement, and giving back. Albo knew that investing in her future with a degree at CU Denver would change her life. And it did by providing her with flexible learning options so she could juggle becoming a mom, holding a job, and taking classes, while increasing her lifelong financial stability. More than two decades after the moment she received her diploma, Albo is still making an impact as a public servant in the city she calls home. 

After growing up in a family business, Matias Gutknecht was certain that he wanted to be an entrepreneur. CU Denver’s 11-month MBA program gave him a chance to launch that career. During the program, he wrote and refined a business plan that—two years later—became Taco Uprising, a restaurant in Five Points with a focus on sustainability and community impact. 

CU Denver creates moments for: 

  • The first-generation student who’s charting a new path forward for their family and their community through life-changing education. We encourage others to push their own boundaries and be their own advocate.
  • The adult learner who’s aiming for their next promotion and the first-year, online, or international student who wants to expand their perspectives and make an impact on a local and global level.
  • The graduate student who wants to improve their community with research and action and the transfer student who understands the value of a CU Denver degree in helping them reach their goals.
  • The professor who’s inspired by their students’ fortitude and drive and the community members who partner with us to ensure we continue to honor our diverse and complicated history even while charting a new future.

Who is CU Denver?

CU Denver is a place where innovation, research, and learning meet in the heart of a global city. We are consistently named a top university for social mobility in Colorado. Founded in 1973, the University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver) is the state’s premier public urban research university. We offer more than 100 programs, with bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and professional and continuing education options. Across seven schools and colleges, our leading faculty inspires and works alongside students to solve complex challenges and produce impactful creative work in business, health, cities and societies, entertainment, and the arts. We partner with more than 14,000 diverse learners—at any stage of their life and career. 

CU Denver is both an independent campus and a part of the University of Colorado System, which includes four locations—Anschutz Medical Campus, Boulder, Colorado Springs, and Denver. CU Denver’s brand identity is part of the larger CU System but is unique in its strengths, offerings, and location. As part of the state’s largest university system, CU Denver is a major contributor to the Colorado economy, with 2,000 employees and an annual economic impact of $800 million.

How we got here and where we are going

To start, the in-house University Communications team deeply explored the marketplace, the university’s place in it, and areas for growth. 

“For CU Denver, the time was right to refresh our brand: We have a new 2030 Strategic Plan that focuses on making education work for all; the educational landscape has shifted notably over the last few years; and we needed to deepen our identity and story to reflect the strength of our values, our impact, and our sense of place,” said Marie Williams, vice chancellor for marketing and communications. “We have taken a highly personal and community-driven approach to this work to ensure it reflects who we are today, how we are different from other institutions, and how we create meaningful moments in the lives of our students—and Lynx—every day.”

Taking a central role in leading the brand refresh was Senior Creative Director Ian Scott.

“This brand is born out of our location here in Denver and our community. It represents our deep connections to this place, its origins, its history, and our vision that education can and should work for all.”

Then, the University Communications team presented potential brand concepts to a variety of community groups to ensure authenticity.

“This brand plays a huge role in introducing students to CU Denver,” said Ashley Weatherspoon, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Recruitment & Admissions. “This will be a milestone for our university and position us to attract students within the state of Colorado and beyond.”

This was accomplished over two years through an inclusive, campuswide process that engaged hundreds of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and thousands of other community members through quantitative and qualitative research, as well as hundreds of feedback sessions.

In a competitive higher education marketplace and in a location where learners can choose from a number of institutions, CU Denver must position itself to stand out to prospective students. We know that our diverse community—with more than 120,000 alums—is creating impact locally, nationally, and globally. And we know that our students, faculty, and staff are fueling the workforce of tomorrow by guiding innovation, creative work, and entrepreneurship.

Over the course of the past five decades, the CU Denver brand has evolved to fit the needs of our internal and external community. As we move forward into the next era of the CU Denver brand, we will use our past as a foundation for the future. This brand refresh will help us share these experiences, one moment at a time.

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