For Alaska is the first comprehensive fundraising campaign to raise private support across the University of Alaska system. Add in a hundred-year pandemic, deep statewide budget cuts, and presidential changes to both the system and foundation during the silent phase. This was the story of the University of Alaska.
One of the talking points that developed out of these challenges was the importance that the University system plays in the entire region. It benefits not only academics, but it also drives the economy, research, and job growth. We shaped the campaign voice and messaging to reflect this idea. This campaign is For Alaska.
While the campaign continues through June 2024, as of June 2022, the campaign has already surpassed its $200 million goal, with contributions from 18,426 donors. This includes a 117% increase in alumni annual giving, 26% increase in annual average total giving, and 145 new endowments.
Alaska is steeped in a rich tradition of Indigenous knowledge and blue-collar workers, yet it is also growing into emerging industries. The campaign attributes needed to honor both of these dynamics: vibrant, bold, dynamic, aspirational, momentous, primed for growth, rugged, and resilient.
The logo not only reflects the campaign attributes, but also the regions of the three Universities: the skies (Fairbanks), the mountains (Anchorage), and the flowing waters (Southeast). The rugged look with a script font reinforces the idea that much of Alaska has been built by hand.
The color palette captures the essence of Alaska. The primary colors of navy reflects the state flag, while the four campaign priority colors reflect aspects of the Alaska landscape (fireweed, glaciers, northern lights, and sunsets). This vibrant and bold look juxtaposes the hand-crafted logo, symbolizing the a transitioning region.
The wave icon—implemented as a design element in all campaign materials in addition to the logo—exemplifies constant motion, a continued momentum forward. It is fluid and ever-evolving. It can both shape and be shaped by its surroundings, the very essence of the University system in the region.
We chose to use a landscape orientation folder to highlight Alaska's landscapes for the case for support. The navy serves as a dark background to pop the three color waves (one to represent each university). This is seen in many of the overall campaign designs. The case for support suite received two CASE awards for excellence.
Rack cards for the case folder were made for all four priorities for each university (twelve total). This allowed each school to have their own story to tell within the specific priority. The front of the cards reflected the priority color, while the back used each individual school's color palette, thus giving a sense of ownership and brand buy-in.
Halfway through the campaign, we used the Foundation's annual report as a campaign update. We implemented campaign branding throughout the entire report to tell student and faculty stories, further emphasizing the impact and importance that the campaign is having on the people in the region.
We developed presentation materials that could be used at various events and speaking engagements throughout the campaign. We produced banners themed both to the campaign colors and university colors so that different banners could be utilized depending on the audience, or mix and match for more encompassing campaign events.
The campaign microsite needed to reflect a sense of awe and Alaskan pride. We also wanted to give a sense of momentum and action, so we chose a horizontal scrolling site that moves the waves as you scroll. Because of the complexity of this site—and due to limited broadband in rural Alaska—it required an almost entirely different tablet/mobile design that utilized photography instead of video.
This microsite received two CASE awards for excellence.
As part of the public launch, we created a series of videos highlighting not just the campaign as a whole, but the four campaign themes as well as student need. For the anthem video, we wanted a dynamic piece that tied together Alaska's past with its oncoming growth. The script was carefully crafted and edited to make sure we got it right, not just for the universities, but also for Alaska's Indigenous peoples.
The anthem video was awarded two CASE awards.
Video shoots produced by 2Core Films.
If you have the opportunity to work with Wessel Creative, do not hesitate. Tyler is innovative and balances the technical aspects, storytelling, and creative design like no other. To top it off, he is an absolute joy to work with. He truly became part of our team, even without ever setting foot on any of our university campuses.
Tyler was able to create a comprehensive campaign identity that resonated with each of us. Our Foundation President remarked that the creativity and level to detail is on par with the bigger creative agencies. He listened to what we wanted to achieve and ran with it. His video storytelling literally had us in tears. He is a creative thinker and skilled at bringing multiple visions together for an amazing product. He has helped take us to the next level.
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