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University of Virginia


Shared Energy

The nation’s first public university, the University of Virginia has played an integral role in the evolution of public education in the United States. Thomas Jefferson architected a new model for higher education, and the Academical Village—designed to create cross-disciplinary exchange—was positioned at the center of it all. For 200 years, UVA has fulfilled its cinematic origin story as a heavy-hitting research institution, top-ranked among publics, with 11 prestigious schools, a comprehensive health system, and top athletics programs. But the legend of Jefferson and UVA’s museum-like traditions were overpowering stories of ingenuity and innovation, compromising relevancy. In 2014, in the lead-up to the launch of its Bicentennial Commemoration and largest-ever comprehensive campaign, UVA engaged 160over90 to redefine, reanimate, and future-proof the UVA brand. 

To combat UVA’s historical reliance but honor its great legacy, 160over90 adjusted the narrative from Jefferson himself to the timeless ideals he espoused. The resulting brand platform, ‘Living Idealism,’ draws on the past while always looking to the future, reflecting the endless pursuits of the community and demonstrating a continued commitment to excellence, ingenuity, and leadership throughout UVA’s third century.

Themes of collaboration, experimentation, and constant evolution are explored via print, digital, TV, radio, social, and high-visibility out-of-home placements. We’ve worked to reposition the incredibly iconic Rotunda from a ‘monument’ to a bulldozer, honoring UVA’s radical ways of thinking about what sits at the core of an educational experience. We’ve reimagined the President’s report, Illimitable, into a biannual editorial publication showcasing the best of UVA’s pursuits, relaunching it as a rich media online magazine. And through a diligent process of engaging all corners of the community, we’ve shaped a creative and cohesive storytelling culture at UVA that now spans all major schools, admissions, athletics, advancement, and the health system.

In five years’ time, we’ve built more than a brand identity for UVA—we’ve created a dynamic ecosystem that reflects the true diversity, shared energy, and bold mission of one of the nation’s great universities.

  • RANKED 1ST FOR EXCELLENCE AMONG VIRGINIA UNIVERSITIES

  • 27% INCREASE IN UNDERGRAD APPLICATIONS

  • 88% OF STUDENTS ENROLLED FROM TOP 10% OF HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATING CLASS

  • 22 MILLION ANTHEM VIDEO IMPRESSIONS

  • 1,600+ COMMUNICATORS UTILIZING BRAND INTRANET

  • AMERICAN MARKETING ASSOCIATION’S HIGHER EDUCATION MARKETING TEAM OF THE YEAR (2017)

  • RAISED $2.75 BILLION SINCE FALL 2019 CAMPAIGN LAUNCH

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