Northwest Christian University

What’s Calling You?


Style Guide
Brand Development
Campaign Development
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What’s Calling You?

Not long after Northwest Christian College changed its name to Northwest Christian University, it called on us to help develop a logo and tagline that would demonstrate the importance of its Christian mission without alienating those who might not initially consider a Christian college but who would be compelled by small private college with a focus on the whole student experience.

The university requested that all logos utilized the initials “NCU” centrally, but that there would be a more formal rendition of the logo as well. Any time initials are involved, it is a challenge to create a meaningful mark, but there are instances where it makes sense. Our explorations turned out a number of very strong possibilities, many of which related to the university’s icon of a beacon. In the end, a simple embedding of a stylized torch that also reads as a radiant body led the pack and was adopted. We’re happy to see it in active and successful use in all media, from digital to billboards.

As for the tagline, the strongest and most enduring branding comes from the heart, so we worked with the upper management team and accessed a body of existing research in order to more clearly define the NCU student experience and university character. When stakeholders and students were asked what differentiated NCU from other schools, they consistently pointed to the combination of spiritual life and academic rigor and then went on to describe how they had applied their experience at NCU through service. A strong list of taglines developed out of this work, and in the end, leadership adopted “Wisdom. Faith. Service.” in part as a statement about the university and as a daily reminder to students and staff about the school’s “real work,” as he termed it.

In the process of the branding work, we developed a number of possible campaign themes for development at a later date. We applied the first of these, “What’s calling you?” to a campaign targeting adult and online learners. The university continues to use the campaign theme in its outreach.

"Verb brings an efficiency, freshness and wisdom to all of the projects we put before them. From strategy to design, they hit the mark and exceed our expectations. Cathy and Doug are creative, responsive and tryly a joy to work with."


Finally, the university’s alumni magazine, “The Bulletin” plays an instrumental role in the development office’s outreach. We’ve shown the first several issues below. Verb helped NCU staff extend what was a sporadic, text-heavy newsletter into a magazine format that is perfectly suited for everything from features about NCU alumni and students to announcements and accolades. Verb established the initial editorial list and content outlines, defined styles and produced the magazine for the first year, and then worked with university staff to make it possible for the magazine to be produced in-house.