Case Study: Marywood University Publication Design

The positive result of having a clear idea of who you are and who your audience is


Marywood University sits on a hilltop overlooking Scranton, Pennsylvania and the view is spectacular. This part of Pennsylvania is best known as a hardscrabble working community, best recognized for outdoor recreation…and the location of the television show “The Office.”

Scranton is typical of the competitive higher education marketplace in the northeast U.S., with several substantial competitor institutions within a short distance of Marywood.

So what is it about Marywood that differentiates the University from the competition?  Plenty, and Marywood’s admissions and marketing staffs are aware of every nuance. When our assignment was to redesign their undergraduate publications, the list of attributes to portray was extensive.

  • One of the most environmentally friendly campuses in the country
  • Both a historic and modern campus
  • Innovative, market-driven academic programs
  • A student-friendly and livable city
  • A region bursting with things to do
  • A variety of positive outcomes stories
  • Motivational current student stories
  • Engaged faculty

It’s important that copy speak directly and honestly to prospects and their parents. And that’s where we started.  The copy is conversational but still delivers the brand attribute messages needed to tell the Marywood story. We also understand that viewbooks and many recruitment publications are read more like magazines than novels (readers jumping around to find points of interest), so the publication layouts reflect this style of engagement, with tidbits of helpful information on every page.

MWU-Brochures-5Year-2Photography is critical in the success of any publication…and there’s more to it than just creating a pretty picture. Photography also needs to support and reinforce the messages delivered by the copy. PS&L worked with two of the best higher education photographers in the business and teamed them with a PS&L Art Director. Over 20 hours were spent in and around campus capturing the unique personality of the University. By investing in a photo shoot, we could ensure that the copy and photography work seamlessly together throughout the entire admissions publication series not just to tell the Marywood University story, but to deliver it in a way that resonates in the minds and hearts of future Marywood students.

The overall design scheme is revealed on each cover with only title and color. Start simple and let the viewer dive in.

mwu-undergraduate-viewbook-5 MWU-Brochures-Parents-1 copy mwu-undergraduate-viewbook-1

Marywood University is a coeducational, Catholic liberal arts university located in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Established in 1915, Marywood currently enrolls more than 3,400 students in a variety of undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs. The university is a national arboretum with more than 100 types of trees and shrubs.

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Robert Oxman,

Bob is the Creative Services Team Leader with more than 18 years experience of delivering creative solutions in higher education marketing. Works mostly in print publications, video production, and advertising (print, radio, and broadcast). Most people call him Bob, but he responds to other terms of endearment.