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Michigan State University

Elevating the brand platform for a major research institution.

We worked with the Communications and Brand Strategy team at Michigan State University to reimagine 3 flagship web properties that reach more than 2.4 million people each year. Backed by research, we proposed consolidating the sites into a unified digital platform. Our new design reflects the tenacious, ambitious MSU brand and inspires people to share their Spartan pride.


Research & Strategy

User Experience

Web Design


One brand, one story.

Our rigorous research and data analysis indicated that – despite receiving the lion’s share of organic traffic and user engagement – was merely a utilitarian portal, and that brand-building content resided in the news hub MSUToday and the campaign platform Spartans Will.

By bringing these distinct sites together, we meet users where they are. The new builds connections with the school while offering seamless access to core functionality.

A strong structure underpins it all.

Integrating three web properties was no small task. We conducted thorough audience research and information architecture testing to make sure MSU’s diverse audiences could still access important resources and find their way around the site. In testing the new IA against the old, users were more successful at finding content with our recommended solution.


The visual system.

Integration didn’t stop with the structure. A single, cohesive design system carries through every section of the site, affirming and celebrating the MSU brand. We developed an extensive pattern library, supporting implementation of the design system across other properties in the future.

Case Study MSU Pattern Library

Enhanced storytelling capabilities.

Our flexible, grid-based design for MSUToday puts the power in the hands of the editor, giving MSU’s team of expert communicators a variety of options for presenting their multimedia content in unique ways.

User research and personas.

Audience interviews showed why they engage with MSU content, and uncovered what truly sparks a fire within the Spartan community. We segmented their audience into 6 different archetypes, arming the communications team with additional insight to craft their content strategy. When valuable content meets strategic design, magic happens.

Msu 07 Knowing The Audience