The Best School Branding Examples For Higher Ed Marketers

Marketing a school as a reputable academic institution takes a lot more than merely enumerating your programs, facilities, and achievements. Just as significant as its credentials is the promise of a pleasant academic and learning experience. The best school branding examples typically tell a compelling story and communicate strong values and selling points. Along with this, colleges and universities make the most out of web graphic design and custom logo design. This is to paint their institution in the best light. 

Science author and Forbes contributor Chad Orzel believes that the school environment is one of the crucial factors in choosing a college or university. Consequently, schools often highlight their green fields and Georgian or colonial-style buildings in their ad graphic designs.

Here are some excellent school branding examples you might want to check out when brainstorming for your next campaign.


Harvard University

Harvard website

This Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, prominently displays its logo on its website. Other sites typically place the logo on the top left corner of the screen. However, Harvard’s emphasized symbol is the first thing that will catch your attention when you visit its website. The website border displays the same crimson used in the school’s logo, allowing for a cohesive overall look.


Boston University

Boston_University website

Boston University features a creative infographic that offers straightforward information about the institution’s achievements and credentials. One of the most significant components of this material was the part that says, “Within six months of graduation, 96% of students found employment or placement in graduate programs, military service, or fellowships.” This is a good copy that is likely to convince anyone still over the fence about attending BU.


Stanford University

Stanford website

Stanford underwent a typography logo rebrand in 2012. They opted for a condensed, lower-case text that takes up less space but has a stronger presence. Their website conspicuously displays this logo over a scenic campus photo on their home page’s above-the-scroll section.



Princeton website

Princeton is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the US. This Ivy League university anchors its branding on being “about people.” Plus, its homepage features a photo of students holding flags and happily interacting. Lastly, the image is over-imposed with a text that says, “People Are at the Heart of Princeton.”


University of Michigan

University_of_Michigan website

Aside from its bold colors of yellow gold and royal blue, the website of this Ann Arbor-based university features a fresh design. The aesthetics of the site is youthful and dynamic without appearing informal or unreliable. The home page features image slides highlighting feature articles about notable projects. It also highlights key personalities and other articles that present and prospective students would want to read.


Cornell University

Cornell website

The Ithaca-based Ivy League research university has maintained a traditional logo with no gradients or graphic effects. What will grip you when you visit Cornell’s website is the home page video. It shows a timelapse of the university’s beautiful lawn-covered campus, with majestic buildings and lush trees. The home page also features thumbnails that link to Cornell campuses and locations.


University of California Berkley

University_of_California_Berkley website

The public research university gives prospective students a glimpse of academic experience on campus through their Campus Life page. The section features a photo of students basking under the sun while sitting and interacting on the campus lawn. The photo projects drive and energy, painting the institution as active and dynamic.



Yale website

What makes Yale’s strategy stand out from other school branding examples is its emphasis on student and visitor experience. One of its pages displays a collage of the school’s latest Instagram posts. This includes posts about facility updates, institutional events, or participation in community undertakings.


University of Pennsylvania

University_of_Pennsylvania website

The University of Pennsylvania is first institution of higher learning in the US to refer to itself as a university. This Ivy League university features a classy and formal branding that emanates through its website. The dark blue hue of the site’s navigation section is consistent with the blue hue on its logo. The home page features articles about university news and updates.


New York University

New_York_University website

NYU knows that most students choosing the school is there to take a bite of the Big Apple. Their home page displays a scenic picture of the New York Cityscape. It’s a corporate jungle made beautiful by the warm rays of the sun. The golden yellow tone of the photo complements the purple hue of the university’s branding.  


Columbia University

Columbia_University website

Just like NYU, Columbia University uses the city’s irresistible allure to make a great impression. The homepage of the fifth-oldest institution of higher learning in the US features a majestic cityscape photo of Manhattan. It is superimposed with the text, “Welcome to Columbia!”



Caltech website

This private doctorate-granting research university is famous for its strength in natural science and engineering. Its website reflects what the university is known for by highlighting scientific articles. Plus, other features focused on people behind the institution. In the same vein, the site features a “Did You Know?” sidebar that displays scientific trivia. 


Duke University

Duke_University website

Duke University’s home page prominently displays its logo on the top center of the above-the-fold section. What’s prominent about the home page is its animated GIF of a library. It shows students unmovingly looking down on their books and laptops. Except for a girl with headphones, who moves and sways as she taps on her laptop’s keyboard.


Johns Hopkins

Johns_Hopkins website

The website of this Baltimore-based private research university features an above-the-scroll video. It takes the visitor on a quick tour of the life on campus. The video covers sports and cultural performances to research and community service. Likewise, the video is an excellent way to catch prospective students’ attention. The rest of the home page goes against the grain with a bold and youthful design.



Darthmouth website

What makes Dartmouth’s strategy standout from school branding examples is the way it utilizes social media. The Hanover-based Ivy League research university has a page that consolidates social media posts. From its Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook accounts, it’s there to attract prospects. Studies telling us that 7 out of 10 teens are on Instagram. While 5 out of 10 teens are on Facebook, this marketing strategy is a genius game plan.

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