Graduates used to receive a handbook along with their diplomas at convocation. While on brand and a great resource for alumni, the piece was text- and link-heavy.

Then COVID hit. In-person events were cancelled and the handbook would now need to be mailed, giving us an opportunity to rethink the piece.

alumni handbook shown open two-page spread on yellow background

The original design of the alumni handbook was distributed to all graduating students as part of their diploma package.


Challenges

  • Create an engaging piece that gets our new alumni excited about staying connected
  • Play up Waterloo’s brainy-cool culture and introduce graduates to the large network of fellow alumni they now belong to
  • Get new alumni to update their contact information online, so we can keep in touch

Results

When we approached Creative Services with the idea of a piece that would speak to Waterloo’s culture and community, we could never have pictured the resulting collage art. The team brought an amazing level of creativity to the project while keeping sight of our goals and needs. Everything about the piece has an unexpected polish: from the hidden poster to the vibrant images and paper stock.

Megan Vander Woude, Communications Officer - Alumni Relations

Increased engagement

Single page site - 833 unique page views and 68% bounce rate

New Foleon digital publication - 1085 unique page views and a low bounce rate 18.83%

More alumni connected

Between Oct 1, 2021 – Jan 1, 2022 the Foleon digital publication was the single largest driver of traffic to the ‘Update your address’ form

Approach

To reimagine the piece for a new online format, we recommended breaking up the content and sharing it in a variety of places.

We started with a piece of artwork.

We engaged artist Nicole Beno to create a piece of art that could be used in print, digital and 3D media. We selected Nicole specifically for her style, which features supplied and found photography. Using memorable objects that resonate with Waterloo alumni, such as the pink tie, science goggles, Dana Porter library, and more, she produced a meaningful piece that represents all faculties and parts of campus — now and into the future.

collage style artwork in progress

A look into artist Nicole Beno's creative process.

Nicole Beno's artwork for the Young Alumni brochure

How artist Nicole Beno's artwork evolved.

The print piece evolved.

Looking to get the attention of our alumni, we created a bold, impactful and interactive print piece with a poster on one side and content on the other inviting them to go online for more information.

single side fold out view of alumni 4-fold handout
Front poster view of the alumni brochure
full foldout of alumni brochure content shown multiple times on yellow backgroudn
New alumni digital publication mockup on laptop

 

We leveled up the interaction.

To enhance the digital experience for alumni, we used Foleon, a digital publishing platform. This also enabled us to make the content trackable for better performance measurement.

View the live publication →

Cha-ching!

Our new approach created a more engaged audience and helped to keep print costs in check. Plus, there’s lots of potential to build on it in the future by using the artwork on bags, scarves, and more.

Tips for you to take away

  1. Rethink the user journey. What’s the end game and how can you make the experience more interesting?

  2. Refresh your visuals. Working with illustrators, photographers and infographic designers is a great way to produce engaging content.

  3. Ask for feedback. Check in with your audience to find out if the experience is resonating.