The Challenge

The University of Toronto’s merchandise was an overlooked segment of their brand story; one that failed to unite the identities of their diverse community. 

Our challenge was to conduct primary and secondary research to uncover ways the university could express their brand more emotively through merchandise.

The Approach

We talked to U of T employees, students, and hit the streets to see what trends were taking shape across the retail scene in Toronto.

Our research included stakeholder interviews with representatives from five different departments, a focus group with current students, and field research examining the retail landscape in Toronto. We synthesized our research into key insights and opportunities.

The Result

Through our discussions and interviews, we uncovered a tension between past, present, and future.

By spending too much time looking backwards we fail to see what’s in front of us. By looking too far ahead we fail to learn from our past. But by reframing our past as a symbol for today and a guidepost for tomorrow, we were able to frame the school’s rich history, its diverse student population, and its symbiotic relationship with Toronto into key pillars for a new brand story.