Moravian University (formerly Moravian College), the sixth oldest higher educational institution in the US, has recently gained university status and used this milestone as an opportunity to evolve its identity. Established in 1742 by the Moravian Church in Bethlehem, Eastern Pennsylvania, Moravian has worked with Pentagram to create new visual and verbal language that reflects the institution’s long-standing values, honoring its past while embracing the future.
Moravian University’s culture is deeply rooted in the education-for-all spirit of inclusivity that the Church has pioneered since its foundation. Moravian was the first college to open its doors to women and has worked to continually evolve its philosophies throughout its 280-year history. The campus is in charming Bethlehem and the picturesque Lehigh Valley of eastern Pennsylvania. Open to students of every background and faith, the school’s goal is to continue its founders’ legacy of crossing borders and overcoming barriers. Moravian also employs a remarkably dedicated faculty and is one of just a few Apple-supported campuses where all students receive laptops and iPads on their first day.
Pentagram collaborated with Ben Feller of Mercury Communications to craft a strategy and message that tells the institution’s story and articulates the value of liberal education in an environment that nurtures students and allows them to thrive. Moravian University also enrolls many first-generation college students, an important element of the school’s community. The new tagline, “Discover your brilliance,” connects to the Moravian star, a symbol of Bethlehem, the church, and the university. It also reinforces the University's Latin motto via Lucis - the way of light.
Moravian felt it was important to evolve and refine their visual identity and verbal communication methods while remaining recognizable and unpretentious. The identity is carefully tuned to stay faithful to generations of loyal alumni but also appeal to future generations of prospective students.
Pentagram worked to highlight the beauty and charm of Bethlehem, which is currently under consideration for a world heritage site. In contrast, just across the Lehigh River is the previously abandoned Bethlehem Steel headquarters, which has become a thriving arts center.
The logo underwent a total refresh to blend tradition and modernity. The wordmark, custom drawn by Joseph Miceli of AlfaType, proudly boasts its historic roots and connections to the seminary communications found in the Moravian archives. At the same time, the muscularity of the symbol is a nod to the local industrial roots of Bethlehem Steel.
The University seal was elegantly redrawn by Roger Xavier. The blue and gray palette represents the choice of colors the school selected in 1894 as a gesture of unity and healing after the Civil War and was updated to illustrate higher contrast and intensity.
The Moravian Star, a symbol long associated with the church, the town, and the college, was recreated in various iterations, including a glowing 3-D animation. Custom colorings and patterns are used for special occasions such as the celebration of Pride month.
The special via Lucis wordmark is intentionally understated, designed for occasional use within the internal University community. Secondary fonts Cambon and Post Grotesk were chosen for their contemporary styles and historical roots.
The mascot, Amos the Greyhound (named after John Amos Comenius, a Moravian bishop), has been redrawn in various positions to be used as spirit marks for student communications. A diagram on how to make the greyhound hand sign - a campus tradition - was created in the style of shadow puppet illustration. Additional patterns and date marks provide a broad tool kit for the internal design team.