California Community Colleges

Updating the brand identity of the most powerful force for social and economic opportunity in California.

As lead designer, I was responsible for the core elements of the brand identity refresh, including revising the existing symbol, selection of typefaces, and creating the suite of document templates for rollout.

Brand identity design

Creative direction: Bryan Miller
Lead designer: John Pastor
Designers: Courtney Chittock,
Brady Comerford, Jon Galucki

Project manager: Lindsay McHugh

The challenge

The California Community Colleges system had been using several iterations of their logo since the late 1990s and the lack of standardization made it difficult for the system to convey trust and elevate the perception of community colleges. The Chancellor of the system prioritized standardizing and updating the California Community Colleges (formally known as the Chancellor’s Office) brand and the communications team at the Foundation for California Community Colleges led the development of a refreshed brand.

The process

When surveyed, the brand landscape showed inconsistent use of color across programs and divisions, varying typefaces and treatments, and one-off logos and document styles. 


The team began by modernizing the symbol and formal seal for the system, making it easier to reproduce in the modern applications.


Open-source typefaces create a consistent visual identity that scales, making it easy for key stakeholders to use the proper type in documents, presentations, and marketing collateral. Several typefaces were identified before selecting Crimson Text and Source Sans Pro, yielding a credible, yet modern look.


The refreshed core color palette and a broader expanded palette allow for future creative campaigns and initiatives to align with the brand.


A brand architecture system seamlessly integrates system divisions, programs, services, and initiatives into the new look. This ensured that new projects would not fragment the brand and instead reinforce brand recognition.


A robust suite of document and presentation templates anticipates user needs and streamlines all internal and external communications. The suite is continuously promoted through system newsletters and webinars and installed on all system computers, eliminating the need for office employees to locate the correct template or worry about utilizing the latest version.


The result

The new brand identity system organizes the system's many programs and initiatives under one umbrella and increases consistency to help build recognition and trust with students.

The team behind this project helped lay the groundwork for a new website and design system with components based on the core elements of this refreshed identity.