University Heights

Case Study

As an established and longstanding east side suburb, University Heights is known for its historic institutions, diverse amenities and activities, and tree-lined neighborhoods. Classic architecture and tree-lined streets give the community a certain charm that is unique and specific to the area.


The iconic doorknocker logo served University Heights well for a long time, but it was time to evolve the brand in a way that aligned with the evolution of the city and the community. Surrounded by other dynamic east side suburbs, University Heights wanted to stand out and be identified for what makes them unique. With a strong foundation in place, they looked to Guide Studio to elevate their brand.


  • Research and multi-day discovery sessions were used to uncover goals, personality, brand perceptions, target audiences and positioning. Stakeholders voiced concerns that University Heights got lost among its neighboring communities, was only known for institutions like John Carroll University, and lacked a defined footprint.
  • A new messaging platform was developed to emphasize their personality traits (accessibility, neighborly culture and diversity) and distinct advantages, while also shifting common misperceptions about the community’s school system and lack of progressiveness.
  • The positioning statement articulates who they are and sets the tone for future communications. A key theme of the community’s “mosaic” is conveyed to demonstrate the diverse and eclectic community, as well as the various distinct features that come together to make University Heights unique.
  • A new brand identity and tagline captures the essence of the brand strategy. The logo is shaped like a shield to symbolize the established community and historic homes, and serves as a nod to the many educational institutions in the city. Bright colors signify energy and the “community mosaic,” similar to that of a stained glass window. And the “U” shape within the logo not only references the city’s name, but it mirrors the street grid of one of University Heights beautiful neighborhoods.
  • Deliver a complete brand platform, including logo options, a color palette and guidelines, to support the next phase of brand launch and marketing campaigns. Furthermore, Guide developed swag for the city to make a splash with the new brand launch and a signage and wayfinding analysis to help the city identify new branded placemaking opportunities.

“I think we really nailed it here. It has energy, color, it’s vibrant and yet it’s traditional. This is us, right here.”

Mayor Michael Brennan,City of University Heights,


University Heights’ brand platform gives them a vibrant new look, sound and feel. But this is just the beginning. After unveiling the new logo at a City Council Meeting and their first Civic Awards dinner, they will enter into a new era of expressing themselves as “So Much More Than Home.”

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