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Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) enlisted MetaDesign to develop an identity and collateral suite for its campus expansion capital campaign. The primary goal of the campaign was to raise funds for the renovation of the historic 511 Building in Portland, while simultaneously raising the profile of the school on a broader level.

PNCA approached MetaDesign to create a capital campaign identity and collateral suite for the launch of a $15 million campaign for the renovation of the campus expansion, Creativity Works Here. The funds will be used to renovate Portland’s historic 511 Broadway building, which will not only expand the PNCA campus, but transform the North Blocks of Portland, enriching the community.

By communicating PNCA’s goals of transforming lives, fostering innovation, and expanding Portland’s creative capacity through art education, the campaign seeks to elevate PNCA’s profile as a regional art school into a global arts leader.

Taking these goals into account, MetaDesign created a capital campaign that not only expresses PNCA’s values and brand personality, but positions the school as a powerful expression of the growing cultural vitality of Portland.


Creativity Works Here

Through a series of interviews with PNCA leadership, MetaDesign understood the 511 Building to represent more than just an expansion of the PNCA campus, but also a powerful expression of the cultural vitality of Portland. Using this knowledge as our inspiration, MetaDesign leveraged the existing PNCA brand identity and theme Creativity Works Here to create a vibrant and expressive campaign driven by the core concept of transformation.

Creativity Works Here

A visual deep dive

The challenge was in developing a system that felt young and energetic enough to personify PNCA’s culture, but sophisticated enough to resonate with potential campaign donors.

The system also needed to have legs: the expected length of the campaign spans over five years. Therefore, the visual system would need to be expressed in a creative and fresh way by the PNCA team throughout the entire length of the campaign.

Refining the design language

After a series of typography and color studies, campaign directions were staged on various touchpoints. This focused level of creative exploration yielded a visual style that best represented the trajectory that PNCA leadership had envisioned.

By the end of the process, a clearly identifiable design language surfaced that communicated the aspirations of the school as an emerging leader in creative education.

Case statement

As part of the call for philanthropic support, MetaDesign created a vibrant campaign case statement, highlighting signature spaces of the 511 Building and the school’s fundraising efforts. Most importantly, the case statement visually tells the story of the student experience and articulates PNCA’s vision of becoming an innovative school of creative influence.

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Bold move

The notion of transformation and movement is depicted in the use of a modular grid system and line graphics. An expanded color palette adds a sense of vibrancy and an element of playfulness. The end result is a design system that is both functional and constrained, as well as flexible and somewhat surprising when needed.

The final design system sits comfortably aside the PNCA brand while at the same time defines a bold new look that proudly promotes the Creativity Works Here campaign.

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"MetaDesign developed a visually impactful campaign identity and design system which is a powerful tool in demonstrating the importance of what the Creativity Works Here campaign means for both PNCA and the city of Portland."

Becca Biggs, Director of Communications, PNCA