Humans, Together

The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago
Branding, visual identity, centennial creative concepts

Man-bull sculpture from Persepolis, circa 486-465BCE, with

The Challenge

The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago was founded with a radical idea: who we are began not in Greece or Rome, but rather in complex civilizations of the Near East. In advance of its centennial, the Oriental Institute had four goals: reinvigorate giving; make its storytelling more relevant to contemporary audiences; significantly raise the profile of its world-class museum; and popularize its name as the “OI.” Starting with the brand idea “Humans, together,” we created new messaging and a new visual vocabulary—including a more approachable OI logo inspired by the wheel, currency, and other innovations from the Fertile Crescent.

The Impact

The new centennial brand became the focal point for the year-long centennial celebration and is now incorporated into everything from digital communications to the logos on docents’ shirts.

Project components

  • Strategy
  • Brand story and messaging
  • Naming
  • Institutional logo
  • Brand platform
  • Creative concepts
Antiquities: a bowl and a pestle. They are arranged to suggest the letters O and I.
The OI library, overhead interior shot.
Brochure creative: 100 Years.
A tour guide wearing a shirt with the new OI logo.
Website screenshot: shows an antique stone bowl with the text We are driven to know the future.
Website screenshot: shows an antique stone bowl with the text We love blue.