Creating new perceptions of purpose.

With a brand suffering from market misconceptions, PLNU wasn’t getting the credit they deserved for academic excellence. The university was being drowned out by bigger, louder institutions, and its idyllic beachfront location was overshadowing the real value of their programs.

In order to meet their goals, and attract top tier students from out of state, Point Loma needed their small, elite university brand to demonstrate the academic excellence that they were quietly achieving. They also needed to modernize to better connect with their audience — without losing heritage, history, or prestige — and demonstrate PLNU as a worthy contender for tuition.



Digging into the DNA of Point Loma, we unearthed a unique philosophy which set it apart from other small, elite, academic institutions. This philosophy centered on the idea of a ‘calling’, and a belief that cultivating and connecting ones gifts with their calling would set them on a lifelong path to excellence and satisfaction.



Creating a unifying brand platform around the unique proposition of “fully becoming who you are called to be” we worked on building out sets of visual and verbal signals. These set a precedent for a more accurate and positive perception for Point Loma.


As we updated the identity for Point Loma, we deepened and clarified the brand foundation, weaving additional meaning into the mix of tradition, innovation and academic prestige. We developed a new system of graphic devices including a logo updated to add an element of story, and clarified brand colors.



Intersecting academic excellence with the pursuit of a calling, we developed a look, feel and voice to signal whole-person fulfillment. Not only does the new identity provide flexibility across diverse programs and audience segments, but helps PLNU to own their promise. The large marketing team didn’t need marketing, but they did need guidance, and they did need a plan. We charted a course based on a consistent — but flexible — identity for them to follow.


An entirely new system of guidelines for use across all eventualities was the next step in this journey, but this was made useful by the training and tools provided to empower the PLNU team. Providing scalability from undergrad to alumni events and assets, we gave training on utilizing the 200-page standards manual, and unlike most manuals, this is now used as a daily reference.


The Signal team then worked closely with the Point Loma team to facilitate ongoing learning, stewardship and ownership of the PLNU brand and promise across all assets, helping to strengthen the brand now and for the future.


Signal served as a true partner in building our brand. Not only did they help us discover and communicate what makes us true, meaningful, and different, but they also helped navigate the political landscape of our organization to make the brand real to stakeholders at the university. They then became advisors and confidants to our internal marketing team as we continued to give the brand.”
-Sharon Ayala, Director, Marketing & Creative Services, PLNU

Marcus Emerson — Photography
Domain 7 — Web Design and Development