Case Study
VCU Brand center redesign

Before and after


I was the lead designer that redesigned VCU Brandcenter’s website, which launched Sept. 29, 2017. I worked with the Brandcenter team to ensure the design and UX nailed the new “secret society” branding they recently developed and highlighted their reputation as one of the best advertising programs in the world.


The overarching goal was to create a fully responsive website to serve as the Brandcenter’s “narrator-in-chief” to attract hungry, diverse talent through lore about what happens behind the school’s walls.

After launch, time spent on the site soared by nearly 50 percent.


The Brandcenter communications manager commented,


“The redesign fully reflects the school's mission
and new brand identity, (and) it enables users to easily find the information they are looking for.”

UX Research


Showcase brand personality throughout design, copy and user experience

Increase engagement with content

Streamline bulky site through easily navigable,
user-focused information architecture.


Immersion with client in brand strategy to translate brand personality onto site

Work sessions with client to narrow audiences and prioritize user needs

Inventory and site audit; competitor research; analytics; identify content gaps

UX Discovery and Planning 

Using the research findings, a hierarchy of user needs was developed based on the goals and audiences: prospective students and recruiters.


I worked on the website personality – The bold, modular design incorporated the Brandcenter's design system to ensure the brand personality, design and tone (rebellious, rule-breaking, concise and smart) was reflected in the messaging, look and feel, and user experience.


Worked in two-week Agile sprints gave me opportunities
for collaboration and communication, I included noting dependencies (what’s needed from the 
Brandcenter communications manager, or from the VCU Photography / Video studio) and I had to prioritize my work to stay on schedule. At the end of each sprint, I lead design demos that showed my progress and got input from the Brandcenter stakeholders to ensure I was moving in the right direction. This helped maintain buy-in, provide rationale at each step and minimize rework. 

The team maintained the principle that an interesting and creative yet clear and seamless experience was key to increasing engagement and staying true to the brand.

UX Execution

Defined requirements for content types in a UX sketch session
Admission page sketch session
People cards sketch session.
Friday forum sketch session
Show More

UI Design system

Evaluation of engagement

Time spent on the site soared 49.35 percent, and sessions increased by 7.75 percent (10/16 - 2/17 versus 10/17 - 2/18). The new site map reduces pages by nearly 50 percent (from 50 to 27 pages). 

User Interface   /   User Experience   /  Digital Design   /   Interactive Design   /  Creative Direction

© 2020 by Gayle Barton.