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Building the Future From the Past.
Just north of L.A., perched high on a hill west of the Santa Monica mountains, lies the prestigious Brooks Institute, one of the world's leading photography schools. For 50 years, the Santa Barbara-based institution has excelled at teaching students the fine art of photography. However, marketing itself aggressively—that's another story.
Strange as it may seem now, in this age of art as commerce, that's the way it was back then. Art and artists were the school's primary concerns. As long as the school maintained its excellent reputation, marketing, it was thought, would almost take care of itself. However, when the school's ownership changed hands last year, that all changed.
"They needed a stronger brand-identity," explained Rick Lewis, president of ProForma Preferred Systems, Long Beach, Calif. "To be able to place themselves better in the marketplace the school needed something to market around, instead of just its reputation."
Infused with renewed vitality, the school set out to find that something and enlisted Lewis to help. After spending some time immersed in the school's culture, amidst the palm trees and ocean breezes, Lewis had an epiph-any—this wasn't just a great school, it was a great place to be.
By showcasing the school's 50-year history, while stressing its progressive curriculum and idyllic setting, Lewis was able to create the brand-identity the esteemed institution was after.
In order to make that feeling palpable, Lewis decided to juxtapose images from the past and present, as well as dramatic shots highlighting the campus' natural beauty.
To ensure the catalog was a complete success, Lewis wanted the book to be both unique and easy to use, so he made it slightly larger—9x12 inches—and incorporated a flap into the cover that worked as the table of contents. To help readers navigate, icons corresponding to chapters in the table of contents were printed on each page.