< Back to Work

Seattle Pacific University is one of the Northwest’s preeminent educational institutions. At 125 years, they took a moment to reflect – and charge forward.

+ Read Full Case Study


Seattle Pacific University (SPU) is a private Christian university on the northern shoulder of Queen Anne Hill. This venerable institution has attracted generations of students with its academic rigor, intimate size, close community, faith tradition and park-like city campus.


The pressures on universities are coming from every corner. Competition from public research institutions. The rising costs of tuition. The changing nature of education in the rapid, diverse and technology-enabled global economy.

SPU was challenged to compete with large state universities and a clutter of small private colleges across the West – and abroad for international students. With the rise of online education, the traditional education sector is compelled to reassert the value of a residential campus and four-year degree. So, campus leadership invited stakeholders to examine SPU’s competitive posture and articulate a clear brand difference.


Stoke initiated a strategic planning process with quantitative research to assess, segment and scale SPU’s markets, including:

  • Brand awareness and image associations
  • Key perceptions of SPU and competitors
  • Factors of consideration and choice for private and faith-based universities
  • Key factors of value and differentiation for prospective students and parents

Parallel research was conducted to understand the needs and perceptions of current students, faculty and staff. Stoke facilitated a campus leadership retreat where insights quickly converged into opportunity.

With Seattle as their campus, a city at the leading edge of everything, SPU students are challenged to take on the future, resilient in their faith, with access to the resources, experiences and people to shape their career and the world around them.

Its advantageous Pacific Rim location offers SPU a unique, forward-looking vantage to trade, technology and healthcare, as well as the rising social, economic and environmental pressures of urbanism across the globe.

The new brand position – Faith for the Future – reflects the heritage of the institution, the needs and interests of learners, and the strategic competitive advantages of SPU.

Stoke developed a comprehensive brand identity system, including a new logo that is a contemporary adaptation of the legacy “torch” – now stylized to become an SPU monogram.

- Read Less


Brand Design
Brand Strategy



Brand Pattern