A brand evolves alongside a leader in scholarship on historic and contemporary China.

The Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University brings together academics and practitioners who examine a wide range of Chinese history, language, politics, culture, and more. In 2016, we partnered with the center to develop a brand that would celebrate their 60th anniversary and provide a framework to promote their work to a wider audience.

Five years later in 2021, the center had grown its reach and needed a brand that was more flexible across all its platforms and had a clear connection to the parent institution.

The previous logo, designed in 2016.
The new logo, designed in 2021.

Our goal is always to build brands that will withstand the test of time, but that doesn’t mean it can’t change. An organization’s strategy may shift dramatically over the years and then the brand needs to evolve as well. With a strong foundation in place, a brand can refreshed thoughtfully while keeping the spirit of the identity and maintaining audience brand recognition.

Preserving the color palette, graphic pattern, and using the carved stamp as inspiration, we updated the logo to be more adaptable and accessible for use on screen.

Photographs that inspired the color palette

With enough variation to support each of the Center’s nine lecture series, the color palette offers both deep jewel tones and brighter colors, to harmonize with topics spanning ancient art to modern politics. The colors were updated to improve screen contrast, and blended into gradients to indicate the Center’s merging of historical and contemporary viewpoints.

The brand's use of pattern and color
Examples using different grid patterns

The pattern was freed from a rigid grid system and expanded to include circular motifs, reflecting a wider range of Chinese architecture and geometries. This created more opportunities to dynamically pair images and grid and to showcase the expanding topics the Center covers.

Fairbank Center event posters
Fairbank Center event posters

The resulting brand kit provided the Center with tools to create publications and event promotions in house and to partner with specialized vendors to expand their web presence. The Fairbank Center continues to be recognized as a top global think tank, receiving grants and partnerships that have enabled them expand their reach even further.


Logo and Visual Identity Design, Publication Design, Brand Manual


Education, Research, Scholarship