The Harvard Business School admissions team challenged Opus with the task of designing an admissions package. The mailer needed to manifest the life changing moment the admission to the prestigious school and belonging to the HBS community represents. It needed to make recipients feel proud as well as inspire them to think about their future at HBS and their impact beyond.
The format and design of the final mailer was a high end, hard cover, debossed trifold box that contained the admissions letter, a brochure/poster (custom folded brochure, no binding, that opens to a poster when unfolded), as well as a name card.
Admissions Package Design
After opening the box, admits first receive the admissions letter. Below they find the brochure/poster welcoming them to the HBS community. Opening the brochure to the first page, they reveal part of a photo of the iconic HBS section classroom with name tags. HBS students attend all their classes in this room for the entire duration of their HBS education. The first name tag has the admits name (variable data) imprinted and the other name cards the names of famous and successful HBS graduates. Reading through the 8-page brochure, admits see many more well know graduates (Michael Bloomberg, Sal Kahn, etc) on the name tags next to theirs in addition to the big questions that will move them as they reflect on their attendance at HBS, such as “How will you lead”? or “How will you change the world”?
The last page of the brochure indicates that the brochure also opens to a poster. Opening the custom folded brochure with edgy graphic design elements, the poster reveals the full section classroom with their name card amongst the other name cards of well known HBS graduates, visualizing the amazing community they have been admitted to. The design and infographics bring together the interesting layout, photo as well as the text content.
The other side of the poster introduces the social media campaign #NextStopHBS illustrated with an infographic. With the third item in the box, an HBS section class room name card with their name imprinted on one side (variable data) and #NextStopHBS on the other side, admits can take a picture and post it with #NextStopHBS on social media sites. Searching for this hash tag will show them their peers who have also been admitted and have posted pictures with this tag.
The graphic design and production process
The graphic design process always starts with the marketing goals, audience and identifying other requirements and constraints to make sure that we’re not just designing a great looking piece but one that will work. The Opus and HBS team brainstormed and considered many concepts and selected the final direction, because of the combination of powerful emotional/inspirational value and fun social media campaign.
The design of the custom fold that combines a brochure layout with a poster was challenging and fun to execute. Working with placeholder photos at first and shooting a custom picture later, we created a beautiful brochure design as well as a poster infographic with custom illustrations and icons.
The brochure/poster design was executed by Westwood Graphics and DS Graphics. The production team was amazing!
They figured out how to make this unusual design work by offset printing it and then printing the names as variable data, despite the large size that is not usually compatible with digital printing.
Having a reliable and creative production partner is key in pushing the limits. Thank you Dennis!
The hard cover, debossed box design was produced by Superior Packaging and Finishing. Mitch was very patient and wonderful to work with. He supported us with advice and information throughout the design process and gave us a private tour of the production plant to see our box design produced. We learned about how the production team created the dies for the cutting of the box and the deboss, the mockup and proofing process as well as the finishing. Mitch showed us the whole plant which inspired us with lots of ideas and possibilities for future projects. Thank you Mitch