Photo: Nicola Bailey 2016
Auburn Theological Seminary

Bringing a new leader’s vision to life

Social justice

Auburn’s groundbreaking work transcends spiritual and religious divisions. With a new, charismatic leader (the Rev. Dr. Katharine Henderson), it was time to communicate more cohesively, consistently, and powerfully to embody her vision of Auburn’s future.

Unique program names and logos can make it harder to connect with the organization.

With almost 200 years of developing faith-rooted leaders, Auburn’s work grew more and more innovative. But as their programs expanded, staff created myriad sub-brands and conveying disjointed messages about the organization’s work. Auburn’s voice was part teacher, part researcher, part activist—and it wasn’t always clear how these parts formed a whole.

Big Duck unified Auburn’s brand.

Working closely with their new president, senior leadership, and board, Big Duck crafted a visual identity and messaging system to reinforce their existing mission while laying the groundwork for an expanding vision. We factored in the history and legacy of many unique programs, some of which had their own names and logos, and worked collaboratively with staff to weave a more integrated message.

Less is more

Because Auburn transcends the typical seminary, we recommended that they de-emphasize “Theological Seminary” in their logo—to highlight their dynamic work and simplify their identity for future growth. We also recommended eliminating some of their programs’ unique logos and other elements which made them feel less connected.

Trouble the waters.
Heal the world.

Auburn’s new tagline became a rallying cry for all aspects of their work. Woven into everything they do, it invites leaders to disrupt the status quo in order to create a more just society.

As our work—and the world—has shifted over the past decade, Big Duck continues to shape the tools we use to tell our story consistently and powerfully every step of the way. Not only does our brand exemplify where we are now, it serves as a rallying cry for our current leaders and the next generation of change-makers that will lead the multifaith movement for justice.

— The Rev. Dr. Katharine Henderson, President, Auburn Theological Seminary

The results

A new brand leads to powerful fundraising and engagement opportunities. Armed with their new leader’s vision and a simpler, more compelling way to express it, Auburn embarked on a new era of growth. They have amplified their presence online to target both faith-rooted and secular audiences, building a robust and sustainable donor pipeline to support the multifaith movement for justice.

Auburn continues to partner with Big Duck to ensure their voice resonates as they evolve. Over the years, Big Duck has collaborated with Auburn’s leadership and communications team, making strategic refinements to their messaging as their work—and vision—has continued to evolve. Along the way, we’ve made adjustments that build on what’s working, refine what could be improved, and keep their identity alive as an active expression of their work.

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