When you are busy taking care of others it’s often hard to make the time to take care of yourself. This was the case for the University’s Marketing and Communication (MarComm) department members, who recently conducted a much-needed overhaul of their website.
“It’s like the cobbler’s children having no shoes,” said Scott Tingwald, managing director of MarComm. That age-old saying reflects MarComm’s readiness to finally give themselves a new look, a look that exemplifies what they can deliver to University partners.
Open the landing page of MarComm’s website — which featured Nevin McElwrath as the lead designer — and you’ll be greeted with a time-lapsed video overlooking campus. This is just one of the features on a homepage that showcases the Notre Dame brand yet speaks to individuality in design. MarComm, a resource working solely for University clients, offers an array of services from print to web to photography and videography. And their new website is the best place to highlight those services.
“If you’re not familiar with MarComm and who we are and our services, spend some time going through our portfolio. It will quickly give you a feel for what we can do,” explained Tingwald. The quote on the page, “When the right talent meets the right project the results are extraordinary,” backs that up. The Portfolio page shines a light on MarComm’s award-winning projects, giving you a look at what might work in your own projects.
The expanded Brand tab provides an overview of the importance of University brand standards, underscoring the University’s identity with a focus on consistency. The Team tab reintroduces some members and introduces new ones with bios giving you the opportunity to get to know them. The Services tab gives you a menu of what they have to offer (worthy of a long pause here so as to not miss anything). Photography, for example, is always a vital piece, and while many of us think we can take a great photo with our iPhone, it may not be the best vehicle for what one is trying to accomplish.
“That’s where the skills of people like photographers Matt Cashore and Barbara Johnston come into play,” said Tingwald. “All of us can get lucky every once in a while with an iPhone shot. But by and large, if you’re looking to highlight something significantly in a print or web piece, people will be able to tell if it's not shot by a professional,” explained Tingwald, who encourages using MarComm photographers for those higher profile projects.
Finally, the Partner with Us tab gets down to brass tacks — how to start a project and rates for various MarComm services. The various pages of the site have “buttons” clearly marked leading clients to forms to get the ball rolling.
Those who are worried about a cookie-cutter look need not fret. New web themes and templates assist in delivering a University-look, yet flexibility helps to maintain the client’s identity. Clients may suggest color schemes or unique architecture features of their building they want to highlight on their site — things that are appropriate and specific to their look.
“When people come to us for a new site, they understandably want a little bit of something that feels like themselves,” Tingwald said of the challenge to have the same consistent University look and feel at the top of the page, yet be just a little different elsewhere else. “Zach Allen, web director, and his team have been great about working with clients to get them into the theme, yet give them a little “sandbox” to play in — a place to stretch out their look and feel. And that’s going to be a little bit different for everybody,” explained Tingwald.
While MarComm works with clients to initiate new projects or to maintain and update existing projects, they often act as a sentry for other websites. When the pandemic limited visitors to campus, MarComm stepped in to review and update tour.nd.edu, making sure online visitors would have a good sense and feel for the campus. “This is one of the assets that we looked at and said we need to do this for the betterment of the University.”
Tingwald is quick to give credit to the collaborative nature of the teams that make up MarComm. “We don’t just work in silos. We don’t put our sites together without having good cooperation across the board from multimedia to print to web,” said Tingwald. “We want to help clients put their best foot forward — and that is by closely examining how these individual campus entities exist within the Notre Dame brand. I think that’s what we do best.”