Case Study: Cornell CIS

Case Study: Cornell CIS

Creating a unique, recognizable identity within the Cornell brand landscape.

November 23, 2015

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As digital technologies evolve, Cornell University has strengthened its brand foundation to better function within an increasingly versatile communication landscape. We recently worked with Cornell Computing and Information Science (Cornell CIS) to create a unique, recognizable identity that would flourish within the Cornell brand landscape. As part of the same project, our web team developed a website that effectively communicates the goals of Cornell CIS to a wide variety of audiences locally and across the world.

So what is Cornell CIS?

Cornell CIS is neither a college nor a university department. It’s a faculty of related departments across multiple colleges and two Cornell campuses known for bold new ideas.



Standard Lockup + Structural Grid

The Cornell CIS text lockup settled nicely into the Cornell brand standard with a balanced aesthetic and legible form. This is a versatile brand mark with variations to accommodate the demands of different print and screen sizes.


The Cornell CIS font system was strongly influenced by their communication style. Their website features many information-rich articles with longer titles. A condensed font, like Oswald, suited their need to fit longer titles in smaller spaces. Source Sans Pro provided a well-balanced counterpoint.

Brand Guide and Collateral Elements

We provided comprehensive guidelines to establish the proper use of branded materials, color palette and hierarchy in a wide variety of digital and print formats.

cis-tanzeem-postcard1 cis-poster-envelope


Responsive Homepage Design

Cornell CIS uses their website to share news and accomplishments of their faculty, students, departments and partner brands. The homepage highlights these features and draws the attention of key audiences – those with an interest in studying at CIS or forming research partnerships. The homepage elements move fluidly as screen sizes change, enabling site visitors to view content at the optimal size for any device.

see the website



The entire AWP team participated in the creation of the Cornell CIS brand and website through a focused series of design and development sprints.


Internal review of identity progress.


James works on finessing the final logo.


Early logo concept that was not used.


Gennie working on coding homepage styles.

The final delivered project provides a solid foundation for Cornell CIS to continue their mission of defining the research and educational agenda of the information age.