Johnson State College

Translating personality into pixels


For a small liberal arts college up in Vermont, the web had become a big problem. The community's fun, distinctive character just wasn't showing through. We created an online experience microsite that reflects the actual experience, helping them render their personality digitally to attract the right students.

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Searching for the right fit

Johnson State was looking to increase enrollment — not just of qualified students, but those who’d truly find themselves at home. They wanted students who’d step up and contribute to the lively, creative community on campus, rather than ones looking to land just any old four-year degree.

As a public school, Johnson State provides broad access to education for the citizens of Vermont. But they promote a very self-led, participatory style of learning, and their small-town setting isn’t for everyone. What they needed was a way to really show who they are and what they’re about, so prospective students can make better informed decisions.

Show, don’t tell

We designed a series of pages that stand apart from the main site navigation, to immerse users in the people, place, and purpose of Johnson State. It targets prospective students with vibrant colors, big photos, illustrations, and micro copy that introduces the little things that epitomize the Johnson State experience.

We wanted to avoid the standard admissions site formula, with slideshow header, student reading under a tree, nebulous descriptions of “engaged faculty” and “a diverse campus community.” Instead, we took prospective students on a journey down the page with actual snippets of campus life, showing examples of what exactly they’d find so diverse and engaging.

There are interactive elements, real student stories, examples of undergraduate research projects, and photos of students snowboarding in their spare time. Rather than rely on vague descriptions that encompass it all, we aimed to zoom in on a few defining elements that show the true nature of the school.

Where Will JSC Take You?

The Johnson State College’s website redesign launched July 28th and we look forward to sharing results with you in the future. Johnson State is really happy with how things turned out, and we’re hoping they’ll see a measurable increase in applications and student retention. And that the students who do end up there are happy to find a place where they really belong.