Johns Hopkins Gazette | March 30, 2009
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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University March 30, 2009 | Vol. 38 No. 28
Changing Role, New Name: Marketing and Creative Services

Marketing and Creative Services designs and produces publications, videos, Web sites and exhibits that promote the Johns Hopkins brand. A sampling of recent work, clockwise from top left: a video for the Whiting School of Engineering, a fresh Web site for the Johns Hopkins Club and the award-winning viewbook for Undergraduate Admissions.

Editor's note: This is part of an occasional series about in-house resources available to the university community. For previous stories, go to and click on Resources.

By Greg Rienzi
The Gazette

A trusted and award-winning Johns Hopkins resource has a new name and Web presence to better reflect its expanded mission and services.

The Office of Design and Publications, which debuted in the 1950s, has recently merged with the university's new central marketing office to become a single entity called Marketing and Creative Services.

The new group launched its revamped Web site earlier this month. The sleek but subdued home page first displays the old name, which then quickly fades away to reveal "Marketing & Creative Services" and its motto, "Full-service solutions for the Johns Hopkins community."

Under its new name, Marketing and Creative Services will provide a suite of marketing services, such as advertising, communications planning, and branding and identity guidelines, and it will continue to create content for print, Web, video and exhibits — everything from a regulation business card to a high-definition national television spot.

Chris Cullen, director of Marketing, said that Design and Publications had provided many of these services for years but that the time was right for a new identity.

"Design and Publications as a moniker reflects less than what this group has been doing the past several years, and certainly less than what this group will be doing," said Cullen, who in his role oversees Marketing and Creative Services. "One of the significant aspects of changing the name is to encourage people to reconsider or imagine what they can expect to get from us. This venture is taking this core group of tenured, talented designers and making the service package more elastic to the people it serves."

Cullen joined the university in September 2007 and has been facilitating an inclusive universitywide branding initiative intended to connect in appearance, content and voice all Johns Hopkins schools, centers and institutes. Marketing and Creative Services, he said, was formed in part to serve that need.

The new group will, like its predecessor, design brochures, catalogs, newsletters, invitations, posters and all manner of print material. It now also provides videography services, video editing, animation, original music and script writing. In line with its comprehensive Internet strategy, the staff designs Web architecture and pages with interactive multimedia modules and Web-based forms, such as databases and online questionnaires. In addition, the staff intends to provide comprehensive communications strategies that might incorporate everything from a VIP e-mail blast to a multiday event.

The resource has regularly won accolades for its visually appealing and effective work. The Office of Undergraduate Admissions' viewbook, which it has designed for many years in partnership with the Office of Admissions, recently received the gold award in Higher Education Marketing Report's 24th Annual Admissions Advertising Awards.

Marketing and Creative Services also designed and produced the very well-received first-floor exhibit in the Whiting School's Computational Science and Engineering Building at Homewood. The 60-foot exhibit, divided into four themes, illustrates what engineers do and shows off the school's cutting-edge research and accomplishments. It features images, showcased artifacts, milestone facts etched on aluminum discs and four plasma screens, each of which tells a story related to a theme.

Glenn Simmons, director of Creative Services, says that he views Marketing and Creative Services as a full-service communications resource that will work one-on-one with its clients to help them efficiently meet their goals.

"They might call and say, 'I need a brochure.' And we can do that, but before we do, we'll ask them to describe what they want to accomplish, or what their ultimate measurement of success is," Simmons said.

Instead of a brochure, he said, a targeted Web site or an event might better suit the client's needs. "The idea is to build a relationship based on listening and, in turn, help our clients connect with the people they are trying to reach," he said.

In the past year, Marketing and Creative Services has added to its team Tim Windsor as director of Web strategy and Jay Corey as director of video strategy.

Windsor said that his primary role is to establish a "compelling and performance-driven Web center" to accommodate a growing audience for digital assets, including Web sites, mobile applications and online video and photography. Windsor, who previously was vice president for interactive at The Baltimore Sun, is working closely with information architects and marketing communications experts around the university to develop a cohesive and productive Web presence for the institution as a whole.

"Our plan is to first unify the core Johns Hopkins Web site with better search [capability], clearer navigation and consistent look and feel," Windsor said. "We will also be working with other Hopkins Web sites — including schools, eventually — to identify ways in which this unified core site can inform a design strategy that would help all JHU Web sites feel more of a family."

Corey oversees all components of video design, production and implementation. He brings to this position more than 20 years of experience as an award-winning producer, writer, videographer, editor, media manager and advertising agency creative director. Before joining Marketing and Creative Services — part of the university's Office of Government, Community and Public Affairs — Corey worked in the Johns Hopkins Medicine Department of Marketing and Communications, where he spearheaded the creation of internal video services.

Joining him is senior producer Deirdre Hammer, whose more than 20 years of producing and editing award-winning and high-profile video projects for the university brings the team a "vast institutional knowledge," Corey said.

Simmons said that, in all its aspects, Marketing and Creative Services prides itself on offering a professional product at a significant cost savings compared to external vendors.

"Particularly in this time of budget cuts, we are very cost-effective," Simmons said. "As we say, 'We speak fluent Johns Hopkins here.' We know the university. We have a lot of resources, local vendors, and provide good, quality work. Just because our goal is to be less expensive than an outside resource, it doesn't mean there is any sacrifice in quality."

As a centrally funded service, Marketing and Creative Services functions as the university's "brand steward" and can consult with internal clients on marketing and Web strategy.

Cullen said that he views branding as connectivity, not uniformity.

"There should be a cohesiveness," said Cullen, a marketing communications veteran with more than 25 years of experience in the field. "For a Web site, for example, you should not be confused as to what enterprise you are searching through. You should know that you are still within Johns Hopkins University, and there should be an intuitive and consistent navigational process that will not only save the user time and aggravation but also offer some consistent context."

Prior to joining Johns Hopkins, Cullen managed strategic marketing for a wide range of commercial companies, from multibrand hospitality portfolios to hospital systems and technology systems integrators. In his role as the chief marketing officer of the American Legacy Foundation, he produced life-saving social marketing campaigns, including the Emmy Award-winning national "truth" anti-smoking campaign.

"A strong brand promise is a unifying and practical tool for all marketing communications," Cullen said. "[University] President Daniels has directed our team and the outside experts who work for us to be diligent and methodical in ensuring that what we do is completely inclusive and organic. Each member of our community has to see themselves in the university's identity and in everything we do."

To contact Marketing and Creative Services, and for more information about its work, go to


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