CEDEP is a not-for-profit business school and membership club for executives, set up 50 years ago by entrepreneurs and, still today, situated in the middle of the Fontainebleau Forest in France. When it was founded it was the first membership organisation dedicated to executive education, and now acts as a corporate university for high-level employees of its 20 member companies including L’Oréal, Aviva, Renault and AXA. What it’s best known for, though, is its experimental teaching methods, with the curriculum including druid forest walks, playground-building and foundation course-esque creative exercises using straws and marshmallows. So it was this alternative spirit that design agency Templo wanted to better convey with its rebrand for the school.
The previous identity was, according to Templo creative director Pali Palavathanan, “flat, dated, conventional, and lacking in meaning, quality and standout”. Therefore the rebrand set out to convey its “rebellious, unconventional nature,” positioning CEDEP instead as a “challenger brand and totally unlike a traditional stuffy business school”.
The main visual concept centres around the idea of the school as “a meeting of minds,” leaning heavily on typography to allude to the thoughts and discussions being sparked by its courses. The wordmark has been capitalised and now uses a more impactful and contemporary typeface in Mabry, shaking off its formerly corporate look and feel. This wordmark is repeated to create a typographical pattern, wrapped around 3D rendered shapes, primarily a sphere for its logo – a “nod to CEDEP’s real-world relevance,” Palavathanan says – which replaces the letter ‘O’ in some of the identity. It is also ‘wrapped’ around a head, swirling in motion graphics to again suggest a mind full of inspiration as a result of the courses, among other graphics. In some marketing material and posters these graphics are stretched and played with; while Templo has even created an AR app where the user can play with these 3D type-wrapped forms.
Elsewhere, graphic icons also use typography as an outline to create shapes such as a globe, an eye and a game controller.
The colour palette also sets the school apart visually. Though it sticks with a corporate blue, it is more of an electric blue tone, complemented by a secondary palette of muted pastels.
To decide the final creative route, two concepts for the identity were presented to 200 attendees of the annual CEDEP alumni reunion, where the audience voted for the visual identity they felt best represented the organisation. That was developed into the identity shown here. It is designed to be used over a large scale, from building signage to social media as well as merch, advertising and print materials for teaching materials and events.