The National Willa Cather Center

The National Willa Cather Center, located in Red Cloud, Nebraska, is dedicated to advancing the work of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Willa Cather and preserving the historical settings and archival material associated with her life and writings. It has been around for almost 65 years and its programs and resources directly serve more than 60,000 people each year.

UNANIMOUS and The National Willa Cather Center have worked together for many years on various projects. For the latest project, UNANIMOUS enhanced its brand architecture, developed marketing materials implementing the new architecture, and added new features to its website.

Project Objectives

  • Create a brand architecture strategy that is intuitive, cohesive, and positioned for growth
  • Design corresponding brand enhancements to complement the newly developed brand architecture
  • Implement the brand enhancements into various marketing materials to continue spreading awareness
  • Enhance the website with new and modern features

Brand Architecture Strategy & Enhancement

After a discovery meeting, UNANIMOUS clarified the relationships and distinctions between The National Willa Cather Center and its sub-brands; Willa Cather Foundation, Red Cloud Opera House, Willa Cather Memorial Prairie and more. Whereas all brands live under The National Willa Cather Center, it was important to create a distinction between the brands and add versatility. Adding versatility made it easier to better target audiences and promote itself. The red was an important color to stay consistent with all the brands because of the connection to Willa Cather.

From here, UNANIMOUS designed a brand standards guide that defined the overall brand architecture, usage, color palette, typography, and other graphic elements related to the brand.

Marketing Collateral

With the new brand enhancement in place, we then designed updated marketing materials. UNANIMOUS designed an engaging and professional ID kit including items such as business cards, letterheads, thank you cards and envelopes, and more.

The design was then implemented into print materials such as a tourism ad, general informational brochure, and a membership brochure. Each piece is customized with a specific call to action to either plan your visit or become a member. Finally, interior digital signage was made that displayed on screens inside The National Willa Cather Center building.   

Website Theme Updates

UNANIMOUS developed The National Willa Cather Center’s website in a previous project, but it needed several enhancements to represent the improving and growing brand. A refreshed homepage layout was designed to prominently highlight one to five issues of the most recent publication of The Willa Cather Review (a journal for scholarship, features, and news).

Other features such as an e-newsletter were designed and implemented to give users the option to select what content they would like to receive. An image gallery layout shows an array of pictures about the history of Red Cloud giving those a deep understanding and description of the unique town. People profiles of the foundation staff show a short biography of the individuals and a contact form.

Many e-commerce enhancements were made to extend the functionality of the site such as providing early bird pricing on events, enhanced order reports, and a sitewide alert bar. Finally, membership management updates created better workflow efficiencies.

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