The shape of things to come

RMIT University engaged thousands of students, staff, alumni and partners around the world to shape RMIT’s goals and actions for the next five years.

We designed a guerilla-style campaign – ShapeRMIT – to ensure that no-one missed the opportunity to have their say.

RMIT University
Higher Education
Stakeholder engagement
Campaign messaging
Campaign visual identity 
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Animated ShapeRMIT campaign brand mark with illustrated arrows pointing to it

The situation

Through multiple channels and events over the second half of 2015, RMIT engaged thousands of staff, students, alumni and partners around the world to shape RMIT’s goals and actions for the next five years, and released the results in November 2015.

Our brief was to create a compelling, integrated visual identity for the ‘#shapeRMIT’ campaign to appeal to a broad audience and express the core values and future aspirations of RMIT.

Key considerations were:

  • to create a sense of ownership, engagement and excitement for staff, students and alumni about the possibilities they can create for the future with RMIT
  • to inspire  – big ideas and little ones –  and reassure that every thought counts
  • to surprise and delight – use unexpected tactics to cut-through
  • to stay fresh and thought-provoking throughout the 6 month period prior to the strategy launch
  • not be a top-down corporate branding and comms approach, but a fresh, vibrant campaign that inspires people to think “what if…”

“Boring unis publish boring strategy docs. RMIT is different – we take our strategic plan to the streets! #shapeRMIT

An installer putting up three wheatpaste posters in the RMIT city campus. The poster content is a compilation of staff and student responses from the ShapeRMIT campaign.
ShapeRMIT posters pasted on a red wall in a public space
ShapeRMIT core values: Life Changing Experiences; Passion with Purpose; Shaping the World.
Many minds, many hands

RMIT’s founding motto, ‘a skilled hand and cultivated mind’, is as relevant now as ever. Our creative strategy was to represent the many voices of the individuals that make up the RMIT family. The personal nature of the way ideas, both big and small were contributed then helped to shape the direction RMIT’s strategy would take.

The nature of ShapeRMIT’s visual identity was deliberately rough-and-ready and imperfect, with a nod to street press and bill posters in a strategic move to disrupt the University’s corporate communications. It had to announce that this was something different, a change in direction.

Engagement and impact

Engagement with ShapeRMIT was vital, so rather than publishing bland strategy documents destined for the bin, we took the conversation to the streets.

We took a DIY, grassroots-movement approach to urban environments with the aim to surprise and delight, inspire and spark conversation. Newspapers were distributed throughout the University and at local cafes, street art was spray-painted around the campus and a digital conversation hub was started online. The idea was to use tactics that aren’t traditional for a university – we wanted people to take a second look!

Outputs covered everything from street stencils, bill posters and street press, to reports and presentations, to cupcake toppers, hoodies and drink bottles, to social media, digital signage and home screens of every University computer, and to murals that loomed large over Swanston Street, one of Melbourne’s busiest streets.


We worked closely with the brilliant #shapeRMIT team to harness and interpret the energy of the campaign through tactical implementation, working rapidly and efficiently to get stuff done.

RMIT might be an old institution, but the way we worked with them had a distinctively modern start-up mentality. Together with their internal teams, we were agile and fast-moving. We tested ideas and provided feedback to each one another almost immediately.

We were able to take approaches that were unconventional and unexpected. We used street savvy tactics to take the conversation directly to people, with extraordinary results.

Crowd-sourced social media content featuring the ShapeRMIT hashtag

The ShapeRMIT campaign hero tagline

ShapeRMIT Tagline: Ready for Life and Work
ShapeRMIT Launch keynote presentation. A large screen with a image with the heading "Ready for Life and Work", and a speaker standing at a podium to the lower right hand side of the screen.
ShapeRMIT launch presentation screen with the heading "Shaping the World".
A music DJ standing at turntables in an outdoor setting flanked by two ShapeRMIT campaign pull up banners with the tag lines "Life Changing Experiences" and "Passion with Purpose" respectively.

The results

Thousands of students, staff and alumni contributed to online discussions, workshops and presentations, both locally and internationally, helping form the RMIT Ready For Life and Work strategic plan.

This campaign was so popular that departments at RMIT wanted to use the visual identity for themselves, rather than following the formal brand guidelines.

33,000 page views on

12,000 students participated in #shapermit events

Discussion forum more popular than Katy Perry’s latest album news on Twitter

Chalk designs on an asphalt road with the tagline "Shaping the world" and an earth illustration.
Closeup of white street chalk stencilling with the words "Ready for Life and Work".
Person wearing grey hoodie with the ShapeRMIT brand mark printed on the front, holding a black tote bag with the words "Ready for Life and Work".

Highlights of the RMIT calendar year

What we did

In conjunction with the ShapeRMIT launch, RMIT also held end-of-year parties for all staff across their three campuses in Victoria. In addition to receiving the #shapeRMIT tote bags and water bottles, the staff also received a broadsheet newspaper featuring some stories submitted by fellow staff about the highlights of their year, featuring the hashtag #myrmityear.

We designed a limited edition book featuring content from the staff broadsheet, to be given as an exclusive gift to the board members of the University Council. This publication was testament to the positive changes being implemented across the University and the appreciation being articulated by the staff community as a result.

My RMIT Year booklet cover
My RMIT Year booklet inside spread feature quote
Inner pages of My RMIT Year booklet – student responses
Hand holding open a spread of the My RMIT Year booklet