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Carleton College "Oh My World" Virtual Visit Direct Mail Brochure


Ranked among the nation's best colleges, Carleton College is a small, private liberal arts college in Northfield, Minnesota. College visits for prospective students can be a crucial part of the final decision-making process in deciding where to enroll. The COVID pandemic brought challenges and shifting behavior to this part of the students' journey. More students and families are turning to virtual college tours and college research to learn about different universities from the comfort of their own homes.

I was brought in to help design a  direct mail brochure to enable prospective students to get an insider taste of campus life — albeit remotely since campus visits had been impacted and reduced due to COVID in 2021. Since most students were no longer able to come in person to campus that year, we wanted a piece that enabled the recipient to hear from current students what makes Carleton special to them. They get a first-person narrative from a variety of voices which shines a spotlight on what life at Carleton is really like.

The use of illustration mixed with photography brought a playful and fun vibe to the piece. It was designed to resemble a traditional folded paper road map such as the ones you pick up at rest stops. The brochure has been so well received that it continues to be used even as campuses have opened back up to in-person visits. Students have even mentioned in their application essays that the piece engaged their attention: “The first thing that caught my eye was the mailing materials. I appreciated how quirky and in-depth they were, and how Carleton put lots of effort into creating a foldout map and asking students to share their favorite places on campus.”

Design: Beth Elzer
Map illustrations by: Raymond Biesinger

Winner: 2022 CASE Circle of Excellence Gold Medal
Category: Marketing | Advertising (Direct Mail)

Judges comments

This was a well-written entry that covered all of the requirements to determine effectiveness. Modern, on-trend, illustration probably made this piece stand out amongst competitors. Really love the voice and cleverness used to help prospective students and families feel like they can get a sense of place.

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