we are colab. we build integrated brand strategy and interactive communications for higher education.

what we do

Strategy & Planning

strategy & planning

We conduct extensive research to understand user needs and desires. Focus groups with prospective and current students, faculty, staff, and administration, combined with online surveys and competitive analysis allow us to gain an understanding of how stakeholders and users interact with you using offline and online channels.

Information Architecture

information architecture

A successful information architecture begins with a detailed content map. We audit your existing websites and content strategy and compare it to user needs and preferences, looking for gaps in coverage and missed opportunities. This informs our design process and allows us to explore unique solutions to exceed user expectations. We also prepare recommendations for a content creation and management strategy, which will allow stakeholders and staff to anticipate and prepare for content needs.

Creative Development

creative development

Design is communicating brand experience through visual representation to meet and exceed user expectations. Combining the results of our strategy & planning phase and your marketing and communications plan, we develop a compelling messaging strategy to communicate core values and affinity. We express this strategy in a Creative Brief, which describes a language of visual components (type, color palette, visual concepts, etc.) that establishes brand identity and strategy. In addition to website concept development, we create and produce content tailored to your audience.

User-Interface Design

user-interface design

User interface design is the process of matching user usage patterns and expectations to website functionality and interactivity - basically, how the website works. Strong visual design is fundamental to ensuring a website is intuitive and easy to use - we go further to explore colors, fonts, imagery and rich media elements to expand the unique design and structure. We design with the user in mind, and aim to create experiences that are as entertaining as they are informative.

Web Development

web development

We develop websites with the user in mind. Whether we develop in HTML/CSS, JavaScript and/or Flash, we’re always considerate of current best practices as well as build our templates with clean, W3C standards-compliant and accessible code. We take pride in our code, and delivering fully browser-tested, SEO-friendly and multifunctional websites.

projects

USD Undergraduate and Graduate Admissions

USD Undergraduate and Graduate Admissions

Admissions websites are the most outwardly-focused websites a university can deploy and the primary marketing tool experienced by prospective students. We conducted extensive research among the university's prospective student pool to reveal preferences and expectations. Our research led us to create a website that prioritized prospective student's needs while communicating the core values of the university and dramatic beauty of the USD campus.

  • Research & Discovery
  • Web Surveys
  • Focus Groups
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Creative Development
  • User Experience

USD College of Arts & Sciences

USD College of Arts & Sciences

The College of Arts and Sciences contains over 40 diverse departments, centers and institutes, and represents the majority of the undergraduate experience at the University of San Diego. Through the design of this distinctive, user-centric site, we accomplished our goal of unifying the disparate departments through the design and deployment of multiple templates united around the College's culture of achievement and social responsibility.

  • Research & Discovery
  • Web Surveys
  • Focus Groups
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Communications Strategy
  • Content Strategy
  • Content Management
  • Content Development
  • Creative Development
  • User Experience

USD School of Law

USD School of Law

The School of Law website serves not only prospective law school applicants but current students, faculty and staff, and Alumni and Donor communities with extensive information resources. We developed a website that functions well as both an information gathering resource and an information management tool.

  • Research & Discovery
  • Web Surveys
  • Focus Groups
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Communications Strategy
  • Creative Development
  • User Experience
  • User Testing and Evaluation

USD School of Business Administration

USD School of Business Administration

The School of Business Administration website was originally envisioned as a simple marketing tool. We met and exceeded this goal by re-imagining the business school as comparable to other aspirational brands: generous use of powerful images and dedicating the home page to single features. We designed a site that functioned as a community-building portal – bringing together students, faculty, alumni, and the larger community to explore the USD experience.

  • Research & Discovery
  • Web Surveys
  • Focus Groups
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Communications Strategy
  • Creative Development
  • User Experience

USD School of Leadership and Education Sciences

USD School of Leadership and Education Sciences

The School of Leadership and Education Sciences offers 30 different graduate programs and partners with various organizations, districts and non-profits. SOLES' multiple programs required disparate needs and functions; to meet these needs, we developed a site structure that consisted of a central SOLES portal and a series of subsidiary sites which feature design variations for individuality, yet maintain a cohesive look and feel.

  • Research & Discovery
  • Web Surveys
  • Focus Groups
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Communications Strategy
  • Creative Development
  • Content Development
  • User Experience

USD Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies

USD Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies

The USD Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies consists of 3 distinct entities - the School, the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice, and the Trans-Border Institute. Our brief involved the creation of collection of 3 websites, plus a subsidiary site for the School's conference venue. The school thrives on keeping the community involved in its peace and justice initiatives and informed on global peace concerns.

  • Research & Discovery
  • Web Surveys
  • Focus Groups
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Communications Strategy
  • Creative Development
  • User Experience

partners

Ken Soto

KenSoto
brand strategist / creative director

Ken is the founder of sotodesign and is responsible for the creative direction and execution of all projects. Ken is experienced in brand identity development and execution, and has extensive background in design and marketing communications, with additional experience specifically in higher education communications. Ken is a long-standing AIGA member; his work has appeared in AIGA annual reviews, communication arts, Print, How, American Center for Design annuals, and is a multi-award winner in the San Diego Creative Show.

Twitter | LinkedIn

www.sotodesigninc.com

Scott Robinson

ScottRobinson
user-experience strategist /
interactive design director

Scott is the founder of FreshForm Interactive and focuses on the visual design and user experience for all projects. Scott is a past board member of the local chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts as the Web Communications Chair and acted as the liaison to SAFE (San Diego advertising Fund for Emergencies). He continues to stay active in the community by participating in the Experience Design Community, as he was one of the founding members in 2002. Scott earned his degree in graphic design and marketing from San Diego State University.

Twitter | LinkedIn

www.freshform.com

contact

Hello.

Colab calls San Diego, California, home, because we can. We'd love to hear from you and discuss your project or blue-sky ramblings. We Twitter, occasionally Facebook, and sometimes LinkedIn. We use Basecamp to manage our projects and stay connected to our clients. We are easy to talk to and hard to disappoint. We're an easy-going bunch, basically.

You can expect to hear from us shortly if you email us, and we'll always pick up the phone if you call.