Elyse Kamibayashi

The Great Courses Plus

Strategy | Naming | Writing

The Project

Wondrium (formerly known as the Great Courses Plus) is a direct descendant of The Great Courses (TGC), which began in the early 90s by selling VHS tapes of university-grade lectures to insatiable lifelong learners. 

The team behind the service invited us to embark on a complete rebrand of the platform, including a new name, logo, tagline, voice, design aesthetic, and foundational brand strategy.

The Strategy

Wondrium's branding was designed to communicate a feeling — specifically, that feeling you get when you encounter a new idea. It’s what we call a “mind=blown” moment — that moment when you find out that breaking fingers used to be an ancient Olympic sport, or that fern spores have complex, drama-ridden social lives. It’s that thing that happens when you learn something new and a small part of your brain reverberates with joy, then promptly asks for seconds.

The Wondrium brand exists to remind people exactly what that moment feels like.

The Research

During discovery, we interviewed stakeholders, conducted workshops, researched their competitors, and spent hours pouring through enough raw audience data to fill War and Peace.

We wrangled this data into a set of rather unorthodox audience personas. Rather than including standard information like age range, job titles, and income, we focused solely on uncovering their deepest (at times darkest) reasons for loving learning.

The Voice

Exuberant, a little awkward, joyful, and always intellectual, Wondrium’s personality sounds suspiciously like one of its most ardent subscribers. We intentionally used the first-person voice, in an attempt to channel the spontaneity and weirdness of the “voice in our heads,” and how it responds to acquiring new, mind-blowing information.

The Name

After culling an initial set of 650+ names down to five, our art director, Elliott, and I created a logo and tagline for each name, and tested them with our prospective audience. The final name: Wondrium. This name (our favorite) allowed the brand to better demonstrate what subscribers really get out of the service: access to a place that is full of ideas and wonder.

Our top five name + tagline contenders. I’m still devastated Agog didn’t make it through.

The Team

Ally Fouts, Creative Director

Elliott Muñoz, Art Director

Katherine Olvera, Senior UX Designer