Project Roundup: Kallyope and Columbia College Core to Commencement


For this edition of Project Roundup, we’re featuring our recent work for Kallyope, a biotech startup studying the gut-brain axis, and the Core to Commencement Campaign for Columbia College.

Columbia College Core to Commencement


Core to Commencement is the first-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign devoted exclusively to Columbia College, the undergraduate arm of Columbia University. This campaign aims to bring Columbia College’s students, alumni, and faculty together to share their stories and make donations.

For this project, we worked extensively with Columbia College to ensure the campaign’s branding translated from the web to print and beyond.

We explored various graphical elements for the Core to Commencement brand including illustrations of campus buildings that may trigger memories for potential alumni donors.

We created a logo that celebrates the important connections between the Core Curriculum and the Columbia College community.

The logo introduces a line motif that extends through the design system to emphasize relationships between content and highlight their connections to each other.

We also created a microsite for the campaign that highlights the campaign’s priorities, opportunities to give, and volunteer occasions. The site also features up-to-date data on the campaign’s progress, which is easily updated by the Alumni office using Drupal.


A key goal of the microsite was to showcase the campaign’s progress in terms of actual numbers. We built a fully responsive and animated Momentum page with infographics to highlight campaign milestones, money raised to date, and donation breakdowns.

To accompany the microsite, we also designed email templates that would be used to communicate with alumni, students, family, and friends who may be interested in participating in the campaign.

We extended the Core to Commencement brand through custom newsletter and event invite email templates. The templates feature branded graphics, fresh content, and callouts to get involved in the College community.

While our focus at Barrel is primarily digital, we had the pleasure of working on some print collateral for this project. We designed a fundraising brochure that captured much of the website content in a different format.

The brochure features many elements from the microsite, creating a seamless brand experience.

To fully encapsulate the Core to Commencement experience, we collaborated with Old Bridge Media to produce a video for the campaign’s launch. The video is the first in a series that will feature faculty members, students, and alumni. Old Bridge Media directed, shot, and edited the video while Barrel helped manage the process and also provided the graphics.


The color palette and typographic treatment of the new brand were inspired by our research into Kallyope’s field of study.

The potential applications of gut-brain axis research are numerous and diverse. Kallyope, a new biotech startup in New York City, is one of the first firms tackling this exciting area of study. We helped Kallyope develop their branding and website to coincide with their official launch and announcement of $44 million Series A fundraise.

The first step in the design process involved brand exploration. An angular typeface was chosen for Kallyope’s wordmark to reflect the cutting-edge nature of their research.

Kallyope-Logo Annotations
The custom Y in Kallyope’s wordmark conveys the spirit of the venture.

Since Kallyope is a new brand, photography played an especially important role in telling their story. We worked closely with the Kallyope team to select stock photo images that appropriately convey Kallyope’s mission.

We used imagery of scientific machinery to depict the nature of Kallyope’s research.

Kallyope’s website has built-in flexibility to grow as they rapidly expand their team and acquire more press coverage.

The website can expand to accommodate more content as Kallyope evolves along with the Biotech industry.

Need help on a project that requires branding, UX design, or a technology solution? Get in touch, and we’ll let you know if we’re a good fit or point you toward someone that can help.

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