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Unified and Always In-Season: Purdue’s Integrated Visual Content Ecosystem

Integrated PhotoShelter accounts eliminate silos between Purdue’s departments.

  • 10 different PhotoShelter instances managed under Integrated Accounts
  • 200k+ assets managed through PhotoShelter
  • Up to 700+ downloads of assets per day automated with PhotoShelter


At Purdue University, a renowned institution known for its top-tier academic and athletic programs, imagery has become central to its marketing and communication strategy. A student body of over 50,000 (including 17 NCAA Division I sports teams alongside 13 colleges and schools) on a campus spread across 2,600 acres provides the marketing team with an inexhaustible supply of visual stories ripe for the telling.


While the marketing team originally focused on building and maintaining a photographic library to document and promote university life in West Lafayette, their purview has grown to include the online Purdue Global and Purdue University in Indianapolis. And with all the content produced by a mix of full-time staff and freelancers, the team has witnessed a huge increase in requests from various campus partners to generate and distribute imagery for everything from social media to online marketing to traditional print publications.

“Most creative projects we complete have a photo and video asset involved [with it] now. We want authentic images so we are consistently on campus capturing photos,” explains Christi Perry, Sr. Marketing Production Manager. “We are the main drivers of the university’s brand and everyone relies on us providing fresh assets constantly. PhotoShelter allows us to do that.”


With an increasing demand for visual storytelling, the team needed to provide a simplified collection, folder and gallery structure, strategic keywording and an easy-to-use in-brand comprehensive photo library. PhotoShelter provided the solution they needed. A revamp a few years ago saw the launch of Purdue’s MarComm photo library, Campus Partner Photo Library, Campus Partner Video Library and Purdue University Global Library, powered by PhotoShelter.

But the marketing department isn’t the only game in town. Purdue Athletics and several of the colleges have their own PhotoShelter for Brands digital asset libraries that are connected with the marketing department’s library via PhotoShelter’s Integrated Accounts to create a unified content ecosystem. This allows, for example, Purdue Athletics to independently manage their own stable of contributors with sports-specific metadata, while still contributing selected content to the University marketing department for broader distribution.

Purdue President Mung Chiang recently announced the “Purdue Computes” initiative, a 5-year, multi-million dollar investment to establish the University as a leader in computer science, AI, and microchip research. This has led to a lot of interest from across the University as well as from external parties, who need access to photographs from the clean room labs. With the announcement, the Purdue Marketing and Communications team was tasked with capturing images from the University’s semiconductor lab, which they shared with the Purdue Research Foundation’s PhotoShelter digital asset library via Integrated Accounts. The Foundation exists to advance the University’s mission, so timely access to the images allows its staff to support the President’s vision.

In another instance, the University’s former president was about to announce to the board of directors he was going to retire. The board asked the Purdue Marketing and Communications photo team to send a photographer to capture this historic moment. However, all of their photographers were on assignment too far away to make it in time. They worked with the Athletics Department who sent one of its photographers to capture this moment. The marketing department was able to get instant access to the photos through PhotoShelter’s Integrated Accounts and use them immediately for this important milestone.

The Campus Partner Photo Library website, a collection inside PhotoShelter providing all campus partners with access, acts as a clearinghouse for curated and approved imagery produced around campus from a variety of sources. Perry aims to maintain 2 – 2.5 years worth of up-to-date photos to prevent the collection from becoming stale and dated. And while the library is searchable, the marketing team has started using PhotoShelter Workspaces to collect the best images and serve them up in a collaborative environment.

Images of the campus throughout the four seasons are particularly popular with various campus partners, and Perry regularly assigns photographers to capture that content. Each photographer might submit 100+ high quality images into the library, then the photographer selects their top 15-20 images for inclusion into a Workspace that is shared with the Strategic Communications team. This provides a more manageable collection of images, then the news team assembles a News Exposure gallery that is emailed to every address as a visual representation of the picturesque campus and its student body. The university also follows the same process for big events, like commencements.

Perry’s team used to get inundated with requests across multiple departments to share university images. “With PhotoShelter, we can provide campus partners, our campus marketers and communicators, with current, in-brand photography they can use for their marketing,” says Perry. “This creates a culture of campus partners being able to fish for themselves from our photo collections and galleries.”

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