PUBLICATIONS Inside Illinois
Vol. 28, No. 2, July 17, 2008
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Branding initiative under way; unit logos to be phased out
As far back as the early 1900s, when the songs “Illinois Loyalty” and “Oskee Wow Wow” were first performed, the Urbana campus was referred to as Illinois. It wasn’t until the Chicago and Springfield campuses joined the University of Illinois that some administrators began using the term “UIUC” to describe the Urbana campus. A brand perception study conducted in 2006 confirmed that key audiences associated the names “University of Illinois” and “Illinois” with the Urbana campus. The research indicated that “Illinois” had far stronger brand recognition than the acronym “UIUC,” particularly with audiences outside the state of Illinois.
Based on tradition and research, the branding strategy that is under way on campus is focused on re-establishing a consistent identity for the campus as “Illinois” among key audiences, according to project manager Joel Steinfeldt of Creative Services. First launched in June 2006 by Public Affairs, the campus branding initiative has included the development of graphic standards for communications materials and migration of the campus Web site and e-mail system from the uiuc.edu domain name to Illinois.edu.
In a recent e-mail message to campus, Chancellor Richard Herman and Provost Linda Katehi announced the next phase of the branding initiative by asking campus units to phase out the units’ individual logos and instead use the campus logos. "When the diverse individual parts of our great institution associate their unique strengths with those of their peers through a consistent, coordinated use of the University's identity, together we increase our reputation for excellence and protect the integrity of our academics, research, and public engagement missions."
The I Mark – which can be found on everything from apparel to license plates to half-time commercials broadcast during sporting events – has developed powerful brand recognition among audiences worldwide since its inception in 1997. Use of the I Mark and the campus logos will present a consistent identity to audiences and help audiences recognize the breadth and depth of the University.
Campus units are being encouraged to build comprehensive visual identities for themselves that convey their unique products, services and missions. In addition to phasing out their unit logos and adopting the I Mark and the campus logos, units are being asked to refer to themselves with text. Units that do not have professional design staff can contact Creative Services for guidance on establishing a visual identity.
It is estimated that collectively, individual campus units spent roughly $383,000 to $816,000 annually simply to create and approve new campus unit logos. According to Public Affairs, branding up will allow units to direct money formerly spent on logo development – including graphic design services and staff members’ time – to their core missions of education, research and public engagement while enabling the university to leverage all its marketing dollars and brand management expertise on a single core brand.
Campus units that have a different product, service, or target audience that the university will continue to use their own logos. These include sub-brands such as the athletics program and UI Extension and independent brands such as Assembly Hall and Willard Airport. However, the independent brands will use the I Mark as well to indicate their relationship with the core brand, Illinois.
Guidelines for identity standards
Under the guidelines for Identity Standards, which are available on the Web at www.identitystandards.illinois.edu, the I Mark must appear on the cover of all publications, and a campus logo must appear inside. Print and durable goods such as brochures, newsletters, signage and imprinted items that are developed, printed or created after Sept. 8, 2008 must comply with the standards. Items currently in production that are scheduled to be printed or created before Sept. 8 do not need to be updated.
All existing materials should be used until the supply is exhausted, but all print products and durable goods must comply by Jan. 1, 2010.
Web pages developed after Sept. 8 must comply with the standards, and home pages for all campus units must comply by Jan. 1, 2009.
The I Mark and the text “University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign” should appear prominently on the first page of PowerPoint presentations; new templates – as well as more information about the branding initiative - are available on the identity standards Web site, www.identitystandards.illinois.edu.