New logos introduced as University brand develops
By Colleen MacPherson
The increased attention on campus for the rededication of the College Building proved to be a perfect opportunity to introduce some new elements to the University’s visual identity, one step in building a recognizable brand for the institution.
The new look includes increased profile for the University’s shield and more options for presenting the institution’s name. The University’s website home page began showing one of the new logos Sept. 1, and it can be seen on the banners adorning the front of the College Building. Other materials produced for the rededication event such as the tour guide also use the new visual elements, as does the redesigned On Campus News banner on Page 1 of this edition.
Ghislaine McLeod, Director of Communications, whose office is overseeing brand development, said the additional logo options are intended to address concerns that current logo standards do not satisfy the University’s broad communication and branding needs. This perception has seen groups on campus ignore existing guidelines and in some cases, develop competing logos that diminish the U of S brand.
The familiar circle logo will remain an option and additional options deliberately retain “an affinity to the existing logo”. The alternatives, however, have been created to send a stronger message about establishment and presence, she said. “When we tested these with focus groups, the response to the round logo was that it’s ‘backpack casual’, while the new look was seen as more substantive. Now, designers on campus have a broader choice to suit every application.”
With the visual elements in place, the next step is to finalize guidelines for their use based on the University’s existing graphic standards. McLeod said her group will collect feedback on use of the images until the end of September before finalizing new graphic standards for the Board of Governors to examine. Graphic files will then be made widely available.
Incorporation of the new look will be gradual, she said. For example, signage around campus will change over time, “and no one should discard their letterhead or business cards. The University will be using up existing stock before moving to a new design.”
Those wishing to use the new elements now should contact Communications, said McLeod, explaining there must be tight control of their use until the guidelines are in place and any concerns are addressed.
One factor behind the redesign is to present the U of S in a visually consistent way. That uniformity, said Heather Magotiaux, Vice-President of University Advancement, is a critical part of the branding process, “moving us closer to a broad discussion about what distinguishes the University of Saskatchewan from its peers and competitors.”
As the branding effort continues, Magotiaux said, a brand position statement will evolve that, like the visuals, will reinforce the priorities set out in Strategic Directions and the Integrated Plan.
“That’s a challenge for an organization as diverse as this one but by working collaboratively, we will be able to achieve what we’ve only talked about for years.”
A town hall meeting to discuss brand and visual identity will be held Sept. 23 from 9-10:30 a.m. in Rm. 299 in the Murray Building. On hand will be McLeod and Magotiaux as well as President Peter MacKinnon.