Based on our recent global survey of more than 100 higher ed brand identity redesigns over the past 2 years, Ken Steele counts down the 10 best rebrandings – those that are professional, memorable, balanced and well-designed, and that didn’t spark a backlash from faculty, students or alumni.
Design firm Olson of Minneapolis created a streamlined new logo using a vastly simplified coat of arms and an “ownable” fleur de lis. The branding system includes specs for consistent iconography, a variety of wallpapers, and a wide range of subbrands – including a new logo for Billken Athletics.
Another Catholic college redesigned their steeple-focused identity with the help of Rickabaugh Graphics in Ohio. The result is a dynamic shield emblem with fresher typography and a slightly brighter crimson, and a new mark for Crusaders Athletics.
In 2012, Augusta State University merged with Georgia Health Sciences to create Georgia Regents University – and then, apparently after a lawsuit from Regents University in Virginia, it changed its name again in 2015 to Augusta University. The new identity features a slick illustration of a colonial belltower (which doesn’t actually exist) that is simultaneously clearly a letter “A”.
It was known by far too many different names: CSU Stanislaus, CSUS, California State Stanislaus, Stanislaus State, Stan State, and even “Turkey Tech.” But with the help of the Jeffrey Scott Agency in Fresno, Stan State unveiled a snazzy new “split shield” logo system in 2015 that standardized its name. Departments and individuals can now choose from “CSU Stanislaus” or “Stanislaus State” logos, and even “Stan State” is officially endorsed for internal audiences.
The 10 colleges in Maricopa County had startlingly different brand identities, but in 2015 the Maricopa System unveiled “One Maricopa,” a new unifying logo system that would create consistent subbrands for each campus, while retaining their former colours and visuals. It was a masterful effort at compromise… but so far, there’s little sign that the colleges have actually adopted the new branding system.
That’s the first half of our round-up of the world’s top ten recent rebrands. Next time, we’ll complete the countdown with the top five!
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