Updated Logo Aims to Modernize, Unify BU
Branding Web site offers guidelines for schools and colleges
A year and a half of study, discussion, and hard work ended last week when members of the Office of Marketing and Communications gathered in the Metcalf Trustee Ballroom for the unveiling of the University’s new master logo, along with a manual of guidelines for its use.
President Robert A. Brown, who opened the presentation, told the audience that while the new logo is not very different from the old one, its uniform use will make a big change. Brown said that all schools, departments, and campus organizations will begin speaking with one voice by using the same logos, icons, and subbrand logotypes on their Web sites, stationery, business cards, and the like. The University seal, which Brown jokingly referred to as the “meatball,” will for the most part be phased out and used only for special occasions, such as formal invitations or ceremonial documents like diplomas.
“If you walk around campus today,” Brown said, “there’s no single logo for the University, because everyone changes it just a little bit to make it work for them. They put other things in the box, use different colors. But what’s missing when each school and college does their own thing is an identity for the whole University.”
The Schools of Management and Law, for example, incorporate their names into the logo. The School of Theology has its own seal, while the College of Communication uses the University seal. Some schools and colleges don’t use any logo at all.
The new logo and icons were designed by Cambridge-based Toth Brand Imaging, which counts among its clients Tommy Hilfiger, Nautica, and Coach. The new branding initiative began almost two years ago with a marketing study that found, among other things, little unity or focus among the University’s design elements.
Steve Burgay, vice president of marketing and communications, said his team and Toth experimented with many logos, some radically different, some they considered marketing home runs. But after consulting with other members of the University, particularly on the academic side, about some of those departures, they decided to go with a freshening-up of the existing logo.
“We got the clear sense that there was a great deal of value attached to something that has gravitas,” said Burgay. “The Boston University logo that we’ve had for the previous 10 years has a sense of heritage and tradition that folks felt very attached to.”
Scott Dasse, the creative director for the Office of New Media, said that although the new logo is very similar to the old one, the spacing has been adjusted to make the words feel less crowded and the integrity of the border has been strengthened so the image can be reproduced at a variety of sizes.
Amy Hook, assistant vice president of marketing and communications, who spearheaded the branding effort, assured the audience that implementing the new design elements is not a start-over-from-scratch situation.
“We’re trying to make this as easy as possible,” said Hook. “And we’re here to help. We understand it’s going to take time. We’re not asking people to retrofit everything, except their Web sites. But as you run out of business cards and stationery, you’ll get cards and stationery with the new logo.”
Hook said the University’s schools and organizations can still use outside design vendors, but they need to supply them with the new design elements and guidelines. As more Web sites and materials successfully convert, she plans to post examples on the OMC site, and she pointed to the College of Fine Arts as a site that is now “on-brand.”
All the icons, signatures, and logos, as well as the guidelines, can be downloaded. There is a contact form for questions, and hard copy manuals are available.
Hook said campus signage will undergo related changes in the next year, as well. Printed materials, too, such as brochures and catalogs, will soon have a fresher, more dynamic tone under the direction of Amy Schottenfels, the new creative director of print at Creative Services.
“Over the next six months to a year, we’ll all be speaking with one voice,” Hook said. “One that’s modern, urban, global, dynamic, confident, progressive, and diverse.”
Caleb Daniloff can be reached at email@example.com Comments