Monday, 5 February 2007

Logo History : University of Baltimore Logo

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The UB symbol

The inspiration for the UB symbol is a torch, which picks up on elements of the window design of the UB Student Center. The symbol consists of three elements that work together to create a single image, and the gradation of color varies from dark to light. Its modern look suggests growth and movement forward; it implies diversity, and it represents the three schools and their collective ambition.

The UB signature
The UB signature reflects the University's strong connection to the city of Baltimore and its ongoing commitment to urban engagement.

The UB logo

The logo and symbol work together as one unit and will always be seen in this arrangement. The space both in and above the U creates an arrow that moves upward. The symbol and logo together imply the ideas of movement forward, growth, change, next steps, diversity and the 21st century. The unit as whole supports the fundamental messages in the University's mission statement and ideally reflects both the University's current role and its exciting future.

What do you think of when you hear the word “brand”? Put 10 people in a room and ask them that question, and you’re likely to get a dozen different answers. But within those answers is usually a thread, a commonality that purifies the branding concept down to its essence: Whatever you think of when you think of a brand—logo, slogan, Web presence, advertising, “look and feel,” and so on—it constitutes a promise on the part of the branded entity.

For the University of Baltimore (as well as every other university, college and school, both public and private, accredited or not), the promise of the institution’s brand is closely tied to its mission of teaching, scholarship and service. It’s a promise that, in all of these areas, the needs of the “client” (a student, but also faculty, staff, alumni, friends and newcomers) will be met. The promise is both tangible (quality courses, development of applicable skills) and intangible (networking, lifelong connections, the “college experience). Finally, a well-established brand can represent different things to different people, but all of those things are demonstrable, believable and relevant.

Until about a decade ago, the idea of branding a university was considered offbeat and somewhat ludicrous. Even leaders of major research institutions, with close ties to business, science, politics and the arts, considered a brand for their campuses to be somehow beneath them.

“See those ivy-covered walls and university pennants on homecoming day? That’s all the brand we need,” they would argue.

But starting in the mid- to late 1980s, right around the same time that the concept of strategic planning made its way out of corporate boardrooms and into those same ivy-covered walls, the branding approach began to take hold in higher education. Institutions recognized that not only could they trade on their well-established names—affirmed by the huge proliferation of t-shirts, mugs, and thousands of other licensed products bearing institutional graphics—but they could also actively market that name as part of an “experience.” To fail to establish a brand, or to let an organically created brand go to seed, was suddenly seen as deeply risky.

It’s debatable how these ideas got off the ground, but the nation’s changing demographics in the ’90s led to a tipping point: millions of college-ready students (the “baby boom echo”), millions more adults seeking to broaden their educations, and a sharp increase in the numbers of minorities both young and older desiring a degree. But there’s a problem.

The lead paragraph of a June 17, 2005, article in The Chronicle of Higher Education on the future of college marketing sums it up:

“The competition among colleges for students is growing just as quickly as the number of high school graduates and adults returning to school, and institutions need to be more nimble and to better promote themselves if they expect to snag those new recruits….”

This message was delivered last summer to hundreds of higher-education leaders during a conference on the future of college recruiting. That was the good news. The bad news, according to the Chronicle: Students have more choices of where and how they will go to college, thanks to the proliferation of for-profit and online schools.

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