University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Brand Strategy: Brand Up

Why it's best for campus units, the University and our stakeholders.

Branding up means that campus units use the Illinois logo and refer to the name of their unit in text instead of expending resources developing and maintaining individual logos and brands. Campus administration directed Read the Chancellor and Provost's request.

How It Works

As good stewards of public funds, campus units should allow the university to shoulder the expense of developing, supporting, maintaining and building the Illinois brand and use unit funds to focus on academics, research, and public engagement efforts.

Campus units should not expend resources to create campus unit logos. Instead, campus units should use a comprehensive visual identity for all communications materials that represents its unique products, services, and missions and distinguishes it from competitors. That visual identity should include the Illinois logo instead of a campus unit logo, allowing campus units to make an instant connection with audiences and harness the power of the Illinois brand.

Best for Campus Units

  • Lets the university assume marketing, trademark, legal, and other branding expenses so campus units can devote their funds to what they do best.
  • Campus units don’t have to expend funds on the resources or expertise needed to effectively manage a brand (4 percent of a campus unit's operating budget is the bare minimum required to simply maintain a brand without growing it, according to Educational Marketing Group, Ltd.).
  • Replaces many logos that few audiences recognize with the campus logo, which has proven audience recognition.
  • Allows campus units to be themselves and keep their own identities. A logo is only visual shorthand for an organization and can’t explain the depth, breadth, and complexity of an organization, but a visual identity can.
  • Reduces workload for staff tasked with maintaining a campus unit brand.
  • Makes name changes easier for campus units by eliminating expenses (there is no logo to replace and no staff time needed to approve a new one).
  • Allows campus units to more directly benefit from expertise and marketing efforts at the university level (half-time commercials, Big Ten Network programming, existing Public Affairs resources).

Best for the Campus

  • Protects the integrity of our academic, research, and public engagement missions by clearly indicating to audiences that the communications materials are “bona fide” university of Illinois.
  • Eliminates waste: allows between $383,050 to $816,020 spent annually to create campus unit logos to be spent on core academic, research, and public engagement missions of campus units.
  • Allows the campus to leverage every marketing dollar on the core academic brand. This is crucial in today’s marketplace of highly segmented media because the cost to reach fragmented audiences is rising significantly and more competitors are branding.
  • “Paint the Campus Academic”—We’re stronger when we speak as one. Consider the powerful image and message sent when we “Paint the Hall Orange” at basketball games. When all academic and support units use one, consistent brand instead of hundreds, we strengthen the effectiveness of our marketing efforts.
  • We are a university, not a multiversity. The founders of this great institution realized that we are stronger together than when we are separate. Using one brand shows how the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the College of Engineering are related parts of a greater whole and helps audiences understand the breadth and depth of the of our research, academics, and public engagement efforts.
  • Leverages the brand management expertise at Illinois. It isn’t realistic to expect units to have the expertise and ability to manage 700 individual brands, but a small group of individuals at the campus level can manage one core brand effectively.
  • Strengthens the brand by ending the confusion and dilution created by a multitude of dissimilar campus unit logos.

Best for Stakeholders

  • Builds pride and connections and serves as a touchstone.
  • Communicates a comprehensive picture of the value the U of I adds to their lives.
  • Demonstrates and leverages comprehensive excellence – a “rising tide that floats all boats.”
  • The timing is right; matches and enhances other campus efforts.