The Value of the Campus Logos
A logo is not a brand. It is visual shorthand for a brand. A brand is the emotion, perception, or expectation associated with an organization, company, product, or service. The campus logos serve as visual shorthand for the Illinois brand.
The campus logos were created in 1997 to reflect the strong attributes of this campus: excellence, rich history, creativity, and tradition. Since then, its recognition among key audiences has risen significantly.
In 2006, the Survey Research Lab conducted a brand perception survey that showed the names "University of Illinois" and "Illinois" were recognized as the Urbana-Champaign campus by all the University's key audiences. Those familiar with the University indicated that the Illinois logo and the I Mark best represent this campus.
A Familiar, Constant Symbol
It’s not surprising that faculty and students see the I Mark as familiar; it is found on campus building signs, parking meters, cars, historical markers, banners, merchandise, advertisements, and print publications. The I Mark is seen throughout the state on license plates and Illinois Extension signs and communications materials. It is seen nationally in print and on television in messages broadcast during halftime at sporting events. It travels the world via the Web and as part of international marketing materials.
The consistent use of the campus logos continues to add value by associating the efforts of individual campus units with the overall excellence of the university. Despite the changes that are a natural part of a university environment, the campus logos remain a constant symbol recognized by our audiences.
There are three elements related to any logo: development, promotion, and maintenance. All three must work together to build recognition. All three have costs associated with them.
The campus has invested significant resources to create and refine the campus logos so that they may be used effectively in all campus print and electronic communications media. These logos visually reinforce each other to build instant recognition so audiences know at first glance the information comes from the university. Read a history of the logo design process.
Currently, the campus community sends multiple communication materials with multiple messages to multiple audiences. Consistent use of the campus logo creates visual consistency in the effect the university has on those audiences. This means that a person who receives an eNewsletter from the Chancellor, visits a college Web site and receives a publication from any campus unit can see how the tremendous breadth and depth of our premier research, teaching, and public engagement efforts are interconnected.
Support and Maintenance
The campus has invested and continues to invest in maintaining the campus logos. Support includes trademark and other legal protections, design services, resources, tools, technical support, and personnel to ensure the logos are used consistently and with integrity. Alterations to the campus logos, although typically made with the best of intentions, diminish recognition and value. In fact, logos that are similar but vary from the campus logos create confusion and force audiences to determine if the logo's connection to the university is true. That’s why campus administration provides the tools and standards to make it easy to use the campus logos correctly.
Using the campus logos allows campus units to benefit from a mark that has proven recognition with key audiences. It allows campus units to associate with the strengths of their university peers and to take advantage of the funds and the support system the university has already provided and will continue to provide.
Campus units are encouraged to use a comprehensive visual identity and consistent messages to show the strengths of your organization and differentiate it from your competitors. Use the campus logos to connect your strengths with those of your campus peers. Public Affairs is coordinating campus efforts to raise recognition of the university so campus units can focus on research, teaching and public engagement efforts.
Together, we strengthen the value of the university's efforts by connecting the world with the breadth and depth of the excellence we provide together as a world-class university.