University of dundee logo change

By | 24th May 2017

University of dundee logo change

      Start talking about ‘brand’ and the first question I tend to get from those not immersed in marketing is ‘What is it?’. Our brand is essentially who we are and how we present ourselves to the world, from the way we describe ourselves to all of our audiences – students, staff, the wider world – and the look and feel of everything we do across our printed publications, our digital presence, and on the campus.

Rewind to the year 2000 and we see the University, and the world around it, as a very different place. Mobile phones were still not an accessory carried by everyone and those that were in circulation had little or no internet access. Tablets like the iPad were still a distant notion. Print was still dominant in terms of how communicated to the outside world.

It was in this environment that the University’s brand guidelines were last redeveloped. That means the tools and frameworks developed then – colours, logos, look and feel – have been in place for almost one-third of our 50 years of existence as an independent university.

That in itself is not necessarily a reason to change things. Many successful brands rely on strong elements that have been in place for a lot longer. But it is more than long enough to look at something and see if it still works or is fit for purpose.

Much work has been done over the past few years in articulating the University’s vision and core values, resulting in the Transformation vision. We have a strong sense of who we are and what we are here to do. We need to make sure that is clear to people to outside of the University as well, particularly our core audiences such as potential students at home and abroad.

However, a detailed brand perception study carried out for us by Ipsos MORI earlier this year found there was low brand awareness among our key audiences, which we need to address. We are doing this in a number of ways, including articulating our core messages more clearly and consistently.

University of dundee logo change

University of Dundee crest

This clarity and consistency need to apply to our visual identity as well. The existing brand guidelines have not been applied consistently, and the look and logo are relatively weak, the logo itself referring to the University structure in 2000.

This is not just about a logo (although we have made some changes to that). It is about how we present ourselves to the world and will be an integral component of our wider marketing and communications, supporting our priorities in student recruitment and ultimately improving the University’s standing and financial position.

We have a great story to tell and a great offer to make to prospective students and staff and potential academic and research partners. The University has invested significantly to help boost our activities in key areas such as student recruitment. We need a strong brand to help us get that message through.

To that end we have been working with Tangent Graphics, an award-winning Scottish company who produced designs and branding for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. They have links to the University through employing graduates and interns from Duncan of Jordanstone. They understand us, and have developed their knowledge with a wide-ranging series of workshops, fact-finding sessions and conversations across the University in recent months.

What we are now putting in place is not a new brand. The core elements of what was there before are still present, but strengthened and remodelled to work best in the environment we have now and in the future. It is an evolution rather than a revolution.

University of dundee logo change

It is built on principles of great student experience, a collegiate and interdisciplinary environment and our core values. It speaks to a strong student voice, one of the things that makes Dundee unique. It is grounded in our history.

The visual aspect is something that is clear, that can be consistently applied, and is much more instantly recognisably Dundee. It includes a unique typeface, ‘Baxter Sans’, developed solely for us and named after our founder Mary Ann Baxter, whose progressive values (she stipulated in her bequest that the University should educate women alongside men) continue to inform who we are.

We are focused on authenticity and the strength of the University experience. And we want to project ‘Dundee’ as loudly and clearly as possible. We believe this revised brand framework will make it easier for all in the University community to do that.

ll make it easier for all in the University community to do that.