University of Hawaii Introduces Final Designs for New System-Wide Brand Identity

Two Versions Available for Public Comment

University of Hawaiʻi
Posted: Apr 23, 2003

The University of Hawai'i today released two final designs for the new system-wide identity. Both concepts along with background information can be found at Individuals desiring to comment should please do so by May 2, 2003. A final recommendation will be made by a UH system-wide committee later in the month and presented to the Board of Regents (BOR) for its approval at their monthly meeting in May.

In the 2002 strategic plan, the university was charged with advancing the unique identities of each individual college while communicating the benefits of one integrated system. The Office of External Affairs and University Relations immediately began examining how each campus and the university system as a whole was perceived both internally and externally. The university partnered with The Brand Strategy Group, lead by Gloria Garvey and Brook Gramann, to conduct a comprehensive analysis examining perceptions of the university‘s institutional identity on its 10 campuses. They conducted interviews, focus groups, and managed a comprehensive study of best practices in education branding.

Their research showed that UH‘s brand image was fractured with over 150 logos in use system-wide. They also found that the university had no distinct message or theme and that many programs failed to mention their affiliation with the University of Hawai'i. Without a consistent brand image, The Brand Strategy Group found that it was nearly impossible for audiences to recognize the values of the university identified by the strategic plan such as access, affordability, excellence, diversity, fairness and equity. Based on their findings, The Brand Strategy Group strongly recommended the need for a visual identity program.

The university issued a request for proposals (RFP) and 14 design firms from Hawai'i, California, New York and Maryland responded. Six firms were selected as semi-finalists, but after presentations the field was narrowed to two finalists. After a final round of questions, Robert Rytter & Associates was unanimously selected by a campus-wide marketing committee based on several factors including cost, expertise and experience in creating graphic identities for educational institutions.

The process for bringing the brand to life began with the design team visiting every campus and meeting with representatives from the university, the community and the government. From there, preliminary design concepts were developed. In January 2003, Robert Rytter & Associates presented three complete concepts. A system-wide committee selected two of those concepts for further development. The final designs were presented to the UH community for feedback through a series of system-wide meetings during the last two weeks of January. The design team took the feedback they received at these meetings and used it to further develop and refine the final design concepts. The design firm was paid $82,000 to design the new brand identity and develop its applications for use on all 10 campuses.

As existing supplies are exhausted, the new logo designs and graphics will be incorporated into a wide variety of on-going materials including the UH web site, promotional and marketing brochures and university publications including the alumni magazine. The new brand identity will also be used in local, out-of-state and international recruiting collateral. Although in some cases, such as the UH web site, the logo will be implemented following BOR approval, the full transition to the new graphic identity will be phased in over the course of a year to minimize costs and disruptions.

The new system logo WILL NOT replace the athletic logos for either UH Mānoa or UH Hilo. In addition, the UH seal will remain in place for academic purposes including diplomas and official documents.

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