Visual Identity History

September 2007

Ten years ago, we boldly became a university, staked our claim among the Adventist higher education institutions in North America, and published the first edition of the University Identity Guide. Since then, Southern has grown by almost 1,000 students; added additional infrastructure; and addedlogo new, exciting entities that promote our mission, such as museums, centers, and institutes. This tremendous growth challenged our decade-old identity system, developed by a consultant in 1997 before the web was a common communication medium. The university needed more flexibility in logo configurations as well as a better system for how the expanding entities related to the growing university. Following best practices in higher education, we embarked on the process of refreshing our identity system.

In April 2006, we tackled the challenge in partnership with higher education brand experts LandreyMorrow and the appointment of a Visual Identity Advisory Group by the president. Here’s a brief timeline of how the project unfolded:

April 2006: Visual audit and review of our identity history. Bruce Landrey interviews the president, cabinet members, and selected faculty and staff.
June 2006: Landrey holds three seminars with groups of administrators, deans, chairs, and key personnel to share the results of the visual audit; identify best practices among universities and colleges; and begin dialog, reflection, and feedback.
Fall Semester 2006:
Visual Identity Advisory Group reviews icon choices, evaluates wordmark suggestions, and sees first drafts of guidelines from LandreyMorrow. The group chooses to enhance the icon and upgrade it instead of changing it drastically. Possible vertical and horizontal logo versions are reviewed. The new wordmark undergoes revisions with several unique typography treatments.
October 2006: Landrey presents seminars, meetings, and a luncheon with deans and chairs, President’s Cabinet, Ad Council, and selected faculty and staff. The icon options and guidelines are discussed in more detail and presented for comment and feedback.
October 2006: The advisory group selects three finalists from the icon choices and presents them along with the suggested wordmark via a web survey for comment by all campus stakeholders. While the campus voices considerable distress over the change, a clear consensus emerges from the seminars and the survey regarding the icon choice.
November 2006: The advisory group recommends the final icon and wordmark choice along with the guidelines to the president, and LandreyMorrow proceeds to the final phase of logo, stationery, graphic standards, and business system development.
January-April 2007: The Marketing and University Relations team works closely with the LandreyMorrow designer on finalizing color choices and stationery development. The envelope designs are cleared through Susan Hardin, the mailpiece design analyst for the United States Postal Service, with feedback and input from our own mailroom operation. Price bids are taken from the College Press and from vendors located by Purchasing.
May-July 2007: The implementation options and pricing structure are discussed with Financial Administration for maximum efficiency and cost savings across campus. The Visual Identity Advisory Group revises many features of the stationery design, with particular attention to the business card.
July 2007: Based on the Visual Identity Advisory Group’s recommendations, the president approves the final Visual Identity Standards Guide and stationery design for production. The new online ordering system is designed and the identity web page created.
August-September 2007: Campus debut of refreshed and re-energized logo, new stationery system, and “one university” concept of logo architecture.