University of Rochester

Currents--University of Rochester newspaper

University moves closer to new logo design
Once there were hundreds. This spring there will be only one—the University’s new logo.
This marks the first step in an overall initiative to develop a new graphic identity. The project is led by Bill Murphy, vice president for communications, and guided by the results of an external review commissioned by President Seligman to examine the University’s overall communications efforts.
For the past year, Murphy has collaborated with a group of University faculty and staff that includes public relations and marketing specialists, writers, and graphic designers to develop and fine-tune an initial set of logos. He also gathered input from faculty, staff, students, alumni, senior administration, and the Board of Trustees through a series of presentations.
Currently, five designs remain, and the University community is invited to offer input through on online survey at Murphy is hopeful that a final decision will be made in April and that a set of graphic standards will soon follow. He says the ultimate goal is to arrive at a logo that people across the University will use and a process that will encourage them to adopt it wholeheartedly.
“We began by bringing together a representative group and doing our homework,” says Murphy. “We looked at past expressions of the University’s name in typography and in carvings on buildings, at icons the University has used, and at what our peer institutions are doing. We didn’t want to be slavishly imitative but it was helpful to get a sense of whether there was any commonality to that group.”
A team of University graphic designers used that information as the inspiration for an initial set of concepts that ranged from contemporary to traditional.
Murphy says his past experience has shown that it is important to have people react to concrete visuals as a way to begin a dialogue and identify the essential components.
It was clear throughout the process, adds Murphy, a set of themes was emerging based on feedback from faculty, staff, and students.
“The University community really wanted a sense of belonging, of fitting in with our peer institutions. They clearly wanted something that was classic rather than wildly innovative. They wanted something traditional and evocative of a world-class research institution.”
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