Letter from the Chancellor
Over the past year and a half, Appalachian has taken part in research regarding the university’s brand communication. I am pleased to report that the response from faculty, staff, students, friends and prospective students was very favorable. There are, however, some areas we could strengthen to more consistently represent the university and better tell the Appalachian story. While some research was conducted in relation to our branding and logo usage in the early 1990s, there has not been an in-depth review in more than 20 years. Our graphic identity needs to be more consistent and supportive of the overall brand.
The Appalachian songbird logo is well recognized as the university’s primary institutional mark. In recent years, the Mountaineers Block A has also gained widespread usage. These logos will be retained as our primary institutional marks, but clearer guidelines for their usage and approved modifications will make it much easier for campus constituents to receive the design elements they need while reinforcing our brand identity. Additionally, new word marks for departments and areas on campus will provide a look that reaffirms the Appalachian brand, ensures a consistent and professional appearance, and capitalizes on being a part of a well-respected institution.
The logos and their associated visual elements help Appalachian establish a stronger brand that reflects who we are and what we do. A fundamental piece of the university’s communication plan is proper, consistent usage of these materials. These visual elements are the basis for our brand identity, and we must all use them consistently.
Appalachian has always valued creativity and innovation in our communications. This has not changed. Departments and colleges will continue to easily customize and manage images and messages within the graphic standards. In fact, this review has led to the creation of a virtual toolbox for campus users which offers easy-to-access templates for brochures and presentations, images for publication, a style guide to assist in the creation of materials, and many other tools to make it easier for you to create quality communications for your area in a faster and more nimble and economical manner. This toolbox goes live on July 1, 2011 and can be accessed at vt.uc.appstate.edu.
This effort is being led by the University Branding Council, which works closely with the University Branding and Marketing Advisory Committee, comprised of members from across campus. The graphic identity is just one aspect of supporting the brand. The real branding work is driven by the great work being done on this campus by faculty, staff and students. In recent months you have noticed a concerted effort to strengthen the stories and messages from all areas and we will continue to look to you, our colleagues across campus, as we develop and launch a strong branding plan. We look forward to releasing more information about your integral participation in the branding plan in the days and weeks ahead, and to a phased rollout of the new toolbox beginning in July 2011.
Kenneth E. Peacock