The MacEwan University Brand Identity is the visual trademark that defines our proud name and image. Though the brand is as much about our story as it is our image, it's the visual identity that is well, most visible. The logo is what we see on the side of our buildings and on the signage that guides us around campus, on textbooks, t-shirts, web sites, on our favourite Facebook pages, and innumerable other applications. The logo is our badge, our flag, our first impression...
But the logo's main job is actually quite simple. It answers the question "What's your name?". For us that has been critical. In 2009 the institution that had started life as Grant MacEwan Community College officially became Alberta's sixth university. While our logo at the time boldly identified us as "MacEwan," it did not clearly define us as a university. That’s how the rebranding process started in early 2012 — with the need to firmly establish our identity as Alberta's newest university.
It was also critical to understand what that really meant, the story behind the brand — what type of university are we? What type of university are we going to be? What makes us unique? The development of our brand story has answered those questions. Jump over to the New Brand Story page if you want to read the full tale.
ORIGIN OF THE LOGO AND IDENTITY
Both brand story and brand identity development were projects we involved our university community in. As we developed concepts for the identity we were able to explore a wide range of approaches and get opinions from across all our campuses about which ideas had both relevance and impact as a badge for us.
The best brands, and maybe the best logos, are not just cool art – they stand for something substantial. Ours is built around the profile, history and the core ideas at the heart of MacEwan University's brand story. The "tower symbol" represents our "sense of place" and celebrates the distinctive heritage of the MacEwan University architecture, locale and our future as a consolidated downtown campus at the heart of the city.
The City Centre Campus is a fixture on the Edmonton skyline and has become one of the city’s iconic locations. And, in a more cultural sense, the logo symbol represents our "sense of community" — where people and ideas have come together to achieve extraordinary things. The arching "pathway" through the tower symbol represents the transformative and unique learner journey that MacEwan University makes possible.
These attributes make this identity unique to MacEwan University and reflect key personality traits and themes that echo the brand promise: "Connected Engaged Inspired." When designing our identity, we were clear that it should not just be a generic symbol — but something that was relevant and reflective of MacEwan University. Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best.
BRAND AND VISUAL IDENTITY SYSTEM
Of course, the logo is just one part of the brand — and to be effective it must be supported by a complete visual identity system. Because, if the brand is the total expression and effect created by everything we do, say and show (identity, communications, programs, facilities, services, experiences, etc.) then it’s critical that we have a strong identity that is clear, consistent and effective across all our communications initiatives.
The brand is critical in strengthening our position as a leading undergraduate university. And our identity helps unify all our brand components around a core message and position that says who we are, what we do, and why it matters. The brand and its identity helps build our name, profile and reputation while distinguishing us from our competitors.
The MacEwan University brand and visual identity system is built around six key pieces.
Each one is important in giving us a consistent image and an appealing style and template for integrated, engaging communications. They include:
1. THE OFFICIAL LOGO - a combination of the logo symbol and the MacEwan University name and wordmark in the official colours
2. THE LOGO WITH SIGNATURE
- our overall brand theme and unifying idea… the institutional "tagline"
3. THE OFFICIAL TYPOGRAPHY -
our corporate fonts and typefaces
4. THE OFFICIAL COLOURS
- our corporate colour palette
5. THE FACULTY AND DEPARTMENT LOGO SIGNATURES
- identification for ALL divisions of the university
6. THE SECONDARY GRAPHICS
- additional design elements that provide dynamic backgrounds and visual flourishes
MacEwan University's Office of Communications and Marketing (OCM) is responsible for managing our brand and the institution-wide use of the identity in corporate as well as marketing applications. Official Brand Identity Guidelines have been created for the proper relationship of these elements ensure that the brand will be used in a consistent and distinctive manner. OCM's consultation and the guidelines provide direction to anyone responsible for applying our identity in marketing, communications or design.
A WIDE RANGE OF BRAND APPLICATIONS
The brand identity concept — and the full visual identity system — allow for a wide variety of applications of the identity across all faculties and departments. It's important that our brand can reflect the diversity and scope of MacEwan University's post-secondary experience. In some cases, the applications are very "corporate" and provide simple, professional institutional identification. In other cases, the use is very dynamic and promotional, where the creative communication of the university's positioning and marketing concept is critical.
But, whatever the use, it will always be part of the brand "family". That’s the idea behind all the different elements working together... to create a visual culture that reflects the brand culture.
Colour and secondary graphics play a big role in that as well. For awhile now our sports teams have been branded with our beautiful "maroon." Now, with maroon having been adopted as the institution's primary brand colour, we can all share our pride... in style.
The secondary graphics — inspired by the logo symbol's "pathway" — are the other key element in creating a visual culture. The curved design elements and graphic pattern become part of the brand vocabulary, and signal that any application they are used on is part of the MacEwan University family. The visual language they create extends the use and impact of the logo and brand elements – and creates more distinctiveness and flexibility for the identity.
Print collateral, brochures and other publications are all part of this broad visual language. The official logo, secondary graphics and the right imagery can combine to provide fresh interpretations of our brand themes and personality in a wide range of formats.
COMMUNICATIONS AND ADVERTISING
The application of the brand in corporate communications and advertising vehicles is central to delivering the MacEwan University value proposition and distinct advantages.
This identity system, whether we're just talking about the logo or the whole visual language, is the backdrop against which we share the "Connected Engaged Inspired" theme.
Integration with the other key messages will also help present a MacEwan University personality and style which is personable, passionate and genuine... very open and diverse, very creative and confident.
To see some print and electronic applications of our brand and positioning in campaign-type communications, take a look at the New Brand Story page.