Renea Morris

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Branding OHIO through a consistent brand structure

When I introduced this series in fall 2010, I began talking about what makes a good brand. A couple of examples that I shared included the symbol used by Apple and the script that distinguishes The Disney Company. Brand symbols leave a fingerprint on everything they touch. We have an opportunity at Ohio University to lift our brand through a consistent structure and leave an indelible mark on all of our audiences.

Brand architecture is the way in which brands are related to, and differentiated from one another, within an organization. As with all branding elements, elevating an institution’s recognition and stature through a symbol requires cooperation from units throughout the organization in adhering to usage standards. The brand architecture at Ohio University follows the structure of the institution (PDF). University offices, departments and supporting work groups need a consistent method, or unit identifier to relate to and communicate with their audiences.

Unit identifiers are used in conjunction with the core brand signature, but are not part of the identity itself. Unit identifiers should be used consistently without infringing upon or changing the core brand signature. The most common example is found in our stationery system (PDF).

Ohio University’s regional campuses and associated centers stand in communities where external awareness and prominence is needed to compete in their markets, but they still should reflect the core brand position and platform of the institution. This is considered a brand extension. As in this example, our regional brand extensions (PDF) are important and integral components of OHIO's core brand. They either directly deliver or provide support for the institution’s primary mission, lending considerable depth, breadth, and power to the core brand by highlighting important service categories that support their primary audiences while providing a consistent look and feel for the institution’s brand.

Below are a few considerations when using OHIO’s marks:

  • The University signature brand logo is the keystone of our visual identity and should be used on all communications materials.
  • The Ohio University seal authenticates official University documents (e.g., diplomas and legal documents). It may be used on other materials at the discretion of the president and the Board of Trustees. You will note that it is used as the watermark on all University stationery and is not a substitution for the Ohio University signature or logo.
  • Intercollegiate Athletics uses the “Attack Cat.” This mark and the “OHIO” typography that accompanies its use are not to be substituted for the University signature or logo for institutional or academic purposes. There may be exceptions, but only at the discretion of both Intercollegiate Athletics and University Communications and Marketing.
  • Lastly, the “Paw” is an historical mark and is no longer used to represent Ohio University. Though there may be merchandise with the paw sold at retail locations in limited quantities from the University’s Heritage Collection, the paw is no longer an institutional brand and may not be used by University offices or organizations to represent Ohio University.

When you visit the Brand page regarding logo usage, you will find a form to use when requesting an institution logo. We hope this will help support and serve you better.