The Subject of Logos…
… is an interesting one. People in organizations, divisions, offices and departments often seem to crave their own identity and uniqueness and think that a logo is the way to achieve that goal. In reality, the opposite is true — narrowly-defined, non-core-brand logos are often confusing, don’t support or align to an established brand, neither have nor can sustain any real brand equity, and get lost in a sea of competing images and designs.
SVSU launched graphic standards in 2005 and, at that point, updated the SVSU logo and clarified its use and purpose. All of these “do’s and don’t’s” and “why’s and why not’s” of the SVSU block logo, the presidential seal and the athletic logo are detailed at www.svsu.edu/ucomm .
Implementing Best Practices
As the process and guidelines for graphic standards started to become more centralized, and the University began to benefit from its singular and unified branding, University Communications started a “what’s next” evaluation of branding and graphic standards. With fairly frequent requests for new logos, University Communications began to research practices of other universities so as to offer fair, practical and sensible guidelines.
Reminder: A few key definitions follows; however, you will find a more complete glossary of branding and marketing terms and definitions at www.svsu.edu/ucomm
Logo: A distinctive organizational signature, trademark or motto. Our logo is the SVSU block and includes the words "Saginaw Valley State University."
Brand Identity: Who we are and the consistency of how we show it is captured in our logo. That is our brand identity. Brand equity stands for the value of the brand in stakeholders' minds.
Graphic Standards: Consistent recommendations for the usage, size and placement of the SVSU logo, the seal, athletic logo, colors, paper, fonts and word marks.
Word Mark: A designed word or phrase using a special font rather than designed as an illustration.
Core Brand/Core Logo:
There is only one SVSU. It is our core brand. Every college, division, department, center, office and program that exists does so because it is part of SVSU. Therefore, there is really only one, shared, recognizable logo that brands all of us — SVSU.
Brand Extensions (Unit Identifiers):
Brand extensions amplify and support the core brand; they "extend" the core brand. Brand extensions at SVSU include colleges, departments, divisions, centers, offices and programs, all of which support the core mission of SVSU; they do not need, nor should they have, their own logo; instead, they should support the university brand.
Many wonder why an individual, unique logo won’t work. First, it adversely dilutes the university brand. The more logos/icons/art elements that are offered to the public, the less attention that is focused on SVSU, and the greater the risk of confusing the public. Additionally, and especially due to the complexity of the SVSU logo, more elaborate designs simply do not compliment the university logo. Finally, with limited marketing and advertising budgets most departments/colleges/divisions have, there does not exist the appropriate dollars necessary to create, launch and support individual brands. The “best bang for the buck” is to consistently build upon the most noticeable and recognizable name and look — and that is SVSU.
Colleges, departments, divisions, programs, centers, and/or offices should use one of three recommended wordmarks. With wordmarks that support the SVSU logo, everything maintains a consistent design sensibility within graphic standards.
Individuality and uniqueness can still be creatively accomplished for each SVSU unit through the use of creative design layouts and the manipulation of additional colors, consistent fonts, formats and custom photography. University Communications will work closely with you to create a "family" of marketing materials that are unique to you, and also support and build upon our brand equity.
Additionally, you can use a custom-designed text treatment as an art element as a title of your brochure, flyer, or other marketing material. The text treatment is not considered a “logo,” but a thematic art element used to “tie together” a series of marketing materials. Contact University Communications at ext. 7101 or 4056 to learn more about how to utilize a creative headline treatment for your program or marketing materials.
A sub-brand is a department, division, program, office or center that is located at SVSU and has its own mission (but is linked to the university for strategic reasons). A sub-brand might use its own different, but related, identity, so long as it supports the university brand. Sub-brand wordmarks, illustrations, iconic designs or logos should be reviewed by University Communications.
Currently at SVSU, the Center for Business & Economic Development (CBED) and the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum have sub-brand status.