UIW branding to protect logo, image

By Natalie Perez

LOGOS STAFF WRITER

University of the Incarnate Word departments, schools, programs and student organizations are going to have to use a licensed vendor in the future to produce promotional materials, according to administrators.

And those groups will only be able to order items, including logos, approved by UIW’s Branding Committee. Student organizations must submit a licensing approval form — found online — if they want to use a UIW logo.

These changes are all about branding – a process begun in earnest two years ago at the annual University Planning Commission retreat where Dr. Lou J. Agnese Jr. — UIW’s president since 1985 — said UIW needed to increase its visibility regionally and nationally through a branding initiative.

Eight months ago the university created a branding website — http://www.uiw.edu/branding — to explain the university’s licensing program, said Rick Smith, UIW’s licensing coordinator and external business manager in athletics.

The initiative was created to help make a UIW degree increase in value and provide graduates the advantage in a competitive employment marketplace; it also is meant to aid in attracting quality students and faculty to UIW. Shortly after the retreat, the Visual Corporate Identity Committee and the University’s Branding Committee were formed to work on this.

“The licensing program allows UIW to manage the usage of our logos by requiring that only licensed vendors may reproduce UIW logos on all non-print material,” Smith said.

“When people see the Longhorn, they know it’s the University of Texas. When people see the yellow ‘M,’ people know it’s the University of Michigan. When people see the ‘swoosh checkmark,’ they know it’s a Nike product. We want it to be no different when someone sees the steeple, the circle steeple logo, or the new cardinal head.”

Smith said a big part of this process is legally protecting the use of UIW’s logos and wordmarks; and since UIW has maintained trademarked logos, it must consistently use them across all spectrums.

“For example, legally, we can’t allow the ‘Running Club’ to put legs on the bottom of the cardinal head logo and use that as their own ‘Running Club logo,’ as that would violate our trademark, and we would negatively affect our ability to defend it in court,” Smith said. “The same goes with all of our logos, including the circle logo.”

Effective June 1, branding guidelines about how to use UIW’s visual identity, including various logos and colors, will be revised.

“The first step in that process is abandoning non-conforming logos, which is what was briefly explained at a licensing meeting on March 19 to the university community and will be more fully discussed in June when the branding guidelines are released,” Smith said.

University employees — particularly those who order products with logos — were invited to the licensing meeting in J.E. and L.E. Mabee Library Auditorium. Smith and Holly White, a representative from UIW’s licensing partner, Strategic Marketing Affiliate, explained the changes. It focused on the reasons for and the necessity of ordering through approved licensed vendors.

Smith said this meeting was well-received and had positive feedback from attendees. (Thus far, the Logos has found no dissenters on the record).

“As part of the university’s branding initiative and consistence with trademark law, the university has decided to update its visual branding guidelines to reflect a ‘one’ university concept which will more fully allow us to visually reflect our proud UIW identity,” Smith said.

“Most vendors, with which the university had previously done business, immediately became licensed vendors for UIW as they know the value of our business and were familiar with the licensing process from their other clients, such as UTSA and Texas,” Smith said. “The Licensing Program also streamlines the ordering process and adds ease to obtaining quality logo items because the vendor maintains the responsibility for the artwork approval.”

Licensed vendors, as UIW’s business partners, are a vital part of the process of protecting the university’s logos, Smith said. Each must be legitimate, licensed businesses capable of protecting the integrity of UIW’s wordmarks, logos and brand. Also, each vendor has the responsibility of upholding UIW’s graphic standards: colors are to be printed according to UIW’s color requirements, are of high quality, and correctly proportioned, to name a few.

Smith said, “The University is excited to be at this phase in our growth and appreciates that the university community understands the value of establishing and protecting our visual corporate identity, as well as the ease with which the licensing program makes ordering logo items.”

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