I would say the most common question I get working in IMC is “Can I have a logo?” The answer I give to this question is generally not the answer the person is hoping for. I generally respond with “You already have one, it’s the University’s wordmark.” While I know this can frustrate people I wholeheartedly believe this is the best answer for the department or unit who wants to build their brand.
A brand, or a sub-brand in this case, is not a logo. In fact, a logo is a tiny part of what builds a brand identity. A brand for a unit, department or college is built on messaging. If you can answer the question “Why would somebody want to be affiliated by my department?” or “Why would a student want to be accepted into my program?” you are on your way to building a brand. A brand is what sets you apart from other schools. It’s the words you use to describe yourself, and the stories we tell that demonstrates it. This should be the focus when building an identity.
Once the key messaging has been identified then you can begin to look at visuals that support and enhance the message. Here is where we look at colors or photography that can visually differentiate a department while still leveraging the UW Oshkosh identity. This is so important. UW Oshkosh as a solid reputation that gets better every day. As a member of the UW Oshkosh community you can leverage that reputation to gain the attention of the people you are trying to reach. If a department had a logo of its own it would lose the recognition that goes along with being a part of UW Oshkosh, and therefore be more likely to lose the attention of those they are trying to attract. Let the UW Oshkosh brand get their attention, then wow them with the greatness of the department or college.
IMC can help a department, college or unit build a sub-brand. Let us know if you need help!